A few weeks ago Shannon from KSP Writer’s Centre asked me to read my story at their ‘Spooky stories’ anthology launch. I knew I was being published, but I said to my boyfriend Ronan, ”I won’t win, my entry wasn’t that good.”
When I was on the zoom call I realised that only the top two finalists in each category were reading their stories. This surprised me, but I was still firmly convinced I wouldn’t win. When they announced second place and I realised I was the winner, Ronan said I looked like I was about to cry, vomit and laugh all at once. I was so shocked I felt nauseous, which I’m hoping didn’t come across when I read my story to the 70 people on the zoom call.
When I started writing fiction, I promised myself I wouldn’t be the cliche of the insecure writer who never thinks they’re good enough. And I try to keep that promise. But now I understand why that cliche exists! Putting work into something and then sending it off to be judged is always hard. And writing is a personal and revealing process. Even when you’re not writing about yourself, you have to put real emotions in to the work to make readers feel anything. Putting in a part of yourself and then sending a piece of writing off into the world is a scary process.
So I won’t downplay this achievement, as much as it feels safer to do so. I’m grateful and humbled to win. There were 200 entrants across two categories, and the competition has become so popular this year they had to restrict it to only WA entries. I’m looking forward to reading all the shortlisted entries when I get my hard copy of the anthology, which is available to buy from the KSP Writer’s Centre. Many thanks to judges, sponsors and the KSP writer’s centre, and also to Laurie Steed who helped edit the first drafts of this story through an online feedback clinic.