I don’t know about you, but I wish I had participated in writing contests for teens early on in my life.
Writing contests are an excellent way to put your work out in the world, especially if you are an unknown writer, or reach a wider readership if you are already established.
Some of those contests are new. Others have been around for quite a while. Some became popular by the breadth of resources they offer, their prizes, and the big-name authors who came about after participating in them.
I am a big proponent of professional development and anything that can boost your writing career. And I have already started talking about that in a previous post, when I discussed how online communities for teens can help you along your writing path. Now, I can’t stress enough that teen writing contests are the way to go.
If I didn’t convince you yet, take a look at Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series. Because of his not-so-welcomed behavior, Dav started working on his Captain Underpants stories while sitting at a desk in the hallway of his elementary school. Later on, he submitted his works to what at the time was known as the National Written and Illustrated by… Awards Contest for Students (later renamed to Kids-in-Print Book Contest for Students), winning in the 14-19 age category for World War Won in 1986. And as you already know, the rest is history.
Before you ask, there are several writing contests that are meant for teens and you can submit in a variety of genres, ranging from poetry, fantasy, literary fiction, romance, etc. You just need to pick the one or ones that suits your goals and start writing.
Here are some examples of teen writing contests you can start with right now (in no particular order):
1. The Watty Awards (Wattys)
This is the award program Wattpad runs annually to celebrate the winners of the Wattpad writing contest. The Watty Awards (Wattys) have been around for ten years and became a boost and source of recognition for those needing their voice to be heard. It celebrates the best stories, spanning a wide range of themes in major categories around the world.
The Wattys foster diversity, self-expression, and offer a place to pour your ideas out without feeling judged. Not only that, but the winners get a boost in their writing careers and get the opportunity to become Wattpad writers.
So if you’re still in doubt about whether you should participate, then don’t think twice. This can be just the big start you need on your writing journey.
2. Write the World Competitions
Write the World is another place where your writing should be. And the platform competitions are a great way to exercise your writing muscles, improve your craft, and get your words out there.
The Write the World Competitions are certainly one of a kind. Besides the inviting monetary aspect—they are free to enter and offer cash prizes—the competitions are meant to foster your creative process.
Participants receive feedback from their peers and writing experts before submitting their final drafts. And if this is not enough, they also get the chance to receive extra recognition from high-regarded guest judges during the final decision.
In the end, you get your work critiqued by the biggest names in the industry while you grow your craft as you go.
3. Scholastics Arts and Writing Awards
The Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards is a highly respected contest that has been around for almost a century. Created by the Alliance of Young Artist and Writers, it has a mission to identify and recognize the exceptional work of creative teens.
That recognition comes with a lot of perks, including scholarships, cash prizes, publication on respected literary magazines, and more.
If you want to further your writing career with the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards or even dream to become the next Truman Capote or Sylvia Plath—a couple of famous alumni—here is an excellent way to get your foot in the door.
4. Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge
Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge is meant for young children and early teens (with a parent’s/legal guardian’s help and consent) to express their creativity. Children ages 5-12 can submit their best story ideas of up to 100 words.
The best ideas will be awarded special prizes and turned into reality through very fun ways. The great aspect of this award is that contestants are evaluated based on their imagination. You may also submit as many ideas as you want.
This contest has been around for three years. It usually opens for entries in September and closes at the end of December. Winners are usually announced in March. If you are interested, check their website often for detailed information about openings, prizes, and more.
5. Dandelion Micro-Fiction Contest
If you are ready to share your creative process in a deep and sincere way, then the Micro-Fiction contest by Dandelion Press is another option worth checking out.
The Micro-Fiction contest offers a very unique approach to writing prompts. That is because your submission is based on an illustration posted on the website, in which you need to answer the question “What is the story of this painting?” You have up to 1,000 words and complete freedom to express your thoughts and feelings the way you see fit.
This contest is open for all. But for the young writers like you, this is another valuable way to exercise your musings and get the word out about your writings. This contest doesn’t offer cash prizes, but in addition to the writing exposure, you can potentially have your work featured on one of the press publications.
Over to You
Teen writing contests are very popular among young writers who are just starting and want to get a boost in their writing path. They are also sought after by those who wish to put their work out to a wider readership.
With so many options at your disposal, there is no excuse to not practice, hone, and share your writing. You never know what these exercises might bring. You may be the next Dav Pilkey. Or better yet, you can be the best version of yourself!
Whatever you wish for, you can work to accomplish. Good luck and go get writing!
Have you ever participated in teen writing contests? Share your experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it.