Happy holidays…and a happy new novel, short story, poetry, flash fiction

It’s the end of an unforgettable year. The holidays can be a busy time with work, family and friends. Our 2022 winners share their tips for writing when life gets in the way.

Dip into the world

I’m a stay-at-home dad, and so my son and daughter get the majority of my time and attention. They’re only small once, so right now I mostly just care that I get to have quality time with them. But I still make a point to write at some point in the day, so I’ll intentionally wake up early in the morning before everyone’s awake, or I’ll stay up and write at night after everyone’s gone asleep. Even if I get thirty minutes in, I’m happy, especially if it’s an ongoing project. Being able to dip into the world of whatever I’m working on, even if only for a little while, is crucial.

Trent England, Short Story winner

Be patient

The greatest obstacle for me, as a writer, is the obstacle of writing itself. Finding time to write, and finding time to read, which leads to more writing. Placing time constraints on myself and being patient between each draft.

Chaun Ballard, Poetry joint winner

A room of my own

My life has become easier now that I’ve retired from my 35-year career as an attorney, launched both my children, and completed care of my (now deceased) parents. It took decades for me to find ‘a room of my own.’ That makes all the difference.

Roberta Beary, Poetry joint winner

Make time

I made time for it even when I had a full time teaching job, and a family of five children to look after. I’m not sure how. Looking back, the spinning plates are a blur, and I’m sure I dropped some of them!

Hilary Taylor, Flash Fiction winner

Come back

I had a total break from my novel during lockdown in 2019 because it was a depressing time to write. If I had finished writing it then it would have been less good. I’ve had this fear which a lot of writers might too that if you have a period where you’re not able to write or not tapping into something, maybe it was never real, maybe I can’t be a writer. I think if that’s who you are, you will come back to it, when the time is right, you will.

Zad El Bacha, Novel winner


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