There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

It’s a good time to be a writer. Another competition looms on the horizon hosted by It’s only open from 5-19th May and they have promised to read and respond to every manuscript within three months at which point a shortlist of five works will be selected. This is not only a chance to have my work read by the publisher of Philiip Pullman among many other brilliant authors but also, should I be so fortunate, to have my work actually published. However, I don’t know what the protocol is within the writing world; is it unacceptable to enter another competition when I have entered the same manuscript elsewhere. My heart says that I only came across the Northern Writers Award via serendipity and I am sure that my fate lies there yet my head coldly says that these chances do not come up very often and in my desperate circumstances I have to grab every chance I get with both hands. Decisions, decisions.

When I entered NWA I had to also fill out a short questionnaire and one of the questions asked how long I had been writing. I immediately put since September 2014 yet when I actually seriously thought about this I have always written. During my teenage years it was poetry, followed by short stories and then novels, always started but never finished. The difference between then and now is that in the past I have always been someone who writes for a hobby and now I am a writer. The NWA has a top prize of £5000; this might seem a paltry sum to most people and I know it won’t even hit any of the top ten in my children’s wish list but for me that amount of money is a small chance of happiness; it is enough to stop claiming benefits and enough to feed me and my family for a year. With that small amount of security behind me I can commit myself to writing every single day instead of spending the whole day filling out application forms, downloading job specifications, searching every single jobs website, filling out all my searches so that the benefit nazis can check up on me, posting applications, going to interviews where I’m just invited along to make up the numbers or they are just curious to see what a person who used to work in the Ritz looks like. (Run down and harassed – just like every other mother).

After entering the NWA competition my aim was to have the book at least half finished by the time the winners were announced. I finished it in February,six months after I had started it, snatching only moments here and there, a full 83000 words. If nothing else comes of it I am proud of my achievement. When I read it back to myself I had goosebumps on my arms and the words thrilled me and astounded me as I felt that they must have been written by someone else as I just couldn’t remember any of it. I am now working on the sequel to this, plus a young adult novel that is just bursting to get out and I still have to re-enter The Bunker Diary. Imagine how much more I could do if I was allowed to do this full time. I am waiting and I am ready. 

I’m realistic; I don’t expect to make a vast fortune from writing but I would like to make enough to be comfortable, to not have to worry, to buy a new car when my old one finally disintegrates, to take my children to Harry Potter world, oh, and to buy some new teeth.

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