YeahWrite Super Challenge #3

Welcome to the YeahWrite Super Challenge!

Welcome back to YeahWrite’s Super Challenge. If you’re already familiar with our Weekly Challenge grids, you know they’re a great way to learn, grow and connect with our community of writers, but the Super Challenge is where it all comes together, where your hard work and practice pays off – literally pays off, I mean, with prizes! If you’re finding YeahWrite for the first time, welcome aboard. We hope you stay for the ride.

YeahWrite has been a vibrant community of writers for over five years, and we’ve never missed a week in all that time. In fact, this January we crossed three hundred consecutive weeks off our calendar. Now we’ve added the next level of writing competition. Stay tuned as Super Challenge #3 takes you back to where it all started in the dark ages of, er, the early 2010s: creative nonfiction.


The YeahWrite Super Challenge is a prompted challenge, where writers compete to complete the best work of short creative nonfiction in a single weekend. Prompts are released on Friday, and the completed work must be turned in by Sunday night.

The competition is run in three rounds. Half the writers will move to the second round of competition, and approximately ten writers will advance to the final round of competition. All competing writers will receive feedback on their work at the end of each round from the judges. The final ten writers will compete for cash prizes for first, second, and third place.


Each round of the Super Challenge starts at 10pm Eastern US Time on a Friday and closes at 10pm Eastern US Time on the Sunday immediately following, giving you 48 hours to complete your entry. (If a Super Challenge weekend ever crosses Daylight Saving Time in the US, we promise to give you the full 48 hours.) Each round will have a different genre and prompt style. Writers will be separated into groups and each group will receive a prompt. All groups will respond to that prompt in the genre assigned for each round. The rounds are scheduled as follows:

Dates Genre Prompt Style
January 27-29 Personal essay Topic
February 10-12 Persuasive essay Response to a topical question or assigned argument
February 24-26 Either genre A word or phrase which must be used seamlessly in the essay
Fees and Registration

Registration is now closed for the YeahWrite Super Challenge #3. Miss out? Sign up for our email blast so you don’t miss any important announcements. For all our participants, good luck in the competition!


We finally have all the entry money in and the split calculated. As promised, we’re paying out half that money in prizes! (The other half, minus our donation to the ACLU, keeps the lights on over here and helps us run our free weekly Nonfiction, Fiction and Poetry challenges.) For our third Super Challenge, the top three writers will take home (in US dollars, so if you’re not in the US cross your fingers and hope for a great exchange rate):

Winner: $150

Second Place: $75

Third Place: $50

FAQ and Rules

For full text of the rules of the competition, go here. By entering the competition you agree to abide and be bound by these rules, so go actually read them. Besides, they contain really useful information about how to submit your work and in what format, in case you get tired of reading this FAQ.

Who can enter?
Anyone 18 or older can enter the competition, as long as it’s not void where you live. YeahWrite editors are, naturally, not eligible. If we had actual employees they wouldn’t be eligible either, and it goes without saying that our competition judges are not eligible.

How many writers can work on an essay?
An essay is considered the work of the registered writer. We won’t split up the prizes. That said, you can show your work to others during the course of each round, receive feedback, and make revisions.

When will I get my assignment and when is it due?
Assignments will be posted at 10pm Eastern US Time on the opening Friday of each challenge, and it is due by 10pm on the Sunday immediately following. That means you have exactly 48 hours to write your essay!

How do I submit my essay?
Email your essay in .doc, .rtf, or .docx format to before 10pm on the closing day of each round. Use the subject line “YeahWrite Super Challenge Round [x] Group [y] submission.” Make sure the filename is as specified in the official rules.

How do I format my essay?
Your essay must be in 12 point font – either Arial or Times New Roman. The first page should be blank except for the Title Page information described in the rules. The title page does not count toward your maximum word count of 1,000 words. Make sure your name does not appear anywhere in your essay or on the file. The name of the file must be as follows: [group number]-[title]. For example, if you are in Group 2 and the title of your essay is “Daisy Petals” then the filename will be 2-Daisy Petals.doc (or .rtf or .txt, as applicable).

What if I need to make changes to an essay I’ve submitted?
Sorry. We don’t accept revisions or changes to your work. Once you hit send that’s it, game over. The only exception will be if you forgot to attach your essay to your original submission. We’ll send you a confirmation email when we get your essay. Submitting two essays can be grounds for disqualification.

Who owns the copyright to my work?
You do. For a more complete explanation of what rights you are granting to YeahWrite by entering your work in the Super Challenge, see the official rules.

So can I post my work on my blog?
Not until after you receive feedback from the judges, please. Don’t make your work available in a forum where the judges might run across it until the judging is done. After each round of the challenge is over, we’ll also create a special grid to link up your work, since it’s not eligible for our regular challenge grids.

What feedback will I get on my work?
In every round you participate in, you’ll get an email telling you what the judges liked about your work, and what you need to work on. We’ll make sure to get you this feedback before the next round, so that it’s useful to you as you move through the competition!

Who are the judges?
A staff of professional writers, educators, and editors. We’ll have a couple celebrity guest judges for each competition, usually in the final round, so stay tuned and keep checking our Announcements section on this page!

Can I see some examples of essays that have been written for this competition in the past?
Sure! Check out our last nonfiction Super Challenge right here. Scroll down for the special Super Challenge grids. Our writers have the option to link their essays to these grids after they received their scores. You can also check out the results for the last challege.

What if I have more questions?
Please send questions about the Super Challenge to only, and not to our Facebook, Twitter, or other e-mail addresses. We will not be reviewing other e-mail addresses or social media for Super Challenge related questions, and we want to make sure you hear back from us!

Super Challenge Round Updates

Are you ready for this? So are we. We’ll post the prompts, winners, and a special linkup for each round here as the competition goes on! Good luck, writers!

Round One

This round is for personal essays: the mostly-true stories of your life. This round you’ll be writing within the framework of an assigned subject. Make sure that you center the subject, although the entire essay doesn’t have to be about the subject. For example, if the subject were horses, you could write about your first horse, about how much you wanted a horse, about a plastic toy horse, or about your summer camp experience in the Rockies. What you can’t do is write about a road trip your family took and casually mention that you drove past a horse in Nebraska along the way.Now that that’s cleared up, let’s get to the topic assignments:

GROUP ONE: Lessons Learned
GROUP TWO: Discomfort

Your essays are due Sunday at 10pm US Eastern Time. Remember to check the rules for formatting, including all those fiddly details like title page, font, and filename. I know it seems really useless at times, but all those rules have a purpose, from helping get your file where it needs to be to making sure you’re read anonymously and fairly.We hope you have as much fun with the prompts as we had picking them out. Good luck, and good writing!

Congratulations to the Round One winners! In alphabetical order, here are the writers who will be advancing to the second round:

Ellen Behm
Colleen Byers
Danielle Dayney
Amy Issadore Bloom
Nancy Koziol
Annmarie Lockhart
Nancy Lowell
Clodagh McMeel
Tamara Oliver
Amy Palen
Robin Quackenbush
Lisa Shaw
Genna Shelnutt
Shelby Spear
Karen Vernon
Paige Vest
Leah Vidal
Janice Wilberg

All writers are now free to share their round one essay. Just to make it easy, we’ve made a round one grid. If you want to put your work on your blog (or anywhere on the ‘net) and link it up here, it’s an easy way to share your essay with other writers. Just click the submission link below and enter the URL where you’ve posted your work. Please use the same e-mail you used for the Super Challenge so we know it’s you, and don’t worry if you don’t see your post right away: we’re moderating entries to make sure only our round one writers link up to this grid.

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Round Two

Round two of our Nonfiction Super Challenge is all about persuasive essays. A persuasive essay utilizes logic and reason to show that one idea or position is more legitimate than another. It attempts to persuade a reader to adopt the writer’s point of view on the topic. The argument must always use sound reasoning and solid evidence. It can do this by stating facts, giving logical reasons, using examples, and quoting experts. It can also utilize emotion effectively, but it should not depend on emotional appeal or require the reader to find the writer sympathetic in order to make its point.

Our round two prompts are open-ended questions. We’ll be judging these essays on how thoroughly and convincingly the author answers the question. The judges don’t have to agree with the answer, but the answer will need to be supported by more than my mom’s old standby of “because I said so.”

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s get to the assignments:

GROUP ONE: What’s the best way to end a relationship? [Note: “best” is up for grabs! Just remember that if you want best to mean fastest, kindest, or easiest, you’ll have to make sure the reader knows that’s what you intend.]

GROUP TWO: When, if ever, is it appropriate to disobey authority? [Note: “authority” could mean anything from a parent to a potentate. Just remember to make sure you give your reader enough detail that they don’t think you’re talking about riots when you mean staying up past bedtime!]

Good luck, and good writing! This round closes at 10pm Eastern time on February 12.

Congratulations to our top ten writers (five from each group), who will be advancing to the final round on Friday. All round two writers should feel free to share their essays on the grid just below our winners’ names!

Annmarie Lockhart
Nancy Lowell
Tamara Oliver
Amy Palen
Robin Quackenbush
Lisa Shaw
Genna Shelnutt
Karen Vernon
Leah Vidal
Jan Wilberg


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Final Round

Welcome to the final round, where our top ten writers will duke it out to see who takes home our cash prizes. For this round, writers will incorporate a prompt phrase into their personal or persuasive essay.

What does “incorporating a phrase” mean? It means that they need to use the entire phrase, as it appears here (including verb tense, if any) at some point in the essay. If the phrase is a complete sentence, it must be used as one. No changing that period to a comma!

The object is to seem as though the phrase is part of the writer’s ordinary vocabulary. This may mean that they need to adapt their writing style a bit throughout the rest of the essay. For example, if the phrase is “hadn’t a sixpence to scratch with” and a writer ordinarily uses a broad, casual modern style, they might need to adjust the rest of their vocabulary so that this bit of Regency-era slang doesn’t stand out awkwardly.

There are no restrictions on essay subjects. If writers feel that a content warning is advisable for their chosen subject, they may add one as the last line of the title page.

And the prompt is….

            It hardly seemed worth it at the time to complain.

Good luck, writers! Don’t forget to double-check the submission rules (there are special title page rules in your e-mail), and good luck! We expect to announce the winners in about two weeks.

Imagine a really big drumroll here, please.

Winners’ Circle

First Place – $150

Robin Quackenbush – Growing Wild

Second Place – $75

Tamara Oliver – Food Poisoning

Third Place – $50

Amy Palen – Them

Congratulations again on making it to the final round to:

Annmarie Lockhart
Nancy Lowell
Lisa Shaw
Genna Shelnutt
Karen Vernon
Leah Vidal
Jan Wilberg

You’re all fantastic writers, and making it this far is something to be proud of. Take that feedback, take your very excellent essay, and start pitching it. Never pitched before? This is a great time to start.

Winners, keep an eye on your email: we’ll be checking in to confirm details and get your prizes to you.

In the meantime, take advantage of our regular grids and coffeehouse to keep getting feedback and meeting readers and writers, or hook up your final essay here:


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Stay tuned for important updates in this space as the competition heats up!