Reflected Glory

sunsetOK, it’s time for this blog to take a little bow.

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.

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11 Responses to Reflected Glory

  1. Patsy says:

    Well done to Jo!

    Well done to you, too. A few words of encouragement can make a real difference.

  2. Fab Jo, now send out more. I’ve been close to thinking ‘that’s it’ never to put pen to paper again, then I get an idea and usually after a bleak period, I win or get shortlisted. We must find our voice, and keep on sending. Great stuff Helen, being an inspiration.

  3. KH says:

    Great news, Jo – well done! Well done to you too, Helen for supporting all your fellow writers. Thanks. KH

  4. Jo Tiddy says:

    Thank you all! Still think it was a bit of a fluke; there’s that inner critic again. I celebrated rather too much last night… off to write about my pounding head….

  5. Maggie May says:

    Well done Jo and thanks for the words of encouragement Helen. I’ll keep at it simply because I keep getting ideas that I want to write about, but I’ll try not to beat myself up about not always being so productive.

  6. Linda says:

    Well done, Jo – and Helen!
    A few words of encouragement can make a huge difference to how a writer views rejection. I was thrilled recently to get an encouraging rejection from a children’s book publisher. She said she liked my writing style but pointed out some aspects of the story that made it ‘not quite right’ for her. After a few days of mulling over her comments, I started work on a completely different (and hopefully better) story. Guess who I will send it to when it’s finished?
    But, if she had sent one of those ‘Thank you, but no thank you’ notes, I would probably have sent the original story out to other publishers – and received lots more rejections – with no idea where I was going wrong.

    • Absolutely right, Linda. I always remember – with gratitude – any snippets of praise or encouragement I’ve had over the years (and still get – occasionally!) for my writing. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps us going!

  7. Tracy Fells says:

    What lovely news. Well done Jo! Hope this is the first of many successes. And Helen you’re so right about the encouragement factor, it can make all the difference. Sadly some competitions don’t issue a shortlist or longlist and just knowing you made it to the longlist can be enough of a push to try again knowing you were almost there…

  8. Congratulations to Jo! That’s brilliant news. I found out I was longlisted in a competition last week and am ecstatic about it! Encouragement really does make all the difference. Whenever I enter a competition, the main thing I hope for is a mention in a longlist or shortlist. I never let myself believe I might actually be placed. I know that sounds really pessimistic, but I think I do it to protect myself from the inevitable disappointments writing brings… I’ll never stop writing and subbing though!

    • Alice – longlists and shortlists are all good. They tell you that you were on the right lines and almost there! So they’re definitely worth noting. The more of those you get, the more likely it is that you’ll be on the winner’s list next time!

  9. PhilippaB says:

    Excellent news, well done Jo! I’m intending to download your winning story onto my son’s iPad…Hope the post-celebration head has cleared! And a continuing well done to you Helen for providing such a kind and supportive environment.

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