The week before last was exciting and scary in equal measure. I received an email saying that two of my three entries in the Wildfire-Words Flash Fiction 150 contest had been longlisted, then I received another congratulating me on winning second place, and inviting me to a showcase on Zoom of all the longlisted and winning entries.
When I'd come down from the ceiling, the reality of having to read out my entries and get to grips with unfamiliar technology hit me. My only previous experience with Zoom was to attend a couple of adult learning classes as an observer during lockdown back in 2020/21, and then my husband had to set it up for me. I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to connect properly, so I recorded my entries and emailed them in advance–something else I had never done on my computer before.
As things turned out, I was worrying over nothing. The technological skill required in both cases was no more than a couple of clicks of the mouse. To think I'd almost backed out! My advice is not to be put off when faced with something new: the anxiety is nearly always unfounded.
If I had chickened out, I would have missed an evening listening to some really intriguing and beautiful work. I learned from how the other authors delivered their work, and gathered inspiration from their creativity. I also learned that it's unwise to have a cat in the same room when you're in a Zoom meeting, if you don't want it to distract you by waving its tail in your face and climbing all over you. Well done to the writer who managed to carry on regardless!
Since then, I've been to a meeting of Get the Word Out, the local group for writers of all kinds of work from non-fiction and memoir to poetry and novels. Everyone can take along something to read if they wish. I'm always encouraged by the constructive comments. Writers often get rejections, sometimes they get praise, but what really helps them develop as writers is feedback, advice and shared experience.
To my fellow GTWO members, the organisers of Wildfire-Words Flash Fiction 150 and to you, I'd like to say thank-you for all your support.
If you'd like to read or listen to the Wildfire-Words Flash Fiction 150 top entries, click here.