On Taking Opportunities

It is my firm belief that success rarely happens on its own. There’s a huge amount of random chance involved in winning the lottery, but there’s always another key ingredient, too: buying a ticket.

Award-winning author Kit de Waal wrote a piece for the Bridport Prize website urging people to enter competitions. Lots of them, in various different shapes and sizes; paid and unpaid.

I found this advice as I was reading through this year’s website, preparing to put my work forward for a few of this year’s prizes (the Bridport actually being made up of a few different competitions: one for poetry, one for short stories etc).

Kit de Waal offered up five bursaries to people wanting to enter the flash fiction competition. I was eligible, I entered, and I won one of those five chances to enter the flashfic competition for free.

On top of this, I paid to enter the poetry competition and the short story comp.

Fingers crossed something comes of it. I’d love to be able to end this post with a big success story to perfectly illustrate my point, but I don’t think the pay off is the point at this stage. Success will come in time, I’m sure. If not with this competition then somewhere else.

I also think successes tend to build on themselves.

Once you’ve won an award for a short story (for example), you won’t necessarily find it easier to hook a literary agent for your novel, but it might help and, in the meantime, other doors may open.

All that’s in the future, though. The main takeaway message for right here, right now, is to try. And to keep trying.

A few other things about the Bridport Prize

  1. It was actually the first ever writing competition I entered, back when I was sixteen.
  2. It’s one of the few competitions I’m willing to pay to enter (being on a low income, I really have to pick my battles, here).
  3. This is the first year I’ve entered since that time when I was sixteen.

I think I had more bravery, way back when. In recent times, that has decreased even as my skill has improved. I’ve talked more on that here but, for now, I’m working to bring back that bravery and match it with my writing ability.

I am taking Kit’s advice and putting my work forward for more things. I’m also developing a strategy for myself.

On my desktop is a file called ‘Game Plan’ in which I have listed all of the opportunities I want to apply for alongside details of when the deadline is and when results are announced.

When success finally comes for me, I want to feel confident in the fact that I’ve earned it (No impostor syndrome for me, thank you!).

So here I am. This is me, trying.

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