26 March 2019
Posted by Hazel Orriss
I love the quick roundup of news shared when we all come together for another SO:Write Women workshop. Whether we write for fun, have work out with agents and publishers, are writing like there’s no tomorrow or tearing our hair out with creative ennui, we all want to nurture and support each other. We welcomed Razwanna to the group and we knew she’d fit in as soon as she shared her position on rejection letters, “It’s not rejection, it’s redirection.” Thank you for that, Razwanna, I saw more than one of us writing that down in our notebooks! Several group members are waiting for feedback on works in progress or for positive news on completed works that have been sent out to prospective publishers and agents. Waiting for feedback is a uniquely hellish experience, as Ester noted, “the encouraging feedback is the most painful.” We like your work, we think it’s great, just not right for us…
Let’s unclench our jaws, loosen those shoulders and take a breath for a moment. It strikes me that rejection, sorry, redirection needs to be managed to stop it chewing you up and spitting you out. How many of these knock backs have other writers experienced? You know, the writers that live in huge Scottish castles, have Spielberg on speed dial and spend a large portion of the year in Provence… Well, Stephen King papered a wall with rejection letters, JK Rowling was rejected 12 times, Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times, The Time Traveler’s Wife was rejected 25 times… Clearly, the answer is perseverance. Keep on keeping on.
What about the times when creativity is ghosting you and you need something to give you a little shove in the direction of Submittable? Competitions are a great way for all writers to get their work noticed, but they are also a marvellous incentive when inspiration or drive can be lacking. There is a small but definite thrill in hitting ‘send’ and, afterwards, managing our impatience as we wait for a response. There is no doubt that receiving a rejection can be demoralizing, but the way to deal with this is surely to enter as many competitions as you can, keep submitting to publications and, in short, make sure that you always have something out there. There is always hope…
So, here is a list of upcoming competitions for your consideration. We should all enter, let’s increase the chances of a SO:Write Women winner!
Bath Short Story Award Short stories up to 2200 words. 15th April 2019
The Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award No more than 250 words. 30 April 2019
Reflex Flash Fiction Competition Stories between 180 and 360 words. 31st May 2019 (Competition runs quarterly)
Yeovil Literary Prize Novels, short stories and poetry. 31st May 2019
Bridport Prize Poetry, short stories, flash fiction and novels. 31st May 2019
Bath Flash Fiction Award No more than 300 words. 9th June 2019
Hastings Literary Festival Poetry, flash fiction, short stories. 30th June 2019
Pennine Ink Flash Fiction No more than 500 words, theme to be announced. 7th July 2019
The HG Wells Short Story Competition 1500 to 5000 words on the theme of ‘Time’. 8th July 2019
Writers and Artists Working Class Writers A piece of prose no more than 200 words. 15th July 2019
As with everything you submit, read the rules, check the formatting requirements for submitting work and make sure you leave yourself adequate time before the deadline (rebooting the WiFi router at 11.48pm is no fun when you have an 11.59pm deadline to meet).
In other news
Tickets for the Winchester Writer’s Festival (14-16 June) are now on sale. Information about the programme and how to book can be found here.
The So:Write Women meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Art House Cafe in Southampton, from 11.00am-1.00pm, and on the third Saturday at the Central Library, from 10.15am-12.15pm. Why not come along?