top of page
  • lindseytheresa

Contests and the Writers' Life

If you look at my publishing credits, you’ll see one name more than any other (well, besides my own!)—Off Topic Publishing.

Off Topic Publishing was the first organization that gave my work a platform, when my short story Teatime was selected as the winner of their inaugural monthly contest three years ago. The exposure and kind comments were a much-needed confidence boost early in my writing career and during the second year of the pandemic, a time when I was having trouble finding motivation and focus.


Their monthly contest was a bright spot for me during that uncertain time. Instead of worrying about the world around me and my hopelessly tangled cli-fi novel, I played around with how to weave a story from the prompts provided. It also started me on a path of exploring creative nonfiction and poetry. I attempted creative nonfiction for the first time because of the Off Topic contest—now I have written an entire memoir and am hard at work at another!

Their monthly contest was a bright spot for me during that uncertain time.

For the first year, I entered the Off Topic Contest every month. I still try to enter most months, although I stake breaks to volunteer as a judge or to focus on other projects. Over the years, some people have suggested I focus more on longer works, as if prompt writing for contests was a waste of my time. But for me, it is anything but.


Prompt writing has allowed me to stretch my creativity and make writing fun. It provides me with a community to commiserate with, and stories that sometimes spin into longer works. As I have grown as a writer, I can sometimes take a chapter of a work in progress (such bas my memoir) and tune it into a full piece for the contest, obtaining helpful feedback for the low cost of the five-dollar (minimum) entry fee!

Prompt writing has allowed me to stretch my creativity and make writing fun.

Some of the stories that started as Off Topic contest entries end up being the ones I am most proud of, like Where We Have to Go, which I wrote during the overturn of Roe v. Wade.


I have a giant place in my heart for Off Topic Publishing. I’m proud to be a member of their community and invite you to join! Their monthly contest is running right now, with entries due on the tenth of April. This month’s focus is short fiction using the prompt "They crossed the bridge." Why not enter alongside me? You'll get feedback and the opportunity to win half the pot and/or publication.

 

What role do contests and prompts play in your writing life?


 

51 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page