Annual Writing Competition

Writer’s Digest has been shining a spotlight on up and coming writers in all genres through its Annual Writing Competition for more than 80 years. Enter our 89th Annual Writing Competition for your chance to win and have your work be seen by editors and agents! Almost 500 winners will be chosen..

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One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • $5,000 in cash
  • An interview with the author in Writer’s Digest
  • A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, including a coveted Pitch Slam slot
  • and more

The First place winner in each category will receive $1,000 in cash

The Second place winner in each category will receive $500 cash

The Third place winner in each category will receive $250 in cash

The Fourth place winner in each category will receive $100 in cash

The Fifth place winner in each category will receive $50 in cash

The Sixth through Tenth place winners in each category will receive $25 in cash

All top winners will also receive:

  • A  one-year subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine, discounts on Writer’s Digest University workshops and more.
  • The Grand Prize winning piece and the 1st place winning piece in each category will be published on
  • All other top winners will have their names listed in Writer’s Digest and on

All Honorable Mentions receive:

  • 20% discount off of purchases made at Writer’s Digest University
  • Their names listed on


  • Inspirational/Spiritual
  • Memoirs/Personal Essay
  • Print or Online Article
  • Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
  • Mainstream/Literary Short Story
  • Rhyming Poetry
  • Non-rhyming Poetry
  • Script (Stage Play/Television/Movie Script/Short Film)
  • Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

How to Enter

  • All entries must be submitted online.
  • All entries must be in English. Only original works that have not been published in print, digital  or online publications will be considered. Self-published work in blogs, on social media, etc. will be considered. For the script category, only unproduced scripts will be considered. Entries in the Print or Online Article category may be previously published.
  • It is preferred that an entry be formatted to 8.5 x 11 paper, single sided, 1 inch margins. We prefer any of the various standard-formatting styles (although non-conforming entries will not be disqualified). Scripts (TV/Movie, Stage Play or Short Film) and poems may be either double-or single-spaced; all other documents must be double-spaced.
  • BE SURE OF YOUR WORD COUNT! Entries exceeding the word, line or page limits will be disqualified. Type the exact word count (counting every single word, except the title) at the top of the manuscript.
  • Due to U.S. Government restrictions we are unable to accept entries from Syria, Iran, North Korea, or Crimea.
  • For more information visit our Preparing Your Entry Page or our FAQ page.


17 thoughts on “Annual Writing Competition


    I started a blog with other authors. We took turns posting our stories on WordPress. I consider this my personal blog but wonder if you see it that way or if you consider the pieces previously published

  2. AvatarJacquelineH06

    I have a question. Can I submit poems that have been published on my blogs on or Do these count as personal blogs or as third party sources? Thanks so much!

  3. AvatarSusan

    I am confused by entry guidelines stating that a piece previously “published” cannot be entered. My question is this: Can I enter a piece I submitted online as an assignment for an online workshop to the WD competition?
    Thanks for your response.

  4. Avatarayaknapp

    I have a question about word counts that isn’t covered in anything that I’ve read: do hyphenated words count as one word or two? MS Word counts them as one word, so I want to be sure to give the correct word count based on the competition standards.


    I’m curious. The emails I get from WD promoting this contest have a subject line that says, “Last week to enter your science fiction stories in WD’s Annual Writing Competition!” In fact, every promotion I’ve gotten regarding this contest hypes SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, yet there’s no category specifically for sci fi and no mention of it under genre. They might miss reaching some writers who think this contest is only for that type of writing.


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