12 Short Stories in 12 Months

Can you write 12 Short Stories in 12 Months?

If the answer is yes, hit the button. If you are unsure, but intrigued, keep reading.

Is your muse missing? Has it been ages since you’ve written a word? Are your nightmares filled with blank pages and blinking cursors? Are your characters waiting and waiting for you to start writing again? You are not alone. 

It happens to all of us. We’re all busy, but the good news is you have found the solution.

If you want to write more, or start writing again, the 12 Short Stories in 12 Months Writing Challenge is a low-pressure online writing challenge that will help you write more, improve your craft and build a sustainable routine.

At a glance

  • This challenge is free. 
  • Submit one short story per month for 12 consecutive months.  
  • Submit one story and read four other stories.
  • Improve your craft month by month. 
  • Join the kindest writing community on the internet.  
  • Build a body of work that your can submit to anthologies and magazines.
  • Build your confidence and write regularly. 


What is included in the challenge?

Once you sign up for the challenge you will: 

  • Have a profile on Deadlines for Writers.
  • This profile grants you access to the 12 Short Stories in 12 Months Challenge. 
  • A prompt is published once a month. 
  • You have a specific word count that varies each month. 
  • You will have about four weeks to complete a short story. 
  • You do not have to use the prompt in your story, but it should relate to theme (sort of).
  • If you complete all 12 short stories you will add 15 000 words to your word count for the year. 
  • Please only post on deadline day.
  •  Once you have posted you will comment on four stories and other writers on will comment on your story. 
  • Kindness is the key to our success. Please read this post.
  •  And then you read and learn. 
  • The new prompt is published and you write and grow. 
  • We repeat this process for 12 months or forever (if you are anything like our writers 😍).




The prompt is published. You have four weeks to write a short story that relates to the prompt in some way. You do not have to use the word in your story.  

You DO have to keep to the word count. Our shortest story is 300 words and our longest is 2500 words.  The total word count for the year is 15000 words. 

The prompt is a word or a phrase. It is meant to jump start your ideas.

The deadlines make the stories appear, but the prompts add the magic you weren’t expecting. 


On deadline day you will post your story.  Not a day before or a day after. The posting window is open for 24 hours. It starts at 8 am (my time) on the day and is open until 8 am (my time) the next day. Don’t stress the time zones. This works. The dates are available on the Welcome page or the prompts tab.

The posting window: 

  • Australia: Wed, 4 pm – Thur, 4 pm (AEST)
  • UK: Wed, 7 am – Thur, 7 am (BST)
  • South Africa: Wed, 8 am – Thur 8 am (GMT+02:00)(
  • US: Wed, 2 am – Thur, 2 am (ET) and Wed, 11 pm – Thur, 11 pm( PT)

Every month you will post one story and you will comment on four stories. 

Receiving feedback: 

This is a big step for any writer to take. Here we celebrate bravery and writers are encouraged to experiment and try new things with their writing. 

Giving feedback: 

This is an incredibly valuable aspect of the challenge. You can read about all the theory and watch all the class videos, but by reading and giving feedback you will learn critical analysis skills and you will be able to put the theory into practice. 

What does it look like inside ?

  • Your profile 
  • The prompts
  • Your submission form 
  • Where to read 
  • How to comment 
  • Your friends 
  • The community 

What if I have no time

What if I'm not inspired

What if I'm scared to share

The simple answer is ‘you will never have enough time’. You need to make time. Whether you can manage this will depend on your commitment to the challenge and your circumstances. I set aside about 2 – 3 hours per month for both writing and reading.

This is probably the best lesson you will learn during the challenge. You will learn that you can write on demand. We need to wean ourselves off the dependence on inspiration. We need to stop waiting for the muse. I love this quote from William Faulkner, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”

This is the kindest writing community on the internet. That said, the submission form is set up in such a way that you can ask or mention anything specific you would or would not like to receive feedback about.  

You can mention grammar, ask about clarity and any other questions about your writing you may have. 

What the writers said about the 12 Short Stories Challenge


The 12 Short Stories and 12 Poems challenges are FREE and you can join at any time of the year.


Free monthly classes for members of the Deadlines for Writers Community. 

About Mia and Deadlines for Writers

Now, if you haven’t met me, my name is Mia. I am a creative writing coach.

I have taught, coaxed and encouraged writers for over thirteen years and most importantly, I have been a writer my whole life.

I taught writing courses in person for years and I always encourage any writer to invest in a good course, but I have always wanted to offer more. I wanted to help writers after the course. 

I realised that writers need more support over a longer period. Changing your writing takes time. You need to figure out the writing process and discover what works for you. This is a process of trial and error and writers needed a safe place to experiment.

This thought led to the development of the Deadlines for Writers site and the creation of tools like the PDF process, Mind over Manuscript and hundreds of recorded classes about everything from procrastination to time management and scheduling. This went beyond just the theory of fiction. 

I saw that writers needed support from a coach, but also from their peers. They needed feedback that would help them grow and learn. Feedback that made them think “I can do that’. Feedback that was given in the spirit of kindness.  All of these elements grew and came together to create the Deadlines from Writers community and I am so happy that you are here. Welcome home, Writer.