Competitive Spirit

In another life I once worked with a guy who was competitive, very very competitive. His whole life was a great, winner-takes-all competition. He competed against his boss, his colleagues, his wife and even his children. He turned everything into “I betcha…” He was a tiresome creature to be with especially on those occasions when, on winning whatever infantile comp he dreamed up, he would wiggle his backside in your face chanting “I won, I won”. Of course he always won because no-one ever had the energy, will or interest in standing against him. I think he was probably weaned too young.

I still bear the scars that resulted from working with this guy and it really turned me off any sort of competition. Besides I don’t think I’ve ever won anything much. I vaguely remember winning a Basildon Bond letter-writing set when I was about 7. I think it was for neat hand-writing. Oh yes, I won a third prize yellow rosette in a best turned out pony class. Let me rephrase that…my pony won a third prize yellow rosette etc. After that my luck changed; zilch, rien, nada, nothing and nowt (as they say in my part of the world). I decided I was behind the barn door when the “Competition Success” parcels were given out. I was pretty sure that even if I were the only entrant the prize would go to the judge’s cat. I gave up competitions and retreated to the hills.

That attitude endured until recently when I was a trifle discombobulated by the idea that entering writing competitions is a good way to hone your writing muscles, whip yourself into disciplined writing mode and give yourself another possible outlet for your short stories. The author of these wise words,Iain Pattison in his book Cracking the Short Story Market, makes a persuasive argument for writers of short stories to enter writing competitions. He does say that some skill may be required oh, and the ability to tell a great story. But what the heck. Now that I’ve come down from the hills, I think I might have a go.

Anyone got a bottle of luck for sale?


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