Every year, my local writing institution The Writers’ Centre do a mentorship competition called Escalator. Last time they age-locked it (boo!) but this year they’ve one again opened it to all of the writers in the East of England who aren’t in academic study. The deadline is this Friday and, initially, I wasn’t going to apply but it’s a fiver to enter and, this time, I’m eligible to do so (previously I was too old or studying).
My main focus for this week, aside from confirming my Campbell Award eligibility, is to put in my application to the Writers’ Centre. I’m going to focus on my next novel project which deals with sexuality, gender, cataclysms, social upheaval and artificial intelligence. I have more than enough to show off a couple of thousand words for an excerpt and I’m at the point where biographies and outlining my influences are pretty easy to do.
I’ve applied before and know it’s a long shot but I met quite a few recipients of the program at a Writer’s Development Day I went to in October which covered subjects like crowdfunding and applying for Arts Council grants. I now understand I’m in a much better position. Last time I’d only just published my debut novel. Now I have publications behind me, I have things achieved and I’m submitting short stories to markets with disturbing regularly. I’m not really a newbie anymore, or at least I’m more enticing to invest and could use the mentoring and exposure.
From the people I met, it seems almost like you need to prove that you’re serious by investing in your career. This is fine because it sorts the wheat from the chaff and the people playing at author and those who write because they love to tell stories. I’m not a great marketer, I’m too busy writing, but this is partly why the Escalator program appeals to me, it’s all about meeting other authors, getting noticed and networking. Plus, if you don’t apply, you’ll never know and I’m all for making use of opportunity.