April has been quite a challenging month for me and as I write this, it’s not quite over! You may have noticed I missed a post on Good Friday, this wasn’t because of the holiday but because my dog managed to impale himself on a stick whilst chasing some deer and we had to make a trip to the emergency vets. Not our nice vet that we usually use but the super-expensive out-of-hours one that charge you for every tiny thing. He’s having his stitches out today and I have no idea how much the bill is going to be yet so wish us luck.
What is the point of this rambling tale, you may ask? Well it just goes to show how life can come up and bite us on the butt when we’re least expecting it sometimes and the important thing is to keep smiling, focus on the positives (he’s still alive!) and find a way through it.
When I created the Enterprising Writers website (now defunct, if you’ve just joined us) I also developed systems and word count trackers and all kinds of things to help motivate people to write. I used them myself, and they really helped me to build my writing habit. However these systems don’t always work as they should. When the unexpected happens it is very important not to beat yourself up about missing a day or a week or finding a different way to do it. We all have our own ways of doing things and we are also constantly changing. We may find that what worked for us last year or even last month might not necessarily work this time around. It’s important to keep on learning, being open to new ideas, staying flexible in our approach, celebrating our achievements but also giving ourselves permission to be a bit slack, when needed rather than getting burned out or beating ourselves up if we fail to reach a goal.
I haven’t managed to write any fiction this month but I have been journalling every day and this has really helped me to notice the ebb and flow of my days, the ups and the downs and to accept that sometimes life is just like this and we need to go with it. When I interview writers for the blog I always ask them about their process and how they came to be where they are and it is never straightforward. The important things is to keep showing up – but give yourself a break if you need to. I know I will return to novelling when the time is right (and since I took up my part time job at the Parish Council in January I’m pretty sure I already have enough material for a whole series of local political thrillers! 😂).
Whatever you’ve written – or not written – this month, well done for sticking at it. Keep showing up when you can and figuring out your own path. We’ve got some great things coming up on the blog in May including an interview with a literary agent, a novelist and magazine editor so do keep dropping by every week to see what we’re up to. If you’d like a little motivation or a goal to work on for May, here are a few writing competitions to inspire you, including the super-prestigious Bridport Prize and the Bath Novel Award. If you decide to enter one, do come back and let us know how you get on – or mention us in your acceptance speech 😉
Writing Competitions to enter in May
All of these competitions are arranged by deadline:
- 1st May: The Reader’s Digest 100-Word-Story Competition – Free to Enter. Max. Word Count: 100. Top Prize: £1,000 + other prizes Enter
- 4th May: Bristol Short Story Prize – Entry Fee: £9. Max. Word Count: 4,000. Top Prize: £1,000 + publication Enter
- 15th May: Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest – Entry Fee: $24. Max Word Count: Fiction and non-fiction: 6,000, Poetry: 3-5 pages. Top Prize: $2,000 + publication Enter
- 22nd May: The Creative Future Writers’ Award for under-represented writers – Free to Enter. Max Word Count: Fiction: 2,000, Poetry: 50 lines. Top Prize: £100, publication and a professional mentor Enter
- 31st May: The Bridport Prize – Entry Fee: £9-£20. Max Word Count: Short Story: 5000, Flash Fiction: 250, Novel: 8,000, Poetry: 42 lines. Top prize: £5,000 Enter
- 31st May: The Bath Novel Award 2022 – Entry Fee: £29. Max Word Count: First 5,000 words of a novel of at least 5,000 words plus a synopsis. Top Prize: £3,000 Enter
If you need a bit of accountability or support with your writing, come and share what you’re doing with us by checking in under our blog post here every Friday. What have you achieved this week? What are your goals for May? Let us know in the comments section below.