Archive for the ‘Writing Prompts’ Category

Calling all Contra Costa Middle and High School Students: WIN $$ for YOUR Art and Writing!

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020


Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center’s Dennis Thomas 22nd Annual Art and Writing Challenge 2020

Create an essay, poem, story, play or piece of art work (including photography, sculpture, and video) on the theme of Our Connected Planet.  Questions to inspire you:

  • How has your connection to our planet played a significant role in your life?
  • How have you been impacted by threats to our climate/planet? How do you see others being affected? 
  • Do you see climate justice as connected to other forms of social justice? If so, how? 
  • In what ways is our planet impacted or threatened by things like nuclear energy, the military-industrial complex, capitalism, and notions of “progress”? 
  • What would your vision of a just and healthy world look like?

Entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. on April 24, 2020 with the mandatory Entry Cover Sheet form found on their website.

Questions? Email [email protected] or call 925-933-7850.
​Submit writing as a WORD DOCUMENT or GOOGLE DOCUMENT via email with the subject line: ART AND WRITING 2020 to [email protected] Or through
the mail to:
Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center
1035  Carol Lane
Lafayette, CA  94549

Saturday, May 16th – 6 PM at the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette.

​If you would like to attend the event, you MUST RSVP by phone (925-933-7850) or email ([email protected]) by close of business on May 8th.
Tickets to the General Public are available for $10 and will include a family-style dinner. 


High School and College Writing Contest! Win $1000 or $500!

Thursday, December 21st, 2017


The Hike & Cycle Scholarship – Deadline March 11, 2018

Nature-Saving Rules Contest


  • You must be currently enrolled in high school, university, or college. Applications from all countries are accepted.
  • You must create an original list of nature-saving rules (according to the requirements listed below).
  • The winners will be required to send us proof of their educational status.


  1. The first place winner will get $1,000 and the second place, $500. Note: each participant may send in only one submission and win only one award.
  2. We use student-generated content to write articles and make infographics on various topics concerning the environment. Your contribution will help raise awareness among people reading our blog posts!
  3. The best authors can count on their writing being published on our blog. Naturally, that means our readers will see your name!
  4. Winners will receive individual certificates from


    1. Prepare a list of nature-saving rules on one of the following subjects:
      • The Nature-Saving Rules of Responsible Camping
      • How Hikers Can Make Sure That They Don’t Hurt Wildlife
      • Recommendations for Responsible Behavior Near Bodies of Water

You’re free to focus on a specific outdoor activity (climbing, cycling, kayaking, etc.) or write more generally.

  1. Make up a creative, catchy title that reflects your ideas.
  2. Share the scholarship post on social media using Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. The links to the shared post must be sent along with your application.
  3. Send your list and all necessary links to [email protected].

By sending us your application, you confirm that you understand the rules of participation and that you are willing to accept the decision of the judges.


  1. Your work must be structured in the form of a list and must be directly connected to one of the three given topics.
  2. Your list must:
    • Be written in English
    • Include five to ten rules
    • Be no longer than 400 words
    • Be 100% plagiarism-free (see details at
    • Have a file name of “Nature_Scholarship_First Name_Last Name”
    • Be sent in .doc or .docx format
    • Be submitted within the deadline
      Note that submission starts on November 1, 2017, and ends at midnight EST on March 11, 2018.
  3. Your list must be shared on social media.

If you have some unorthodox or groundbreaking ideas, you should definitely give this contest a try! We encourage all participants to show their creative side.

Although the preferred number of rules on the list is five to ten, four or even eleven rules may be accepted. But only if the rules are good enough to deserve it!


We have a special panel of skillful writers and editors with significant experience in hiking, camping, and various outdoor activities. These judges will evaluate your work based on these requirements:

  1. Usefulness. Make sure that your advice can be practically implemented and is helpful. (40 points)
  2. Originality. The more daring and unorthodox your ideas are, the greater your chances of winning! (30 points)
  3. Clarity. Your work should get straight to the point without unnecessary digressions. (30 points)


On April 1, 2018, will publish the seven most outstanding lists, and from there, our online audience will be the judge. What’s the mechanism for voting? It’s simple: the writer with most shares of his or her post on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ will have higher chances of winning! Our support team will make sure that cheating is not possible. On April 20, 2018, we will count the shares.

To determine the final scholarship winners, we will take into consideration the results of online voting as well as the opinion of our esteemed experts.


On April 27, 2018, will publish the list of winners. Once proof of enrollment has been provided, the two winners will receive their awards. If the winner does not provide that proof, the award will be given to another suitable participant.

Visit  for more information.

$$$ Free Essay Writing Contest $$$

Sunday, July 9th, 2017


ExpertAssignmentHelp, an online tutoring company, will run a year-long essay competition. They will announce 13 prize winners.

Name: Essay Writing Competition 2017
Task: Write essay in fluent English and with depth on the topic
Length:  800 – 1000 words
Start date: 10 July 2017
Last date: 31 August 2017
Prize money: $850 
Eligibility: Open for all (FREE)
Participation Fees: Zero

This competition is FREE.


1st Prize: $450

2nd Prize: $250

3rd Prize: $150

10 consolation prizes: Authorship on our blogs and 1 printed mug. 

Essay topics (The topics might change each month)

1. My horror story regarding Plagiarism.
2. My experience of first day at university.
3. My idea for academic evaluation of students at university.
4. The future of university education in 22nd century.
5. My first internship experience.
6. Job or Startup after University?
7. Coping studies along with part-time job.
8. Studies, Love, Passion… A deadly combination.
9. Getting my first job after university.
10. 5 things you would change in your university.


Kindly fill this form to confirm your registration (Compulsory)


  • Choosing more than one topic is allowed. More than one submission is allowed.
  • The decision of the judges of ExpertAssignmentHelp will be final and binding.
  • ExpertAssignmentHelp reserves the right to use all the submitted  entries for whatsoever purpose they deem fit.
  • All entries will be checked for plagiarism. Plagiarized articles will be rejected and the participant will be banned from participating in any future competition as well.
  • Language for the essays will be English only. .
  • Participating in the event means that you agree to abide by all the rules of  ExpertAssignmentHelp.
  • You should be the only author of your essay. Co-authorship is not allowed.
  • Formats accepted are .doc, .docx, .rtf
  • Your essay document name should be in this form : <yourname>_<SEWC> and should be emailed to [email protected]

Judgement Criteria

You will be allotted points under three sections as explained below. Finally, points from all the three segments will be added to judge the winners. The three segments are explained below.

 Essay Content 

  • Maintain word limit: Your essay should be in between 800- 1000 words.
  • The essay is to be written in perfect English language.
  • Your essay should be 100% plagiarism free. It will be checked on plagiarism check software before being considered.
  • Use active voice, multiple paragraphs to make it readable, add pictures to make it engaging and interesting.
  • Your story telling capability will be judged.

For more information, visit


Writers – Do you like movies? Technology! Enter this essay contest for $!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

media-technology-illustration-with-mobile-phone  movietickets

Which Is The Better Essay Contest

You can write on any of the topics below.  Or you can also write on any topic related to technology.

  1. How Movies Affect Our Lives


      2. How Android Changed The World


March 31st, 2017.


Movies , Android , Mobile ,Technology

Entry Fees

No submission fees


1st Prize (1 winner) :  Cash $300 + 1 year Premium Movie and Music  Subscription (Worth 250$)

2nd Prize (3 winner) : Cash $100 + 1 year Premium Movie and Music  Subscription (Worth 250$)

3rd Prize (5 winner):  Premium Android apps (worth 150$)

Eligibility needs:-

The competition is open to all writers.

How to Apply:-

* Essay should be minimum 300 words  and maximum 2000 words.

* The essay ought to be free from plagiarism. Repetition of written material isn’t acceptable.

* The essay should be written in English.

* In the subject line of your email, please include:-

1. Personal Details (Name, Phone, and Address).

2. Your story name

3. Your age

Send the document to [email protected]

Enter Farmer’s Almanac’s 2016 Essay Contest!

Monday, December 7th, 2015


The 2016 Essay Contest Topic

U.S. Readers:  “A New U.S. National Holiday We Need—and Why” 

Canadian Readers: “A New Canadian National Holiday We Need—and Why”

Cash prizes (first, $250; second, $150; third, $100) will be awarded for the best essay (in 200 words or less).

Deadline: Friday, January 29, 2016. Winners will be contacted and published in The 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac and published on

All entries become the property of Yankee Publishing, which reserves all rights to the material.

Enter here:

Why YOU should write your story!

Monday, August 31st, 2015


My mother and a few siblings overcoming their past.

Family stories are important in sharing bonds with each other and imparting family history. But for children, appreciating family stories actually increases their self-esteem. Since kids learn from our stories, it’s important to write them down while we can.  And as truthfully as we can.

From small details to larger stories, my mother’s sister revised history.

“Mother and Father?” muttered my mom after my aunt shared a story about their parents.  “They were Ma and Pa in our family.”

Suddenly, gone were the lean years.  My grandfather never drank.  All was rosy in their past lives.

Why do families change their stories?

“It sounds better,” said my mom, of her sister’s tales.  “But it’s not true.”

“Mom,” I assured her.  “It wasn’t your fault you were poor and your pa was an alcoholic.”

Understanding why people act the way they do gives more layers of meanings to family stories. But for families sharing a legacy, the Pollyanna picture rather than grim reality is easier for them to face and they won’t have to fear possible judgement.

Actually sharing the less-than-picture-perfect tales are vital for family members.  We learn from longings, wishes, and regrets.  Cautionary tales show how to learn and move beyond mistakes, sorrows, and tragedies.  People grow from these experiences and strengthen bonds perhaps more than through the happy, contented moments in our lives.

“There’s nothing to writing,” said author Red Smith.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

Writing Prompts:

  1.  Write about your life from the moment of your first memories.   Use photos to jog your memory.
  2. What was going on in the world during the time?  Your community?  Neighborhood? You may begin your stories chronologically, but you don’t have to stick to this format.   What moments in your life were emotional for you?  Why?  Your favorite moments, scary times, funny anecdotes, and tragedies all should be explored.
  3. Interview others in your life as you grew up.  What is their take on the experiences you shared together?
  4. Listen to music of the time.  Remember the foods you ate.  Senses help us to recall our thoughts and actions.


The Final Frontier

Thursday, August 27th, 2015


For someone whose idea of a vacation is the clean, crisp scent of pine trees, squirrels scampering, deer delicately nibbling leaves, and gentle ocean breezes, Las Vegas wasn’t on my 1000 Places to Vacation list.

But when I discovered my East Coast son was attending a conference there and our friends Denise and Mike Okuda would be speaking at a Star Trek Convention at the same time, a trip to Las Vegas was in the cards.

(Did you know the pun is the lowest form of humor?)

I’d never watched Star Trek other than to read a book in the same room with Star Trek: Voyager on for my son, so to say I was a fish-out-of-water at this convention is an understatement.

(*clichés are predictable and unimaginative.  Avoid them like the plague.)

Although I thought I had nothing in common with Star Trek fans, I discovered their friendliness, passion, and joy contagious!!  Fans of all ages dressed in creative costumes and willingly posed for pictures.  Their energy turned the event into one big party! !!

(*Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!!)

Getting into the spirit of things, and trying to belong, I saw a tall man in costume which looked vaguely familiar.  “Chewbacca?” I asked my son.


“Mom, that’s Star WARS,” he said.

It’s good to ask questions, I reminded myself.

The Star Trek culture has been so beloved and ingrained within our culture the Smithsonian is opening an exhibit on Star Trek in July 2016, the show’s 50th anniversary.  Mike and Denise Okuda’s new book, encyclo_book

will be released at the same time.  Mike Okuda, Scenic Arts Supervisor, was nominated for Emmy Awards in Outstanding Special Visual Effects.  His wife, Denise, a scenic artist and computer/ video supervisor, is the co-author of this two-volume edition.

“We were bombarded with questions from NASA,” said Mike at the convention.  “We tried to be so far ahead of current technology –at least visually.”

In a turn of events as strange as green aliens on earth, Star Trek not only became an icon for fans, but for NASA scientists who contacted them for ideas.

You don’t have to attend a Star trek Convention to boldly go where no man has gone before to create your own science fiction or fantasy world.

Writing Prompts:

  1. Create your own world.  How far can your imagination go?  Describe the inhabitants, government, environment, character goals.   Let these ideas simmer for a while, building upon them as you take walks, daydream, and sleep.
  2. Begin crafting your own story, using your new world’s parameters.
  3. Experiment with different genres.   Poetry, graphics, music, short story.
  4. Writing rules.  Know them before you break them.

(*A nod to William Safire’s list of writing rules from the New York Times.)





Everyone Needs a Treehouse

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015


 As a child, my favorite place was the cluster of trees which grew behind my childhood home. As a neighborhood hangout, several of the nearby children and I spent hours play-making here.  The trees provided a leafy canopy roof to the playhouse. I’d sweep the mud floor with a large branch, a nod to housekeeping.

Stones and the natural slope of the earth provided three clear rooms.  The living room’s entryway was marked by a worn path to low, overhanging branches, concealing our treasured hideaway and creating a cozy canopied roof.  A natural rise in dirt served as a couch while a rock became a chair.

Stepping above the couch was the bedroom, a small platform where an old doll slept.  She was someone else’s cast-off, my discovered treasure from an earlier exploring expedition deeper in the forest.

The kitchen, off to the left of the living room, consisted of piles of sticks and rocks serving as the stove and counter.  A path from the kitchen led to the backyard, which led to another grove of trees.  Here someone had built an actual wooden house in a tree.  A tree house, a house surrounded by trees, and yet a third structure:  tall, dried reeds, tilted together as a tee-pee.   Mother Nature provided Disneyland-like adventures for any child with an imagination.


Ever since my youth I have sought out trees.  When my husband and I searched for a house and we discovered one amidst large, tall oak trees, we knew we were home.   The deck places me inside the branches.  This is where I relax, write, and meditate.

Writing Prompts:

  1. Even if you only have a small corner, you can create your own space.  Where is your place of comfort, imagination, and peace?
  2. Use your comfort place as an inspiration for a poem, story, or art work.
  3. Write about a time where you sought a setting to feed your creative spirit.
  4. What’s your favorite trip or adventure where you discovered a new setting which you loved?  Write about this place and your experience.


Of Wishes, Rain, and People We Miss

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

It’s raining!  I can’t believe it.  Zoie Dog is getting plenty of “good sniffs” as she sleeps and wanders in front of our screened deck door.  When faced with lack of water, we appreciate how valuable it is.  Its gentle pitter patter reminds me of the gentleness of my dad.  Dad’s quiet sense of humor seemed magnified when he moved out to California after my mom died.  My dad’s hugs, spiritual reverence, and avid love of all things sports were contagious.  Even I, no sports fiend, still feel his excitement when the Giants or Packers win. In moments like those, I talk to my dad, knowing deep in my soul he hears me. Elmer Koehler 1948   My mom and I were even closer, talking about religion, politics, recipes and more.  I miss her sense of humor and empathy most.   She and Dad lived in Wisconsin while I was in California.  Phone conversations did well at bridging the gap, but I did wish they’d move out near us.  Many times I find myself wishing I could call to ask her opinion or share a special moment.  What would Mom do?   I ask myself.   So I think my thoughts to her, feeling she too, listens. Helen Harnik 1940's I love the moments when Mom and Dad visit me in dreams.  These are vivid images, where my sense of smell is sharpened. When Mom brought me flowers in one dream, their scent followed me through my day.  When they hug me, I feel them after I wake.  At first I thought my imagination provided these scenes, but when they predict the future and it comes true, I feel their reality. While Dad was alive, Mom would begin an action and thought in Dad’s dream and finish it in mine.  The universe is connected.  I’m comforted by that thought as I listen to the peaceful rain, a small miracle in our drought-ridden land. Writing Prompts:

  1.  Write a scene where you or your character interacts with weather.   Show the protagonist’s thoughts and values through internal and external dialogue and action.
  2. Dig back into your past.  Write a scene where you were impacted by weather in some way.
  3. Do any of your characters need to deal with loss?  How do they show their emotions?
  4. Write about a loss you have faced.
  5. Loss inspires good actions.  How have you seen this to be true?

Meet Zeus!

Friday, May 1st, 2015


Meet Zeus.   He’s about 7 months old, according to a local German Shepard Rescue group.  My neighbor, Hilde, is fostering him.  Last week she discovered a hard lump near his shoulder.  On Tuesday, Zeus had surgery where the vet found yet another tumor behind the first one.  We talked to the doctor when we came to pick up Zeus.

“I removed the tumors, but it doesn’t look good,” the vet said.

“What’s the percentage chance that it’s cancer?” Hilde asked.

“Five percent that it isn’t,” he replied.

Tears filled her eyes.

“We don’t know for sure,” I said.  “Let’s wait to see what the biopsy says.”

A loopy but still loving Zeus met us and we guided him into the van.  Back in Hilde’s driveway, she and my husband, Bob carried him into the house.

The next morning, still on painkillers, Zeus greeted me with romps and kisses.

“Wow, he’s amazing,” I told Hilde.

“It’s hard to realize he’s sick,” she said.

Today I answered the phone in my office.

“Liz,” said Hilde.  “He doesn’t have cancer.”

“He doesn’t?!”

“He doesn’t,” she said.  “All that worry for nothing.”

We were silent, each thinking about the doctor’s sobering –and incorrect—prediction.

“How could he have said that to me?” she said.

“I know.  Remember Bob’s doctor?” I reminded her.

Years ago, my husband’s constant coughing sent him to his physician who administered an x-ray.  It showed a huge growth in his right lung.  “Cancer,” the doctor said.

We saw an oncologist, who seconded the bad news, pointing out the ugliness on the films.  It seemed to take over Bob’s right lung, as it seemed to take over our lives.

The doctor called a few days before Christmas.  He said we’d have to wait until January to see a lung specialist who would perform an MRI.  Surgery and chemo was sure to follow.

“What if it’s something contagious?” I asked Bob’s doctor.  Maybe it’s TB or an infection?  If he’s contagious, maybe we should cancel our Christmas party?”

The doctor sighed.   “He’s not contagious.  Live your life.  Enjoy your holidays.”


A few weeks later, the lung doctor questioned us thoroughly.  “I think you have an infection,” he said to Bob.  “Let’s try antibiotics first.”

You can guess what happened.  The drugs cleared up the “tumor.”  Bob’s coughing stopped.

Now when I begin to worry about something out of my control, I try and pre-empt myself.  Do I know beyond a doubt it’s true?

Writing Prompts:

  1. How do your characters face conflicts and tragedy in their lives?  Do they roll easily with life’s ups and downs?  Deny them?  Face them with humor, emotional resiliency, or abject horror?  Write a few scenes with scenarios that could happen to your protagonist.
  2. Write the outcomes of these scenes.  Try different resolutions.  Which one feels right?
  3. Choose a scenario to read to your writing group.  Make sure you ask the write questions as to how to improve your scenes.
  4. Don’t worry.  Over time, your writing does improve!    20150421_164719
  5. 20150426_092729