Some years ago I was always one for entering competitions. I decided to give up after a while once I began to discover that I was paying more in entry fees than I was receiving any results. It was also around this time that I was persuaded to do something a bit different.
There was a competition to become one of six successful applicants to attend the first Write Around the Murray Festival Writer’s Workshop. It was to be run by Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying and senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Technology in Sydney. Applicants needed to provide three chapters of a completed novel. I was lucky to have a completed novel up my sleeve, but I believed it wasn’t anywhere near a high enough standard. Inundated with my University studies at the time, I gave the three chapters a quick edit and sent off my application. To my utter disbelief, I became one of those six successful applicants.
Not only did I learn a great deal from the entire experience, but I also learnt the value of having a completed work up my sleeve. If I didn’t, it would have been yet another opportunity that would have passed me by. If you want to enter writing competitions, try to finish everything you write so that you already have something to send in. This creates less hassle and stress while trying to meet that all important deadline. Even if you are unsuccessful, you will have managed to improve your craft while building up a body of work at the same time.
Do you enter writing competitions and how often? Have you had any success? Are you in the habit of finishing everything you write?
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