One woman's mission to win as many prizes as possible...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Roadtest #6: Writing Competitions

Writing competitions are not just for foofy writer types...

I recently sent a reader story to That's Life magazine, which pays up to $2,000 for true stories not previously published. I emailed my story, unsurprisingly titled I'M A COMPETITION ADDICT!, along with a couple of photos, to the magazine about a week ago. No answer as yet, but I'm hopeful they'll like it.

To give me an idea of what to write, I consulted the September 2009 issue lying around my house. Stories included:
  • He Died Saving Our Son
  • The Car Crash that Led to Love
  • I'll Go Blind If I Give Birth
To improve your chances of publication, write a similar story of your experiences and include photos. Do you have an amazing tale of survival? Do you have an intriguing hobby, skill or secret? Have you been reunited with a loved one? The magazine emphasises it's the story they're after, not professional writing skills.

There are many other magazines eager for reader stories. Check them out in your newsagency and start recording life's miracle moments.

Or, if you are a foofy writer type (like me)...

For the literary-inclined, there are short story, poetry and travel writing competitions galore. The James Patterson one pictured above offered entrants the chance to write one of 28 chapters of a thriller novel, with Patterson contributing the first and last chapters. Magazines, travel web sites and companies like Lonely Planet run travel writing competitions (everyone's dream job!). For the short story and poetry versions, try bookstores, libraries and a quick Google search.

I haven't won any of these competitions as yet. They're a lot of fun, though, and if you don't win, at least you can reuse your entry for another competition (but not for the same company!).

So, get penning. You never know, you might just have the write stuff!


  1. Dear Rebecca ("as seen in Money and most recently on today's Morning Show"), I am new to your blog and love it. I too had success publishing an article for a comping mag. They seem to like articles that are a bit sensational so I wrote about my disaster date and entitled it "Seduced by a cult member!"

  2. Wow, I'm intrigued to read it (I'm a sucker for sensationalist titles)... Which magazine was it?

  3. Hey Beck, has That's Life published your story yet? I had a couple of small ones published, one with them and one with Take 5 both in 2008 and they both paid $300. The stories were old, in that they occurred in my previous, younger life. That's Life practically rewrote my story about being saved by our cat from a house fire. I was a tad annoyed as I thought my story was fine as it was. Take 5 just edited it my story a bit.