The life of a 'wannabe' writer is a depressing one, consisting mostly of disappointments and rejections. You need to be thick skinned to cope with it. You need to be thin skinned to be any good at it. You need to learn not to care when someone describes what you do as 'sitting at home twiddling your thumbs'.
Sometimes, thumb twiddling pays dividends. Last week I got a letter (yes, I know, how quaint!) telling me I was the First Prize-winner in the Microfiction category in The New Writer Annual Prose & Poetry Prizes 2012.
This makes me happy for a number of reasons. Firstly, I came first and Tania Hershman came third. And I happen to know that Tania Hershman is a very, very good writer. I know this, because I've read her book The White Road and other stories. She is a writer I have heard of. It's kind of like beating the class swot in an exam.
Secondly, the competition was judged by David Gaffney. Not to be confused with Dean Gaffney, who used to be Robbie Jackson in Eastenders, because that would be a bit weird. David Gaffney is another writer I have heard of. I have one of his books, Sawn-Off Tales, on my Kindle. A writer I have heard of picked my story as a winner. And what makes it even better is that, from reading his comments, I know that he completely 'got it'. He said my story, which is called I Blame The Parents, and will be published in July in The New Writer magazine, was 'both funny and weird'. I love it when people find my writing funny, because people who don't take the time to get to know me often think I am serious and humourless. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Then there's the prospect of seeing my work in print. And although it's not the first time, it's always exciting. The prize money is nice too, and will be paying some bills.
In other news, I have just submitted my entry to the Mslexia Short Story Competition I know I have next to no chance of winning. But I love the story I have entered, and I wanted to give it a chance. My next writing task is to find a couple of 500 word pieces of flash fiction to enter in the Flash 500 competion, which closes on March 31. I got shortlisted last time. Maybe next time I will get a bit further. Onwards....