Jump In!Get started at YeahWrite with this simple guide to our weekly challenges
Welcome to YeahWrite! Whether you’re looking for inspiration, community, feedback, or a place to perfect your writing craft, you’re in the right spot. We hope you’ll take the time to comb through our grids and archives, explore our home away from home in the coffeehouse, and pick up some new tips and tricks from our writing help posts.
First time here? Let’s get you up to speed so you can start writing.
How does YeahWrite work?
The three types of challenges
- Our weekly free “challenge grids” where you can submit nonfiction, fiction, and poetry (and, on the first week of each month, microprose) for a popular vote. These grids have specific submission guidelines which must be met for entry. Challenge grid posts are also eligible to win an editorial staff pick.
- Our weekly free weekend writing showcase, a minimally moderated and nonvoting “grid” for writing you’d like to share that doesn’t quite match up with the challenge grids for one reason or another.
- Our quarterly super challenge, a competition with an entry fee and cash prizes.
A typical week at YeahWrite looks like this (all times given are in US Eastern (New York) time):
Sunday: Our “weekly kickoff” post gives you news, prompts, and information about the upcoming week, including whether our monthly microprose challenge is running that week. This post contains the challenge grids for both weekly challenges – nonfiction and fiction|poetry – but the challenges aren’t open yet.
Monday: Our nonfiction and fiction|poetry challenges open at midnight (let’s call it 12:01 am for the sake of clarity). Look for the grids in the weekly kickoff post. Once posts are submitted, you’ll see their thumbnail image appear next to that link. (When enough thumbnails show up, it looks like a “grid” – hence the name!)
Tuesday: Both grids remain open for submissions.
Wednesday: The first Wednesday of each month, the microprose challenge grid opens at 12:01 am with an informational post containing the prompt, rules, and grid submission link. If this is a micro month, there will be a handy link to that post in the week’s kickoff!
At 10:00 pm every Wednesday, all challenge grids close to submissions, and we add a “voting post” that collects all the grids in one place for the popular vote. This post also contains our voting and feedback instructions and guidelines.
Thursday: Popular voting closes at 10:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: At noon on Friday we announce the winners and top three from the popular vote as well as any editorial staff picks we might have in our “winners’ post.”
At 6:00 pm on Friday we open the weekend writing showcase grid in our final post of the week.
How to submit to our free weekly challenge grids
1. Set up a site for your writing
The first thing you’ll need is a place online to host your writing. If you don’t already have a website where you publish and promote your work, you can start one on a free blogging site like WordPress, Blogger, or even Tumblr. Most folks at YeahWrite use one of these platforms, because they’re an easy way to publish and manage your work and to get comments. Consider turning off CAPTCHA or moderation on your comments so that other writers can leave you feedback.
The important thing is, each individual piece of writing you submit to YeahWrite’s weekly challenge grids will need its own permanent URL.
2. Write something
Once you have a place to host your writing, you’ll need to write a story, essay or poem that meets our submission guidelines. At the end of this tutorial is a quick guide to the rules for each grid. It isn’t a substitute for reading the full guidelines, but it’ll get you past the threshold.
No matter which grid you plan to submit your work to, we accept one entry per writer per grid per week. Submissions may not be cross-submitted to other challenges or linkups the week you submit them to YeahWrite. It’s ok to draw inspiration from other posts, prompts, and challenges but we want you to focus on making good writing, not on entering the maximum number of challenges possible.
Our editorial standards respect the diversity and dignity of our audience. YeahWrite does not accept submissions which insult or demean any person based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.
3. Add your writing to the grid
Now that you’ve written your post, it’s time to submit. It’s a two-step process: first you’ll need to add our badge to your post, then you’ll need to add your post to the InLinkz grid.
Adding the badge to your writing
Over at the right hand side of the page you’ll see our badges. Find the one that’s got your grid’s label on it, and then grab the code underneath. Make sure you get it all! (Click in the box and then hit Ctrl+A or ⌘+A before copying the code, if you’re not sure.)
Paste that code into the HTML view of your page or blog editor. When you flip back to “visual” or “text” view mode, you should see the picture of the badge, which contains a link back to the current grid post.
Adding your submission to the grid
Each challenge grid opens with a post containing some tips and tricks for you as a writer, a reminder about the submission guidelines, and the InLinkz grid that you’ll submit your work to. We link these posts from our Facebook page and Twitter as well as publishing them (you can subscribe to our blog to add those posts to your feed and get notifications).
If you’re looking for a grid post in a hurry, head up to the menu bar and select the archive for the grid you want.
Once you’re in the archive, look for this week’s post. The nonfiction post shows up Monday at midnight, the fiction\poetry grid on Tuesday, and so on. If you don’t see a post for this week, it’s because the grid is not open for submissions yet!
The title of the post you want will be “YeahWrite #___ Weekly Writing Challenge is Open for …” and the title of the grid. If the most recent post says “is open for voting” then you’ve missed this week’s competitive challenge grids. You can still link your post to the Weekend Writing Showcase on Friday, though!
Once you’ve found the post, open it and scroll to the bottom. (Just kidding. Read the post, then scroll to the bottom.) You’ll see a little blue button that looks like this:
If you don’t see that button, the grid isn’t open. It’s as simple as that.
If there are other writers on the grid already, you’ll see post thumbnails above that button. The thumbnails look like this:
Click the button and follow the instructions to add your writing. You’ll need the permanent URL of the page your story, poem or essay is on to do this. The InLinkz software will confirm that you’ve correctly added the badge before allowing you to link your writing to the grid. Then go look at the grid. You should see your own thumbnail! (If you don’t, drop us a line. We’d love to help you figure it out!)
4. Check your work
I know. This should really come before you submit, but let’s be honest: how many times have we all caught an error that we thought we’d fixed? The good news is that unless the grid has closed and voting has started, you’re free to fix that typo, dangling participle, broken link or weird photo in your submission. Reread the submission guidelines and recheck your wordcount. If you’re writing microprose, hand-count your words.
Now that your essay, poem, or story has been submitted to the grid, our editorial staff reviews your work to make sure it meets the submission guidelines. Work that meets the submission guidelines, has been submitted to the correct grid, and doesn’t violate our community standards will move on to the Wednesday/Thursday popular vote. Otherwise you’ll get a brief note from one of our editors letting you know why we needed to remove your submission.
And as always, if you’re struggling, drop us a line.
5. Read, vote, and comment
Voting opens on Wednesday at 10pm Eastern US time, and stays open until Thursday at the same time. The complete rules for voting are on the voting post. You don’t have to submit to vote, but if you do submit please stick around to vote. Here’s how:
- Read all the entries in your grid.
- If you have time, leave feedback for other writers and read your own feedback (more on that below!)
- Select the entries that you think represent the best writing in the grid; you usually get three votes
- Cast your vote by clicking the little Heart icon at the top of the entry’s thumbnail image.
Remember: it’s a writing competition, not a popularity contest! We’d love to have your friends and family drop by, but we’d also love them to read all the work on the grid and then only vote for yours if they still think it’s the best. Soliciting targeted votes can result in us having to remove your entries, and nobody wants that.
After voting is closed, we’ll sort the grids in order of most votes to fewest. We audit the vote between when it closes and when we post the official winners on Friday, so don’t be surprised if you see the number of votes change as the editors tiebreak.
tips for giving feedback
- We all love feedback, so try to take the time to give and receive it each week, even if you don’t have an entry on the grid.
- Open with a positive comment or idea.
- Do more than say you liked what the story or poem was about. The writer worked hard to deliver their message in a certain way and it’s useful to them to know if that technique worked for them or if they should try something else.
- Pick out a sentence or paragraph that really worked for you and explain why: instead of “I love the sky turned the color of Pepto Bismol” say “Using an unconventional metaphor for the color of the sky helped bring out more of the narrator’s background and culture.”
- If there’s a spot that’s unclear, bear the burden of the misunderstanding: “I struggled a little in the middle when you used a lot of pronouns. For a minute there I couldn’t tell if Gwen was kissing Art or Lance.”
- Try to steer toward positive or neutral feedback unless you know the writer welcomes public criticism. You can convey a lot of useful information about what they did right rather than focusing on what didn’t work!
- It’s really rare to see genuinely bad writing. Instead, you’re more likely to be reading writing that is unsuccessful at doing what it’s trying to do. So take a minute to think about what that goal might be, and make a suggestion that will help the writer reach it.
If you’re looking for more robust feedback, consider adding the “constructive criticism welcome” badge from our sidebar to your work. We believe that the process of giving and receiving constructive criticism benefits reader and writer, but we also understand that some work is too personal for us to comfortably receive robust feedback, and that it can be intimidating for new writers to expect their work will be subject to scrutiny and public criticism. Please respect the absence – and presence – of the criticism badge, and take a minute to go through our critique workshop.
6. Congratulate the winners
We’ll announce the official challenge grid winners each week on Friday at noon.
Besides the crowd favorite winners and top three, we also announce our editorial staff picks. Picks are based on writing quality, how successful the author is in conveying information, and just plain style. Some weeks, the editors will comb through the grids and nothing really stands out for us. Maybe the best stories had a bunch of typos or the grammatically perfect ones didn’t have much there there. You’ve really got to nail the details of both elements – structure and storytelling – to earn a staff pick. The great part is that we don’t have a finite number of picks to hand out. That means that if two, three, five, or even all the works on one grid are fantastic, we can give them all kudos.
Crowd favorites, top three, and staff picks all receive badges, which you can add to your post or sidebar with the appropriate winners’ badge code in the same way that you added your grid badge.
Each winners’ post also contains a roundup of grid trends that our editors have observed. This is where we share general writing tips that we’ve noticed more than one writer needs, talk about something that’s going well for a number of people, or discuss what’s holding some posts back from that coveted staff pick.
Quick and dirty guide to our challenge grids:
- 750 word limit
- Anecdotes, mostly true stories, personal or persuasive essays
- Optional prompt taken from last week’s crowd favorite
- Date of first publication must be no earlier than the Sunday before the grid opens
- Open Monday-Wednesday each week
- 750 word limit
- Fiction or poetry
- Optional prompt
- No genre restrictions
- Date of first publication must be no earlier than the Sunday before the grid opens
- Open Monday-Wednesday each week
- Mandatory prompt
- Word count varies by challenge
- See each kickoff post for unique rules
- Open the first Wednesday of each month
What else do you do?
In addition to our free weekly challenge grids, we run quarterly super challenges with cash prizes. Super challenge submissions are made via email rather than posted online, although we do set up a grid for super challenge writers to share their work after each round is judged.
We encourage writers to join our Facebook group, called the coffeehouse, to share stories, comments and questions. Our editors also hang out in the coffeehouse, so if you haven’t met an editor yet why not drop by?
Each month we post additional writing resources, ranging from craft posts to monthly explorations of poetry forms. Check out our writing help section for an easy-to-use archive of these resources.
Make sure to sign up for our mailer (we promise not to overwhelm you with junk mail or share your email address) and check out the weekly kickoff posts every Sunday to stay on top of all our announcements.
See you on the grids!
Still got questions?
We’d love to hear from you.