Now I’ve decided to really take on the task of writing by submitting pieces to various places, I’ve got a lot of projects to finish in the next two weeks. I have until the end of the week to complete my entry for the Costa Short Story Award, and another week after that to get both my Elle Talent Competition entry in and my submission for the Short Story Competition. It will be a real test of my writing dedication and determination to get these three entries in for this month. But, I’m giving it a try. The only one I have to write from scratch is for Elle; the others I already have stories in mind for that will just need polishing and some imaginative editing.
It’s also really interesting to read some of the submission guidelines to understand what competition judges are looking for, which in many ways is often what a general reader would also be reacting to in any given piece. The Short Story website also has the winning entries from last year and the judges comments, so you can understand the choices and analyse the stories in the same way they did in order to mark it out as a winner. Whereas Elle are working with the Faber Academy (scroll down) on weekly writing advice videos for aspiring writers: one of the exercises I have already attempted on my One Sentence Saturday posts.
I don’t know if I will be successful in any of these attempts, but the most important thing I’m taking from it is the learning that will accompany the trying, and I suppose it’s the trying that is the main thing. It’s not the winning for me (although I’d be grateful for any of the prizes on offer), it’s the simple act of finding that I have enough confidence to put myself in the running. When I was younger I always ‘said’ I wanted to be a writer and it’s only recently that I’ve actually realised the writing part of that. Now, it’s time to fulfil the other half of the intent behind that statement and put my writing out there for the world to judge. Whilst I believe writing is the fundamental aspect of being a writer, the other part is getting people to read your writing, and to do that you have to open yourself up to the possibility of rejection, to someone disliking your work or your writing being critiqued by an objective party. Competitions are a good place to start I think – while I might not get feedback with a ‘sorry, not this time’ letter, it will harden me to withstand the initial blow that comes with it and build my strength for when feedback is forthcoming, but not always positive.
So, here I go. Wish me luck.
P.S: I don’t know how astute people are, but some may have noticed a slight change in the ownership of this blog: I have moved it across to a personal email address with a different username in order to separate out my work life and my writing life. All in the anticipation of success, some might say: for the moment I’ll just stick with wanting to look professional in both my identities – worker and writer.