There’s no rule that says you need to be a master of literary expression to write an essay for a writing contest. If you follow the rules and answer the question, you’ll have a good start at winning a prize.

The first thing you should do is read the writing contest guidelines and understand them.

The first thing you should do is read the writing contest guidelines and understand them.

If you’re not eligible to enter, don’t go ahead with it. It’s better to know now than later that you can’t win a contest because of some technicality and waste time on it.

Choose a topic that fits the writing contest theme.

You need to choose a topic that fits the writing contest theme. This is important because if you don’t do this, then you will not be able to win. Choosing a topic that is relevant and passionate will make it much easier for judges to award points to your paper.

The next thing is choosing a topic that you know a lot about or can easily research online and find out information about it as well as other sources of information related to this subject matter.

Read winning entries from past years.

Reading winning entries from past years is a great way to get an idea of what judges are looking for. You can see what types of topics have been successful in the past and see how other writers have structured their essays.

If you’re writing about something that’s topical, it’s important to do your research so that there are no gaps in your knowledge. If you know more than the average person who might read your essay (or at least know where they can find answers), then it’ll be easier for judges to notice when something doesn’t make sense or seems off-base compared with what’s already out there on the internet about this topic. For example: if I’m writing about why we should legalize marijuana here in America (a hot topic right now), then my first step would be finding out whether anyone has already written anything similar before me; after all, someone else might have tackled this issue already!

Use real-life examples in your essay, if possible.

You can use real-life examples in your essay, if possible. This is a great way to show that you’ve thought about the topic and are able to reflect upon it with depth and insight.

If you’re not sure where to start looking for inspiration, here are some ideas:

Use examples from your own life: Whether it’s something small like an embarrassing childhood memory or something large like a significant event in your family history, these types of personal insights will give readers something relatable and memorable for them to relate back to as well.

Talk about characters from fiction or nonfiction books: For example, if you want to write about how writers have influenced pop culture throughout history (or even today), then choose authors who have been influential since before Shakespeare was born (for example). This will help make reading your work more interesting than just another essay written solely on facts!

Write clearly and concisely.

The more you write, the better your chances are of winning. But that doesn’t mean you should throw in every idea and run-on sentence that comes to mind—that’s not how writing contests work.

Instead of trying to cram everything into one long piece of prose, focus on keeping each sentence short and clear so that it can be easily scanned by a judge (and the judges’ time spent reading your entry will be worth it). Make sure that all parts of speech are used correctly; avoid using jargon or slang; keep sentences simple and don’t wander off-topic unnecessarily; use specific language rather than general terms like “I” or “me,” which could be confusing if they’re referring to different people in different contexts throughout your story/essay/etcetera (e.g., “She spoke loudly so I could hear her over my own voice”).

Avoid clichés, slang and jargon. Judges hear the same stories over and over again.

Avoid clichés, slang and jargon. Judges hear the same stories over and over again.

It’s the same story as how your friend missed the bus because his dog ate his homework, or how you were so happy to see your mom because she was home from her trip to Italy (her favorite place). These are all good examples of phrases that are overdone but also can come across as unoriginal or uninspiring when submitted for a contest.

How to Win a Writing Contest
How to Win a Writing Contest

If you follow the contest’s rules and answer the question, you’ll have a good start at winning a prize

The best way to ensure that your essay is read and judged fairly is by following the rules of the contest. If you do so, you’ll have a good start at winning a prize!

Use your own voice as much as possible; don’t copy someone else’s style or use clichés or jargon. Let the judges know who you are by using personal details (e.g., where you live). If possible, include some examples from life that connect back to what they’re asking for in their questions.

Be original — don’t just put down something basic like “I want to be an author because…” or “I want ____ because I love writing.” Write something unique about what it means for YOU personally when writing might lead to other careers such as journalism/media studies/etc., but keep it short enough so people can understand what makes this particular contest different from others out there (and why exactly should they care?).


Now you’re ready to submit your essay. Make sure it’s complete and well-written, and then check the rules for the contest before submitting your entry. If you follow these five tips, you’ll have a good chance of winning!