Opportunity for Fiction Writers: Win $250 With Short Story Prompts, Every Week (Theoretically)

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Weekly Reedsy Prompts Contests
Writers, I don’t usually share these types of things, but today I have to. Reedsy is dishing out weekly short story prompts for free, and if you love writing fiction, then you must check it out, and maybe even make some money while at it!

I know, I know!

We talk about blogging as a business in this blog, so what the f*ck is going on??? Why am I talking about fiction?

Umm, I mean, we’re all writers here, so who knows, just like me, maybe you’re into experimenting with different genres too?

And also, aside from blogging, we also talk about making money online in this blog, and this could be one of the ways to do so—make money online, I mean. (But it’s mostly for practicing writing, FYI.)

Let’s get to it!

Here’s the gist of it:

Reedsy has a weekly short story (1,000–3,000 words) contest, and every week they give out prompts and $250 to one awesome writer.

Here’s the long version:

I’ve been a Reedsy fan for a couple of years now. I love their free writing platform; it’s one of my favorite online, cloud-based writing tools.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an interesting thing from Reedsy: their prompts contest. Apparently, they’ve been holding these writing contests for almost 200 weeks, at the time of writing this.

The best part? It pays! Every week, one winner of the prompt contest wins $250 via PayPal. And get this, unlike most lit mags, you don’t have to wait six months to hear back whether your story was accepted or not… for a measly $20 honorarium payment… How cool is that?

Weekly prompts from Reedsy - a screenshot
Weekly prompts from Reedsy – a screenshot

What is a writing prompt?

A prompt can be a single word, a topic, a question, or an idea. As writers, you can write a story, an essay, or a blog post, around a prompt. Many writers, of both fiction and nonfiction, use prompts to come up with their stories.

Some use only one prompt, and others may use multiple prompts for a single piece of writing. Some writers use prompts literally, others metaphorically.

There are no strict rules as writing itself is an artful expression of ideas and thoughts. But mostly, the usage of prompts depends on the writer or the institution for which a writer is writing. For example, a magazine writer may take prompts from an editor based on what is needed for a specific issue, and the editor may define the criteria for the prompt—as in, how strictly (or loosely) the writer should follow the prompt’s literal meaning and scope.

[Note: For the Prompts content by Reedsy, you’re only allowed to write short fictional stories.]

Details on Reedsy Prompts contests

Pretty straightforward rules that you can read here, but I’ll give you some key details and benefits of this initiative:

  • The contest is for prompted short stories: Every Friday, Reedsy announces a general theme and five prompts under that theme for writers to explore. Writers have until the following Friday to submit their short stories (1,000 – 3,000 words).
  • It’s a weekly opportunity to write and submit and win money: A winner for the content is announced a week after the contest is closed. Writers have a chance to enter the contest every week!
  • It takes a $5 contest entry fee: But only when you submit your story to the contest (for the $250 prize money). You can still write and submit a story on your Reedsy profile to practice, for free, without entering the content.
  • You must be able to receive payment via PayPal: At the time of writing this, Reedsy pays via PayPal only. So you must be able to accept payment via PayPal if you choose to enter the content.

A chance to be featured in Prompted

Reedsy has recently released its very first literary magazine (digital and print): Prompted. It featured 12 stories from the past winners of the weekly prompts contests. If you win a contest, you’ll have the opportunity to be featured too.

Prompted — a literary magazine from Reedsy.
Prompted — a literary magazine from Reedsy.

How to enter the contest

Head over to the Reedsy Prompts contests page and sign up; it’s free and painless.

Once you’ve created an account, you can start submitting to contests (for $5 each) or publish stories on your profile without submitting them to the contests, for free.

Just to really make this clear: Publishing on your profile is totally free; it’s only when you submit to the contest (for the $250 prize money) that you’re charged a $5 reading fee.

Potential downsides to entering the Reedsy Prompts contests

Honestly? I don’t really see any true downside to this initiative.

The prize money is decent compared to most lit mags. The quick turnaround time is great too! The only caveat? It’s not as “prestigious” as, say, The Paris Review, Granta, or the many other established literary magazines.

But in my opinion, this is a great opportunity for newer writers to get some good practice in. The weekly prompts help writers hone their craft and get faster at writing well. Even if you don’t submit to the contests, just trying your hands at one of the prompts every week can make you a better writer over time.

And if you’re already a seasoned fiction writer? Well then, a good, paying market is always welcome, wouldn’t you say?

Examples of Reedsy prompts.
Examples of Reedsy prompts.

Will I submit my stories to Reedsy Prompts contests?


I want to.

I’m a slow writer but prompts definitely help. In fact, I wrote my first lit-mag-published creative writing piece thanks to a crazy weird prompt during a writing workshop. (Or should I say prompts? We were given three, and had to incorporate all three in a 1000-word essay… that was wild!)

Prompts are powerful that way; they jog your memory and the creative neurons in your brain. (That’s not a real thing; don’t quote me!)

These days I’m trying to get better at writing stories, and these weekly prompts from Reedsy seem like the perfect opportunity to practice. Also, the potential for making money is always a good motivator.

Should you submit your stories to Reedsy Prompts contests?

I mean, if you enjoy writing short stories, then why not? You don’t have to every week, but maybe give it a shot if a prompt resonates with you?

Can’t hurt, can it? Even if you do not win the content, you’ll have a story in your hands which you can then polish and maybe even send out to other lit mags for potential publication!

At the very least, this could be a lot of fun!

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