Jo Tiddy is the joint winner of the Hush short story competition.
I recognised Jo’s name because her story ‘Besieged’ was shortlisted in the ‘New Writer’ section of the mini saga competition I ran back in August.
I told her at the time that she had come very close to winning – and, it turns out, those little words of encouragement provided a much-needed boost… “if it wasn’t for your random words competition and the lovely comment you made I would never have had the guts to send anything in,” Jo said.
So, that’s the blog’s little bit of trumpet-blowing.
Well done to Jo. She won the competition through her own hard work and talent.
But it raises an important point. Every little bit of encouragement you get – and every little step in the right direction (a longlist, a shortlist, advice or compliments from an editor, even if they’re turning your story down), should be savoured, remembered and acted upon.
I’ve had a message from Peter – and Maggie left a comment on here today – both saying that they find it tough, motivating themselves, getting rejected or not winning competitions and having no idea if their work was ‘nearly there’.
I sympathise. Sometimes, I know, it can feel like you’re sending your work off into a big black hole. One thing you can do, is to target those competitions that, for an extra few pounds, will give you some feedback (Writers Forum’s monthly short story competitions, for example – but there are others out there too).
Jo didn’t win my little writing competition earlier this year but she didn’t sulk or vow never to enter another competition. Instead, she took my words of encouragement and used them to give her the confidence to enter another, bigger, much more prestigious competition than mine – and she won!
Well done to Jo, I’m delighted for her.