Writing, just like most other skills, can be daunting when you first start out. We have all heard about the intimidating writer’s block, and we've all read ‘bad’ pieces of writing - platitudinous prose, cliched characters and boring bodies of work. But, just like all hobbies and crafts, writing can and should be done purely for enjoyment. Writing can be a way to work through feelings, experiences and sensations through for example journalling, just as much as it can be a creative outlet. Writing can soothe our inner child and help us explore new ideas, foreign worlds and interesting characters and bring them to life.
Writing can also be done from the comfort of your home with a nice cuppa nearby, making it a great way to explore creativity and mindfulness in the coming colder months.
If you are Wellington-based, Wellington High School Community Centre offers several 8-week evening classes that will help you explore the joy of creative writing, such as this one. You can also explore and develop your short story skills or learn to write mythical, magical fiction. Their classes are a safe place for beginners and aspiring writers, where you will be supported to do what writers do best - write.
Whether it's a short story, a poem or the start of a science fiction novel, your writing can take many forms and take you to many different places. These places are often personal, and it can be hard to figure out how, when and if you’d even like to have any of it out there.
Competitions are a great way to push yourself to work with a deadline and to produce something you're proud of. Chances are you won't win the first one you enter, and maybe not the second one, or even any at all, but it's the journey that's important; finding the time and motivation to write something for a competition is a reward itself.
Here you can find a comprehensive list of current competitions.
If you’d rather not work with a deadline, Takahe magazine’s submissions are rolling - submissions can be made at any time and will be considered for the next issue. Bear in mind they only consider original work and nothing that has been previously published, so this is great for aspiring, previously unpublished writers.
Some recent competitions:
2021 National Flash Fiction Day competition adult category
No theme or prompt, Maximum 300 words, first prize $1,000 Closing 30 April 2020
Sargeson prize short story competition
Entries open April 1st, There is no entry fee, First Prize: $6000, Closing June 30, 2021
Anthology Short story competition
Stories submitted must be on the theme of ‘Memories’, Max 1,500 words, First Prize €500, Closing 30 April 2021 for Early Bird Submissions, Final Deadline 31 July 2021
Page & Blackmore/ NZSA Top of the South Branch National Short Story Competition
Open to all writers living in New Zealand, 18 years and over, Short story format, Max 1,500 words, Closing 30 April 2021
First Chapter Competition
Max 5,000 words, First Prize: £500, Entry Fee: £18, Closing 31 July, 2021
Living Springs Publishers Baby Boomers Plus Short Story Competition
Open to people born 1966 or earlier, Any topic, entry fee $25, Max 4000 words, First Prize $500, Closing 15 June 2021
Writers College Competition
600-word piece on the theme: The best writing tip I’ve ever received, First prize $200, Closing May 31st 2021
Landing Press poetry submissions
Poetry about housing, maximum length of each poem 40 lines, up to 3 poems, Closes Friday 18 June 2021
Pavlova Press call for submissions
Pavlova poems, images, cartoons and stories (fiction and nonfiction) that could become part of a pavlova-themed book, Closes 5pm on 31 March 2021
The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize
Prize $1000, Closing 29th July 2021