ICL is sponsoring a YA short-story contest (any sub-genre: adventure, historical, Sci/Fi). Read the specifications. In brief, it's for 13-14 yr-olds, under 1,500 words, due by Halloween. So put on your thinking cap. Maybe a new story is coming to the surface, or maybe an excerpt of a novel can be reshaped into a short story. Perhaps you already have a story in the works that just needs a polish ... so what are you waiting for? Spit-shine it and send it off.
If you already subscribe to the Children's Writer newsletter you don't need to pay an entry fee. If you don't, the small entry fee is worth it because you will also get a subscription. This is one of the few contests that I feel is worth the fee (they actually give you something for it).
The prize is nice: $500 and publication in CW. You can then re-sell the story to another magazine. Years ago, my short story, Driving Lessons, won first prize in the YA contemporary category. It was such a thrill and the check that arrived in the mail even more so. I was so happy, I wrote about it here.
Contests are a great way to hone your writing skills, and some have excellent prizes. Some unusual ones are your story on a soup can, gift cards to writing supplies shops, kitchenware, etc. If you've not done this before, I encourage you to do so. Even if you do not win, you might get an honorable mention.
I wish I could enter ... but I teach for ICL so I do not have this privilege anymore.
Good luck to all who enter.