I love entering writing contests, but I always believe it is safest to only enter ones without entry fees just in case. Sometimes it is hard to find good, free to enter writing contests though so I put together a list of a few that I have found and hopefully it motivates you to enter at least one!
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest
An opportunity for new or amateur writers of short stories or novelettes of science fiction or fantasy, with no entry fee and a grand prize of $5000! It is international and if you are not published I definitely recommend entering it. They also have an illustration contest, so if you like to draw that is also an option. This contest has four quarters, October 1, January 1, April 1 and July 1, so plenty of time to enter at least one!
Polar Expressions Publishing Short Story and Poetry Contest
This is a Canadian writing contest that takes place in the summer and is open to all ages. The word count for short stories is 750 words and for poetry 48 lines or less. It is free with a cash prize of $500 for anyone sixteen and over, and $200 for anyone fifteen and under. You also get published in their anthology which I think is a great deal for a contest with no entry fee!
Toasted Cheese Literary Journal Writing Contest
I recently found this website which has three different writing contests throughout the year, all free of charge . They do provide a theme for each contest but they tend to be very easy to create something new and original from! The prizes depend on how many people enter, but they are usually Amazon gift cards. I may enter this one myself 🙂
The Crucible: Poetry and Fiction Contest
This is a fiction and poetry contest that runs through to May 1, and is open to all writers. You can submit a story with up to 8000 words or less, or up to 5 poems. Winners will receive a prize of $150 and also be published in the Crucible!
On the Premises Short Fiction Contest
This is a contest that asks for stories usually between 1000-5000 words, but also hosts a series of mini contests throughout the year with word limits of anywhere from 25-75. Whatever prizes you win are not stated on the website at the moment because their recent contest just ended, but once another is back up you can check for yourself if you are interested in entering!
Those are five writing contests that require no entry fee so hopefully it encourages you to enter one!