Last month I entered a writing competition, run by The Guardian newspaper, looking for new writers from different minorities. They wanted a short opinion piece and three different articles pitches. I sent off my entry and then tried to forget about it.
Recently, I’ve been sending off a lot of my writing to different publishers and magazines and, most of the time, it has been that form rejection letter; so I have been trying not to get my hopes up because that way disappointment is.
Imagine my surprise and then excitement when, just over two weeks ago, I received an email from The Guardian telling me I was one of the winners of their competition, and was invited to their new writers’ workshop. I was shocked and excited together, part of the workshop involved pitching my article ideas to the different section editors at The Guardian.
Yesterday was the workshop. I got myself ready, got my different pitches and took myself off to The Guardian’s offices, which are now at Kings Cross. Of course, I was so nervous that I left my phone at home and managed to be half an hour early...
It was an amazing experience and I learnt so much from it. All the editors gave us feedback on our pitches. I made copious notes on my pitches; but I also listened closely to other people’s pitches, not to seal their ideas but to learn exactly what The Guardian was looking for in articles, and I did learn that.
Two of my pitches received very positive feedback, along the lines that if I was to send in my pitches they would be very seriously considered. This was the best part of the day, two of my ideas had struck the right note.
At the end of it I discovered that over three hundred people had entered the competition and I had been one of twenty who’d been invited to the workshop. This gave me the simplest and yet greatest boost.
So often I wonder if I’m being realist about writing, or am I just chasing a fantasy, especially when it feels like a constant round of rejections. Then days like yesterday come along and I realise I can do this.
So, watch this space...