2013 Personal Essay Contest
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2013 Personal Essay Contest

When you think back to a defining time in your life, it probably began with a choice you made. Maybe it was big ("I moved to a city where I didn't know anyone") or little ("I decided to chat with that cute guy at the DMV"). Maybe you didn't feel confident about your decision at the time -- or even regretted it -- but now you can see that it had a huge impact on your life. For our third-annual LHJ Personal Essay Contest, we want you to tell us that story.

Tell Us About the Best Decision You've Ever Made

Ladies' Home Journal is a community that shares stories -- and we're dying to hear yours. If you win our essay contest, we'll give you $3,000 and the chance to have your essay published in the Journal. You're free to interpret the topic in whatever way you like, but remember that we value creativity and clarity above all.

Essays will be judged on their emotional power, originality, and the quality of their prose. They should be no more than 2,000 words and ideally typed or written in a Microsoft Word document.

Click here to enter the contest using our easy submission form.

Or, you can enter by e-mailing your submission as an attachment (with your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address) to LHJessaycontest@meredith.com or by mailing a copy to Personal Essay Contest, Ladies' Home Journal, 805 Third Ave., 26th Fl., New York, NY 10022. Entries are due by December 6, 2013.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long should my essay be?

Essays should be no more than 2,000 words.

May I submit an anonymous essay or use a pen name?

Unfortunately no, we cannot accept anonymous entries or allow you to use a pen name for this contest. All entries must have your true and full name, address, phone number, and e-mail address included to be considered.

How should I format my entry?

Essays should be double-spaced, and should be saved as a .doc, .docx, or PDF file (or printed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper if you are mailing your entry). Please be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address at the top of the essay.

My essay was previously published elsewhere. May I submit it?

No, we will not accept previously published essays.

I entered your contest last year and didn't win. May I resubmit my essay?

Yes, you may. But keep in mind that your essay should fit this year's theme -- "The Best Decision I Ever Made."

If I submit via e-mail, how do I attach my essay?

As you are writing us the e-mail, you should see a link you can click to "attach" a document -- sometimes this is an image of a paperclip. Click it, and a window will open that will allow you to locate where you saved your essay on your computer. You should be able to click the saved file, and then it will attach to the e-mail.

Should I submit my story both via e-mail and regular mail?

Please submit your entry only once.

Will you let me know if my essay has been received?

If you submit your story via e-mail, you should get an auto-reply message noting that we have received it. Due to the high volume of submissions, we will not be able to let you know we received your essay if you submitted via regular mail. No phone calls, please.

When will I find out if I won?

The winner will be alerted on or about February 1, 2014. Soon after, the rest of the entrants will receive notice that their essays were not selected as the winner. If you do not win the contest, feel free to submit your piece elsewhere.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Subject to Official Rules at www.lhj.com/essaycontest. The Ladies' Home Journal Personal Essay Contest begins at 12:01a.m. E.T. on August 1, 2013 and ends at 11:59 p.m. E.T. on December 6, 2013. Online and email entries must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. on December 6, 2013. Mail entries must be postmarked no later than December 6, 2013, and received no later than December 16, 2013. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, 21 years or older. Limit one (1) entry per person and per email address. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Meredith Corporation.