It could be you. Or it could be a lottery.

3 thoughts on “It could be you. Or it could be a lottery.”

  1. This is a really thought-provoking post. I know how you feel! I started with writing competitions, too. I found then really useful as deadlines to work to, and some of the feedback gave me a first idea of where I was going wrong. But it did also feel like a lottery. Judging is such a subjective thing.

    I used my modest success as my CV to start approaching magazines. I feel that was where I learnt to work as a professional writer, working for a market without losing your soul, and dealing with the editorial process. But that also can make you classed as a certain kind of writer. As in, not literary.

    Catch 22!!!

    On the other hand, it was working in the real professional working environment, which proves you can, ahem, hack it. Not that writing for magazines is necessarily hack work! I learnt so many skills, and it was where I learnt my own strengths, too. I was trying to write historical novels at the time and it was magazine stories that taught me I can actually do this contemporary thing. Woo hoo! Plus I feel that maybe a long, slow apprenticeship is – in the end – the best learning experience to a lasting career. Stars, when they shoot, burn out. Finding yourself with a publisher is scary. Having that second novel to write is even scarier. I’m not sure I’d want to do that on the big stage with floodlights. Fascinators off to those who pull it off!

    Good luck. I don’t have an answer. But I agree, £25 is a big lottery ticket. I don’t think I’d have risked that, either.

    But then my day job is applying for lottery money, so I don’t play! (superstitious, moi?)

    Juliet

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  2. Hello Juliet – thanks for a great repsonse. I’ sure you’re right on the apprenticeship thing. Remembering how I entered my first novel into a big comp when I hadn’t even got to the end (which I now know was really only the beginning) – the innocence of youth, or in my case middle age!
    There’s always so much to learn, specially as I keep switching genres.
    But glad you agree £25 a bit steep. I have actually seen short story comps charge this much too.
    AliB

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  3. I have two hats on this occasion. I’ve seen the time and cost of administrating a competition, along with checking entries against the criteria and organising the actual judging, feedback and inevitable queries. But…£25 a head is a bit ask.

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