You have heard it before – a little competition never hurts and I do agree with that when you DON’T win. It really doesn’t HURT. You may feel disappointed, but it fades as quickly as the sound of applause fades once everyone has finished clapping.
This disappointment though, like the feeling of anxiety in your belly that you may experience before you show your writing to someone or enter your first competition, are amazing in the resilience toolkit for a writer. They will more likely than not be more familiar than the heart racing joy of success, the euphoric state experienced when you win.
I am here with you today being described as an award-winning writer. Yes. I did win awards, but I have to share my list of misses, of failures, as I didn’t even shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of the Year Awards, the Western Australian Literary Awards, The Speech Pathology Awards and the Must Underrated Book Award – and these rejections were from this week. Goodness what next week brings!
I have to say though, it was my first ‘win’ that was the most incredible as it fueled my transformation from aspiring writer to author. My success was practically right here, on this campus. It was a short story competition run by the now-defunct Toowoomba Education Centre and the book ‘Time Will Tell’ with a collection of short stories, including my short story, was printed here at USQ Printing, now known as Ellipse. It was then; with this short story competition win did I call myself a writer. I could do this. They said so by choosing to validate my work by selecting it from amongst hundreds of entries (well, that’s what I tell myself!) and it was published. I had won!
So now, here you are experiences the first taste of success. Maybe you are experiencing the inner-glee that comes from understanding first-hand, that there is indeed power in the pen!
Use it wisely, fairly and justly.
But remember to use it. Don’t let your talent fade to become a distant memory.
I am so proud of what you have achieved for you have allowed your work to be read. You were first a reader, who became a writer who now supports readers!
Keep writing. Keep entering competition. Keep sharing your voices.
I bet the next Vogel winner, the next Text prize recipient could well be in this room at this very moment.