Contests and Stuff

Embrace The Changing You – WRITING CONTEST

Embrace The Changing You  — The CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED TO ENTRIES

Writing CONTEST – No entry fee

Calling on Women Writers

Have you made life changes over the challenging past year, set a goal and stuck to it, discovered something about yourself? Do you feel the need to come into your own kicky self? Have you sprung forward with authenticity and want to celebrate a bit?

I will help one of you do that.

Here is my story, and why I am offering the contest.

Last year I had an urge to shake things up a bit. I decided on a change in hair color and a shorter cut to celebrate our changing lives and give me the kickyness I now deserved and worked hard to reclaim.

My life is HOPEFUL, and I felt DARING! So, I changed my hair color to silver/gray.

With the change to my hair, I felt buoyant. There was a bounce to my step, dancing was back. A sense of renewal and a galvanizing vibe seeped through my soul. With my lovely gray hair taking over my dull brownish red, I started ordering clothes reminiscent of my travel days. Colorful and cute. Mixing with the grays and blacks I was hiding behind. thredUP now delivers a package almost weekly. I love helping the environment by shopping at an online consignment/resale store, giving clothes a reprieve from the landfill and a new life, letting them become part of mine. At least, that is my excuse!

I started my memoirs and this blog. On it, I have written about the writer’s groups I take part in and the amazing sense of camaraderie that has moved me forward in troubled times. And the challenges of being a newbie writer figuring out how to do her craft. I have remained busy, forward thinking and energized while learning to work with schedules, and organize my thoughts, two amazing things in their own right.

Throughout it all we have seen balloons at sunrise, bringing promise to our day. And clinked glasses of wine at sunset, exhilarated that we are still here to do so.

My goal is to finish the first memoir rough draft by March 1st. And I am doing all I can to make that happen. When it does, I will celebrate again.

And I want someone to cheer me on and celebrate with.


Write about a positive change you made or a discovery about yourself in 2020 that celebrates the authentic you.

Please read carefully. 

What do you need to do?

  • Cheer me on in the comments below for the completion of my rough draft. I need to finish by March 1st.
  • Be a Subscriber to this blog (subscribe in the sidebar). You must be a subscriber to enter an essay and to take part in the voting.
  • Write a 500 – 700 word essay from the writing prompt above.


Your choice of:

$200USD into your PayPal account to reimburse you for your own I Am Fabulous Makeover.


$200USD into your PayPal account to reimburse you for your thredUp shopping spree. (see here- They only ship to the United States and Canada**) or a Poshmark shopping spree. (United States)


$200USD into your PayPal account to reimburse you for a writer’s workshop of your choice.

I need a  minimum of five essays to be submitted in order for the prize to be awarded. ***



Open to all women writers over the age of 18.

All entries are via email to: Put Embrace the changing you – WRITING CONTEST in the subject line. And attach a Word document.

You must include your Name, Birth Year, and Contact Information.

You must have a PayPal account for us to deposit the prize (USD) into.

One entry per person. Make yours count.


Judging a contest like this is, of course, subjective, especially with the styles of writing. We are so excited to read what all of you will come up with.



Deadline March 8, 2021 (International Women’s Day).

We will announce five semi-finalists on April 1, 2021 and post their essays.

You will vote for your favorite one from April 1 – 5. Only one vote allowed.

I will announce the winner on April 14, 2021 – National Reach As High As You Can Day.

Winning Essay highlighted by a separate blog post on Ria Talken Writes, along with a bio and social media links to the author.

Here is the twist:

**I must complete my rough draft by March 1st in order for someone to win the full prize. If I don’t, the amount will be $100USD towards the prize of your choice. **  I do not want to let anyone down. You will be the fire under my butt.

I have 20 essays left to write. (700-2000 words each)

Watch for updates on my Facebook page.

And please share this contest with your friends and writer’s groups.


I  have met my goal to finish my rough draft. So the winner will receive the full $200 prize. 

I just wanted to thank everyone who participated in my women’s writing contest “Embrace The Changing You.”  I received wonderful essays!!  Because of this, I am considering making a writing contest an annual event with a changing prompt.

To let you know what happens next:

I and my staff (my husband) will be choosing our top 5 essays and I will be sharing these on April 1st. I decided that the essays will be posted blind – meaning the author’s name will not show but each will be assigned a number. I am still figuring out how the posting will

From April 1 – April 5 voting will occur. In order to vote people must subscribe to my blog, so tell your friends.

And on April 14 – National Reach As High As You Can Day, the winner will be announced.  – I will already have contacted the winner and will write and post a dedicated blog post including the winner’s bio, essay, and social media links for April 14th.

I can’t wait to find out who the winner is!!

Regardless, every person who brings their stories forward and has the courage to write is a winner in her own right.

Thank you all!!

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  • Reply
    Jennifer Dixey
    March 7, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    Came here via your comment on Cami’s page! Glad you made your goal!

  • Reply
    Kristi Lyn Reddy
    March 4, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Congrats on finishing your draft BEFORE your desired due date! Woohoo!

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      March 4, 2021 at 9:47 am

      Thank you, Kristi!! It is the first time that I have met a goal and not fizzled out or crashed myself on. Pretty happy. I will be ready to start the next stage in April. Now I am concentrating on some workshops and conferences to work on the craft. Loving this whole writing thing, but boy it is a lot of work. It has been great to do during COVID.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    Ria, I didn’t get a chance to cheer you on re: your rough draft, as I just learned about your essay contest. Am I still eligible to submit?

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      March 3, 2021 at 8:15 am

      Sure Liz, there is still time. The contest ends on the 8th. Looking forward to your submission. Just make sure you are a subscriber.

      • Reply
        Lora Hein
        March 7, 2021 at 6:11 pm

        Ria, what time is the deadline on the 8th? midnight on the 7th? sometime during the day on thee 8th? What time zone? I just found out about this and would live to enter something, if I still have time.

        • Reply
          Ria Talken
          March 8, 2021 at 10:43 am

          I am on Central Time in Mexico. So midnight tonight. (basically, if I get up tomorrow morning and it is in my inbox and says March 8th, it is valid). You still have time.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    I’m finding this right at the eleventh hour–which is, in my experience, when the best stuff gets done 😉 I love this idea! You’ve got this! I was just diagnosed with ADHD this year and have only just begun to understand lifelong habits and struggles that come with it. I’m trying to embrace the ways in which it makes my brain unique and find ways to work with those differences. This is such a cool idea and I’m looking forward to writing my essay and reading your work as well!

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 28, 2021 at 4:16 pm

      Excellent!! Definitely submit an essay. There is still time.
      I remember what a huge relief it was once I was diagnosed with both ADHD and then later Bipolar 1. The diagnosis gave me something to research, something to learn about, and then something to work on. It made me less alone as I found others with the same difficulties.
      Today I met my goal of completing my rough draft. Still, so much work to do, but I have time. I want to have a quality memoir to send out into the world. I need to do more homework. But, this means the whole prize will be awarded. Yippee. Looking forward to reading your essay.

  • Reply
    Ankita Anand
    February 27, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    Thanks so much for doing this and I’ll be cheering for you and your drafts!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2021 at 8:04 am

    I just love it when women come together and cheer each other on. Building up! Love it! You’ve got this. How can you not with that sassy cut of yours? Embracing it all-all of life! The good and bad and gray. I’m entering this contest because 2020 was a year of transformation for me as well. I am still in the cocoon phase, but the journey has begun! Thank you for this fun opportunity. I can’t wait to see the journeys of amazing women. Hugs! Shelly

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 18, 2021 at 8:35 am

      Yes, aren’t women great together! I am excited that you will be entering the contest and can’t wait to read your entry. The cocoon phase is always good, you are regrouping for what lies ahead. Wishing you a good 2021.

  • Reply
    Shawna Rodrigues
    February 17, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Ria – this is AMAZING – what a fun way to have us involved in your journey.
    You’ve got this – keep the fire lit!!

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 17, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much, Shawna!! I see the finish line for the rough draft and am heading towards it. It will be the first time in my life I have kept on point with a goal without all my baggage getting in the way or making me wear down and quit. I know finishing the rough draft means just beginning the other goals to getting published, but with people like you encouraging me, life is good.

  • Reply
    Lainey Cameron
    February 17, 2021 at 10:45 am

    March is getting closer! And I am SO PROUD of you.

    I’ll see if I can share this in a few places later today 🙂

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 17, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you, Lainey!! You have such an amazing following. That would be helpful. I think I will make the goal, then give myself a break before delving back into another draft. You have been such a cheerleader.

  • Reply
    Nikki Rodwell
    February 9, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Whoops! I forgot to note which blog I love the most (so far) .. Why I Love Carrie Mathieson. My daughter is in denial amid a very confusing bipolar journey. This blog has helped me a great deal to read. I too have my own unique mental health experience so your honesty resonates deeply with me, as it’s been a long journey to stand up to stigma. Thank you Ria. x

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 6:39 pm

      I really like that blog post too and loved the series. Your words are so encouraging to me and you are exactly the person I am writing the memoir and my blog for. Mental health/illness has to come out of the closet too and people really need to understand that there is a fine tipping point in all of us if the right circumstances and challenges arise. Maybe that is what scares people into denial. Unfortunately too many feel they have brought this upon themselves, that they are bad people or that they somehow deserve their illness. The more often others decide to speak up and challenge the ever-present stereotypes and in the process break down the stigmas the better we all will be. Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Reply
    Nikki Rodwell
    February 9, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    I’m right with you Ria! I’m aiming to complete my last edit by 1st March for my memoir to go back to my Editor. You can do it… and it’s great that you set goals to steer you. We can celebrate together when we get there! I was just going to bed but now find myself composing an essay for you! All writing is great practice for me (I have a lot of years to catch up on), so thank you. xx

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      Fabulous!! I can’t wait to receive your essay and read it. So great to hear about your own progress with your memoir. We will have to “chat” about your process, how you got an editor etc. Congratulations on being in your last edit. Can’t wait till I can say those words.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2021 at 5:33 am

    Hello Ria,

    I found your blog on Facebook. You are in a non-fiction writing group. I am entering your contest because I want to cheer you on and support you as a writer. I have no doubt you will finish your memoir on time (despite your ADHD). I believe your writing will help people find their joy. I believe you are in this world to share your light. I shared one of your blogs on a Suicide Awareness and Prevention Facebook group this morning— “I had to walk a rocky path to get where I am.” I joined the group a few week back so I can help people survive this pandemic. I joined so I can help myself survive. I am a suicidal person. I want to live. I am not ready to die. I really enjoyed your article about writing groups vs. therapy. I agree with your approach. Taking a class or joining a group that allows you the opportunity to become someone other than a person therapy identifies as mentally ill is empowering and smart. I was majored in psychology in college. I dropped out because I have serious issues with the ethics of the career. I imagine I will be a motivational speaker and coach someday. I will teach what I know and I will focus on what I can control. I will be my best self and live my best life. I followed your travel blog this morning. I wonder… have you been able to monetize your blogs? Are you now a brand influencer for thredup? So many questions, not enough time. #whiterabbit I need to write my essay now. May your day be filled with smiles. Much love, Amber Garibay

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 8:08 am

      Excellent Amber!! Excited to read your submission.

  • Reply
    Christine Z
    February 1, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    You can do this Ria! I’ve seen (and heard) what you write, and it’s amazing. You have a kaleidoscope of candid, warm, heartfelt and often humorous vignettes twined together into a greater arc, so much of which sufferers of mental illness will relate to and find inspiration from. Those who are not familiar with mental illness can only be touched by your insight and wit. By telling your own story, you recount the story of countless others who have not yet found their voice, or don’t realize they have one. I’m cheering for you because you do so much to break the stigma through your efforts! You got this like no one else<3.

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 1, 2021 at 11:59 pm

      Wow, thank you, Christine!! If that doesn’t light a fire under my butt I don’t know what will. I think there needs to be an awareness of mental health challenges and a breakdown of stereotypes and stigma even more in this day and age. Anyone can be triggered in the right circumstances into a lifetime or an episode, through no fault of their own. I found that when I started giving voice to my struggles and owned my mental illness and talked about it I took some of its power away and its ability to make me feel guilty and ashamed. I hope more people come forward with their stories. There can never be too many in this dialogue.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Ria, what a lovely blog and what a great opportunity to enter your competition!!!
    I love your spirit and you sound full of energy! You’ve got this! March is the target!

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 1, 2021 at 1:31 pm

      Isabel, thank you so much for your kind words!! I am determined. I hope to see an essay from you in the contest. And thank you for subscribing.

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