Wet Ink Short Story Prize logo.
Wet Ink Short Story Prize logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I got my knickers in a twist last month because I didn’t enter as many competitions as I’d planned. OK, I was quite busy. As well as indexing three major text books, I was also trying to find time to edit my novel, keep up with the Shakespeare course I’m doing with the Open University, look after my daughter and husband, and research the best way to self publish Can’t Live Without. (If I ever finish it, of course…)I’m busy, and therefore I have to prioritise. My reason for entering competitions is simple: I want the exposure. I want to be able to call myself a ‘prize-winning’ author. And I find the short form a good discipline, and a neat way to try out story ideas that could possibly be developed into longer forms later.

Problem: To write a really good short story – a prize-winning short story – takes a disproportionately long time. Short stories need to be perfect in every way – perfection condensed. They need to do everything a novel does, but much faster, and more elegantly, and with more immediate emotional impact.

See – I know all about what makes a short story special. So why can’t I write one?

Time. The lack of. While I was studying the last creative writing module with the OU, I came up with some excellent work because I was focussed on this form alone. Now, my efforts are too scattered. Is it worth me prioritising my competition efforts over other activities? I’d love to hear from prize-winning writers, or competition fanatics, or just anyone with an opinion.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Now, where is my To Do list…