I received a phonecall during the week to tell me that I’d been short-listed for the Wells Literary Festival Short Story Award. I was shortlisted for the same last year, and though I didn’t win, I had a very groovy time down in Wells. Definitely worth a detour if you ever get the chance.
I’m often asked what ‘kind’ of writer I am. The truth is, I don’t see myself as a ‘novelist’ or a ‘short story writer’, ‘playwright’ or a ‘poet’. I see myself as a writer and believe that a writer should be able to (at least) try all written forms.
I write and enter short story competitions for the following reasons and it is good for me to have this list at hand – in case I ever question myself.
a) Being shortlisted encourages and motivates – when such stuff is difficult to come by in the writer’s life.
b) I can get published in literary magazines.
c) Money, if I win.
d) It keeps me on my toes and hones and polishes my craft.
e) By writing stories I build up a portfolio – ready to go in case I’m ever offered a collection.
f) It gives me an edge when applying for bursaries, residencies, funding etc..
g) It might bring the attention of publishers.
h) Short stories are something I can work on when time is limited.
i) An agent once told me that it is important to build up your writing ‘credits’.
j) Agents are human and sometimes don’t trust their own judgement, so wins and commendations give you that ‘seal of approval’/credibility.
k) Short story writing is a better displacement activity than making a cup of tea.
M) Having good writing credits help when applying for writing jobs.
p) Writing short stories reminds me that I’m a writer.