One Way to Get Your Writing out Fast.

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?

Free image courtesy of

Write Around the Murray Festival.

In August, I ventured into unfamiliar territory, when I drove down to Albury for the Write Around the Murray Festival.

Earlier in the year, I was encouraged to submit some of my work for entry into a two day masterclass – the first to be held during the Write Around the Murray Festival.  This masterclass was to be taught by Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying and senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney.  To my surprise, I became one of six successful applicants.

At the festival, I was fortunate enough to meet many authors, including PD Martin, Shane Maloney, Dianne Wolfer, Michael McGirr and Dorothy Simmons.

The two day masterclass with Debra was intense, yet each participant made good use of her fifteen years experience as an editor.  Before the first day was over, I had a better understanding of where exactly I’m going wrong with my writing.  We managed to read and critique the work of others, experiment with first and third person, as well as discuss helpful books to read.  In the end we ended up doing a few weeks work within one weekend.

By the end of it all, I was mentally drained.  Despite the onset of flu, it was an enjoyable weekend.  I met some great people, made some contacts and have a better understanding of where I’m going as a writer.

My advice to you is don’t hesitate in applying for such opportunities whenever they arise.  You could be missing out on the chance of a lifetime.

Early morning in Albury small

* This photo was taken during one of my early morning treks, just across the road from our accommodation.  An idealic setting for writers!

Image by Debbie Johansson.