My writing competition success - An interview with writer, Angela Gloker
firstwriter.com – Friday August 29, 2008
Angela Gloker recently found success in a writing competition she found through firstwriter.com. We caught up with her to talk to her about the competition, and her writing.
fw: Congratulations on your recent success, Angela. Tell us a little about the competition you entered, and what you won.
AG: The competition theme was "Desire". This sparked a chord in me as when an old friend and fellow poet visits me, there is an unspoken spark. I actually dreamt about this, and the result was "Did you dream of me last night". The poem virtually wrote itself in my head, and as it was exactly how I felt, I was quite happy with it. I do find that when you are given a theme, your brain reacts to the trigger and the outcome is usually a decent poem. I did not expect to win, but knew I would be foolish not to enter. The prize was a choice of either £300 cash or £500 in books from AC Black.
fw: Tell us a little about your background, and how you first got interested in writing.
AG: I was raised in York, and have spent most of my life in Yorkshire, which I love with a passion. I used to do accounts etc. for a living, but when M.E. struck, I was unable to physically go out to work. I started scribbling (a lifetime love affair with words). Despite the fact that I can be a boisterous extrovert at times, I have always had difficulty in expressing myself verbally, yet with pen and paper, I can write my innermost feelings without embarrassment. I used to drive my parents crazy as when I ran out of paper, I would write on my bedroom walls! Then I literally fell into painting, which in turn led in to sculpture also as I wanted the see the back of the picture! I love working in the three disciplines and find that I have never been happier. The process of creating fills me with great joy and I get real pleasure when people enjoy my work.
fw: So writing's something you've always done?
AG: I used to scribble daft ditties when younger, but only started taking myself seriously in 1998 after contracting M.E. and wanting to keep my brain active. I find writing cathartic and leaves me feeling balanced and serene. In fact, quite often my poetry then draws pictures in my head and a painting ensues.
As children and I recognise kindred spirits in each other, I occasionally write poetry/short stories for their amusement, and have even been known to perform some of them in my extrovert moments.
fw: Have you also enjoyed success with your painting?
AG: In 2001, I had a large solo art exhibition in Stockton, Cleveland, which was well received and generated a lot of publicity in the newspapers and on Tyne Tees television. Then, whilst living in Portugal, I had another exhibition which was again well received and supported.
fw: What made you start entering competitions?
AG: I wanted to find out for myself if in fact my writing was of a good enough standard for anyone to actually want to publish it. I also enjoy attempting to rise to the challenge!
fw: Did you find it difficult to get good information on potential markets?
AG: At first, yes. Then, upon finding the firstwriter.com website, and buying the three yearbooks: Writers & Artists Yearbook, Poetry Writers Handbook and Children's Writing & Artists Yearbook, I realised that there truly was a large demand.
fw: How did firstwriter.com help you find suitable competitions?
AG: To be honest, this website is brilliant. It saves me vast amounts of time and notifies me of the type of competitions that are of interest. All the information you need is at your fingertips.
fw: Once you'd received email notifications of competitions, or searched for them in our database, how did you choose which ones to enter?
AG: This may sound strange, but the ones that attract me virtually jump off the page and almost demand that I take notice and write accordingly. I enter a variety depending on which attract me.
fw: To what extent do you think writing for competitions differs from writing for other markets?
AG: There is more freedom to express yourself.
fw: Do you always stick with the same kind of contests, or do you enter a variety?
AG: I enter a variety depending on which attract me.
fw: How long have you been entering competitions for?
AG: I started last year, dipping my toe into the water. Then this year, I found that it was quite therapeutic to enter, and a perfect foil to my painting and sculpting.
fw: What do you think has been the key to your success? What would be your biggest tip for other writers?
AG: My success is purely due to the revelation that if I wrote exactly what I felt and knew, then the words would flow effortlessly. Be true to yourself and allow your brain to express itself without constraint. Do not be afraid to share your writings with like-minded people. As I have discovered, you cannot win if you do not enter! I also always carry scraps of paper and a pen, even when wearing my bikini as I find that inspiration strikes you when it is least expected.
fw: What next? More competitions, or do you have other plans for your writing?
AG: Certainly more competitions, but one day I would like to publish a small anthology when I believe I have sufficient works that are up to a high enough standard. On this point, as my fellow writers would agree, I can be my own worst critic and often do not realise when a piece is worth sharing. I am also working towards a new art exhibition sometime in the future, but no matter where my visual art takes me, words are like magnets for me and I find myself unable to resist them. I now understand fully that the pen is mightier than the sword!
fw: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Angela, and all the best for your writing, painting, and sculpting in the future!