So what of the competitions? What can you expect from success, winning, being placed or commended? Winning a big competition such as the Bridport, Yeovil, Fish or Mslexia et al, will definitely impact on your writing career and may even hook you an agent and then a publisher. I don’t think I realised the importance of competitions for the writer until a few years ago. Being commended can be a little frustrating, but you can generally put that short story or novel into another competition. Competitions with an anthology are the best, because getting yourself into print is really gratifying. Entering on a regular basis can be quite expensive, so you need to set aside an ample budget for entries and rather like workshops and courses view competitions as part of your professional development. Being selected from a tough, competitive entry is gratifying and validating when so much of the achingly slow business of bringing writing to public attention is frustrating; competition success gives the writer the encouragement and incentive to keep going. Friends, who may know little about the writing world, suddenly prick up their ears and give you a bit of recognition too, which is cheering.
Below is a link to the guest blog (Bridport) by Ian Nettleton – a local Norwich author who was runner up in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award 2014, for his novel The Last Migration. The blog is well worth reading and an extract from the novel is available to read on the Bridport website.
Ian Nettleton lives in Norwich. He has worked as a carer, a book seller, a teacher of English in Prague, in a post room and, after completing a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the UEA, he now teaches creative writing at the Open University, the UEA, Wensum Lodge and Cinema City, Norwich. He has worked freelance for BBC TV as a writer/presenter (summarising classic novels in sixty seconds) and appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book. The Last Migration was runner-up in the Bath Novel Award 2014. He is currently half way through a first draft of a novel about a boy whose father is an exorcist. Photo: Martin Figura