Pulp Idol Heats 2014

PulpIdol Heats
The judges and winners of one of the heats from this year’s Pulp Idol. (Picture: www.writingonthewall.org.uk)

Last year, I entered the PulpIdol writing competition, held each year as part of the Liverpool Writing on the Wall Literature Festival. It is something that I have circled in the diary, but it was the first time I had something substantial to submit for. I was selected for the heats, although I didn’t make it to the final, but the experience was a good one, especially the chance to meet other writers and to get feedback from the judges who are all published authors. I would say that the experience kick-started my desire to take the more creative writing side a bit more seriously and led to me signing up for my MA.

Fast forward twelve months, the Writing on the Wall Festival and in particular PulpIdol is back, and yet again I submitted a chapter of a novel for the competition. It is one that I had been working on this term during the workshops as part of my MA. It had been polished, restructured and generally bashed about to make it worth listening to (or reading).  I was successful in making it to the heats again this year.

The heat that I was selected for took place in the wonderful setting of the Liverpool Central Library. There were a number of heats taking place there over two nights, as well as an online one. From these they would select ten writers for the final, who would all have the prize of being published in the yearly Firsts anthology.

Having been given my heat, and dodged the bullet of going first (I ended up reading fifth). I sat through a number of really good and interesting first chapters. In my mind I was trying to place mine alongside the others. Once all the chapters had been read the judges sent everyone outside while they had their deliberations as to the three that would go through. Milling around outside gave us the chance to chat to our fellow contestants and a wonderfully supportive bunch they were. I was even chatting to someone who had travelled down from Newcastle to take part – there’s commitment for you. After what was only a short delay, but with the nerves kicking in, it seemed longer. They called us all in to hear who had made it through to the final.

They called out the first winner, who was sat next to me and while I was congratulating her, they read out my title, and then my name. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I was still taking it in, when they called out the third name, I nearly forgot to applaud him given that I was still processing what was going on.

So I have made it through to the final. Delighted, doesn’t quite cover how I feel after this. The final will select a winner, but knowing that I will be published in the anthology next year, is enough of a reward. Just to be in the final is a great achievement.

A Brand New Start

I have been tinkering around with this site over the summer and finally after much procrastination and a busy couple of months at work posted something.

This is a new venture after a period over at blogger.com I have decided to set-up-shop here on WordPress – so far I am enjoying the experience. I can not recommend using it highly enough, after a few false starts it’s really easy to use. I had toyed with moving the contents of my old blog over here, but I have decided that can remain in stasis as something of a timepiece of something that I used to do, a hotchpotch of rants, old match reports from a now defunct website and other sundry bits of nonsense that I have put my name to.

That particular blog was one where I hid behind the name of Crystal Days, a rather obvious name given my love of all things Echo and the Bunnymen. The name alone, certainly not the content was probably the reason for some of the hits that it received. That blog, which on occasions, I stopped, started again, deleted and then finally re-uploaded, is no more. With this new blog I have also invested in a domain name – sadly most of the ones that I wanted have already been taken. Oh, for a less popular name

This site is very much a case of practising what I preach. One of the first lectures I put together this year for my students was about how they should be branding themselves as future journalists. The decline of local journalism has been a hot topic over the last few years and this is troubling for potential journalists, as this was considered to be the first destination for graduates and new entrants into the profession. Though that is not always the case, as my career could be considered suitably journalistic without having worked on a local newspaper.

I have spent the summer trying to put my portfolio together, with the realisation that my digital footmark is not what it should be – my portfolio is very much of the blow-the-dust-off-it variety, stored in hard-backed folders that contain content that is slowly becoming sepia coloured with each passing day.

Given that I have moved into lecturing the main issue that I have these days is the fact that I no longer see myself as a practising journalist. There is also guilt on my part too; the places where I should be looking to freelance are probably places that my students would be looking to work for. This is partly the reason why I have been involving myself more and more in creative writing and attending workshops trying to get that published instead. Who knows that may be where this website develops in the future – well it will be if I did not hoard completed work in files on my computer and desk at home – another area of my life where I prone to procrastinate.

In the coming months I’m hope to rectify these issues. For now this domain/blog will still be work in progress.