South Africans often believe that they are excluded from international writing competitions, which tends to leave them feeling demotivated and uninspired. Perhaps it’s a lack of research skills, or perhaps it’s easier to believe that than to take the plunge. Fear of success is almost as prevalent as fear of failure.
If you believe your writing is worthy of being read and celebrated, you should go out and do what you can with what you have. Every day, authors slave away in front of their keyboards (or even the arbitrary pencil and paper!) weaving together words to create literary works that may never be read. But fear of failure does not stop them from chasing that dream. And, judging by the countless published books, successful television and stage productions, magazines, newspapers and every other form of media, thousands (if not millions!) of authors succeed. It all starts with committing thoughts to words.
Ultimately, it's a question of Why do you write?
- Are you writing to earn royalties?
- Are you writing to win accolades?
- Or are you a purist who writes to inspire change in your readers?
Your reason will dictate whether you have the internal motivation to sit down and get it done.
If you don't write, you're not going to be published. It's as simple as that. It's up to you to fight writer's block with some inspiration. Drop the excuses and look for opportunities to make your dream a reality.
Turns out the May / June 2017 period offers ample opportunities for you to find some external motivation in the form of writing contests and calls for submission.
Black Letter Media’s Short Story Competition
Deadline: 31 May 2017
One of South African people's favourite topics, Black Letter Media is calling for English language short story submissions from around the globe on the theme: “The people shall…”
You may follow your own interpretation, as long as your story takes readers' imaginations on an unpredictable journey. Prizes include R5000 for the winning story, R1500 for the second runner up, and R500 for the third runner-up, and the short-listed stories will be published in Volume 3 of the annual short story anthology, The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story!
SA Shorts II #2minutenoodles
Deadline: 11 June 2017
UJ Arts & Culture, in collaboration of the National Arts Festival and Wordfest are calling for submissions of new scripts from playwrights and theatre-makers.
Submit your 2-minute maximum play script and if it is short-listed, it will be presented for a live reading at Wordfest. Industry experts will assess the scripts, and if your script is selected as one of the 24 new scripts, it will be published and produced, and hopefully form part of the planned premiere at the 2018 National Arts Festival.
Drue Heinz Literature Prize
Deadline: 30 June 2017
Win $15,000 (One Ga-Jillion Rand…) and a standard publication contract from the University of Pittsburgh Press in the 2018 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for your short fiction collection.
7th Regional Residency for African Women Writers
Deadline: 15 July 2017
Calling all African women who are working on English language memoirs or fiction manuscripts to enter the 7th Regional Residency for African Women Writers Residency contest in Kampala. Entrants must live in an African country and must have published no more than one book.
The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award
Deadline: 31 July 2017
Calling on all poets aged 11-17 who wish to follow in the footsteps of Caroline Bird, Helen Mort and Sarah Howe, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award welcomes poems on any theme.
Exciting prizes for this contest include residential Arvon writing courses, mentoring, Poetry Society memberships, and books. In addition, the Poetry Society is committed to supporting winners' development with a variety of publication, performance and internship opportunities.
There you have it! Now there's no reason to hold back, because these exciting contests offer something for everyone.
What is holding you back from achieving your writing goals?