australia writing competition

If you wish to be a writer, write

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writers write
If you wish to be a writer write. What’s stopping you?

Becoming a writer begins with you.

Many of us dream of becoming a writer. We plan in our head for the time there’ll be have enough time to write that novel or memoir, or even just a letter to the editor. We may be time poor and never get around to actually doing any writing. We can’t just plan it – we have to do it.

So, if you’ve been dreaming but not putting those dreams into action why not begin now with Umoja Writing Competition? Challenge yourself to complete 1,000 words on the theme, peace. Once you’ve set and completed that challenge (and helped a worthy charity along the way) you can then begin to call yourself a writer. Yes, writers do plan in their head, but they also take notes every day, jotting down those ideas with words on paper or keyboard, not just in their own mind, never to be read.

It doesn’t matter how you begin as long as you do. If you wish to be a writer write. It’s as simple as that.

If you have little confidence about your writing you can start with Umoja Writing Competition. Then once you’ve assessed your skills you could join one of the many writing centres around Australia. These small groups supported us last year Stanthorpe Writers Group and Boroondara Writers Group.

For bigger centers:

Join a group in your local area to build an enduring network with like-minded people who can encourage your writing skills. You can also join our Facebook community for tips and writing quotes to keep you inspired. If you have a writers group that you would like mentioned on our page please tell your members about our competition and contact us to let us know you have and then we’ll add your link as well.

ENTER NOW UMOJA WRITING COMPETITION 2016

Shortlist Announced

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The shortlist for Umoja Orphanage Writing Competition 2015 has been announced.

Congratulations to these entries and thank you to all participants. Your entry fee goes a long way in helping Umoja Orphanage Kenya.

Cathy with baby

Our shortlist (in no particular order) with comments from our judges:

‘A Cup of Water’ by Judith Howe.

“It had a great use of descriptive language and a good use of vocabulary.”

“I liked the use of viewpoint. Engaging.”

‘The Tiny Teacher’ by Kirsten Leggettt.

“The beginning of the story engaged me as a reader. The vocabulary used created visual images and was highly descriptive. Tension was tightened as the main character entered the house. I loved the twist at the end. Very cleverly written.”

“Well-written and descriptive.”

 ‘Winter’ by Denise Krklec.

“I loved the simplicity of this story. I was connected to the moral of the story. The vocabulary again was descriptive and painted visual images in my mind.”

“Sad but poignant story with wonderful language.”

 ‘How do different cultures express their values and beliefs through children’s stories (essay)’ by Siena Hemra.

“I enjoyed reading this writers perspective on children’s literature.”

“A well-researched, well-written essay of merit.”

Hit our FOLLOW button to make sure you don’t miss the big announcement. Our winner will be announced in the coming weeks.

Umoja Writing Competition Logo 2015 copy

Eye on the Prize entered in Pitch to Rich

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EyethePrize has been entered into Pitch to Rich, a business funding scheme run by Sir Richard Branson.

Pitch link: http://ow.ly/MwCk6

If Eye the Prize wins the public vote (for the Start Up category), they have a shot at receiving crucial development funding enabling us to increase their membership and develop better promotional features (we have a link on their sight).

Creative opportunities comprise of the following:

  • Competitions
  • Funding
  • Paid Internships & Apprenticeships
  • Professional Training & Events
  • Residencies

Opportunities cover 12 main categories across the arts and creative industries:

  • Built Environment
  • Dance
  • Fashion, Arts & Crafts
  • Film Festivals
  • Fine Art
  • Industry Design
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Script Writing
  • St
  • age & Screen
  • Visual Communication
  • Writing (such as Umoja Writing Competition)

Voting closes TODAY, Wednesday, May 6th. Please share the pitch link via your social networks (you can do this on our entry page).

With your vote, they stand a chance of making it through to the next round.

https://www.eyetheprize.com/opportunity/p/885/

Why do YOU write?

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by Lauren Dionysius

Do YOU have stories that burn at your insides?  Words buried deep within your soul?  How do you get them out?  Do they even need to be told?  What is their purpose?

My answers to these questions have always been:  yes, yes, dunno, dunno, not sure….respectively.  I’ve always had words and stories that refused to let me go.  Words that grab me by the hand with the urgency of a two-year-old and plead with me to find pen and paper and just, well…write.  While I’ve always loved to write, I just didn’t know how to get them out and what to do with them once I had.  And, I didn’t even know if my stories needed to be told….maybe I just had a crazy, overactive mind?!  After all, who would want to read my words and would they even help anyone?  This was when I realised the purpose behind my words….to help other people (with the added bonus of clearing that crazy, overactive mind of mine!).  So, I started writing my stories in journals, then began to share with friends and family in a blog, and now bravely, but unashamedly, with the world.

open book of family story

I often think about all the other writers out there and wonder how we can all co-exist together.  Are there enough readers for all of our words?  Why DO people write?  Obviously I cannot answer for others, but this is why I write:

I write about my adventures, my travels and the people I’ve met so I can keep these memories alive.  I share these life experiences to inspire and motivate others to travel and experience new adventures.  I write because it’s cathartic.   My words comfort me like a warm, cozy blanket on a cold night.  They give me a creative outlet to explore my heart and my mind, and teach me more about who I am, so I can grow as a person.   As I write from my heart about past pain and hurt, I learn to heal myself and hope that by sharing them they will resonate with even just one other person out there and help them feel less alone in the world.  This is ALWAYS why I share my words and this gives me the strength to push through the gnawing “what ifs” of rejection and vulnerability and purpose that seem inevitable when you dare to put your words out there for the big, wide world to see.

So, what are your stories?  And, what is stopping you from putting pen to paper?  Remember, no-one else can write how you write and no-one else can write YOUR words into YOUR stories.  Plus, among the billions of people on this planet there will always be someone out there who needs to read what only YOUR words have to say!  This is why all of us writers can co-exist.  There are plenty of readers for all of our words.

No more excuses, okay? Ready….set….GO WRITE!

Lauren Dionysius is a 30-something Registered Nurse chasing bigger dreams.  She’s passionate about writing, bikram yoga and wholefood nutrition and is in the process of combining these into her dream career.  She lives in Bundaberg, Queensland but travels regularly overseas seeking new life experiences, from volunteering in Africa, or a writing retreat in Italy, to yoga in Bali, and studying nutritional healing in the USA.  She thrives on growth and deepening her awareness of world we live in.  She is a writer, an editor & a hungry soul searcher.
Lauren Dionysius, winner of the Inaugural Umoja Writing Competition with her trophy.
Guest Blogger Lauren Dionysius, winner of the Inaugural Umoja Writing Competition with her trophy.

 

Guest Blogger – Lauren Dionysius

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Lauren Dionysius is a 30-something Registered Nurse chasing bigger dreams.  She’s passionate about writing, bikram yoga and wholefood nutrition and is in the process of combining these into her dream career.  She lives in Bundaberg, Queensland but travels regularly overseas seeking new life experiences, from volunteering in Africa, or a writing retreat in Italy, to yoga in Bali, and studying nutritional healing in the USA.  She thrives on growth and deepening her awareness of world we live in.  She is a writer, an editor & a hungry soul searcher.

Lauren Dionysius, winner of the Inaugural Umoja Writing Competition with her trophy.
Lauren Dionysius, winner of the Inaugural Umoja Writing Competition with her trophy.

Lauren is also the winner of last year’s Umoja Writing Competition. She said, “My love for writing started as a ten year old with a bizarre, if not somewhat obsessive, collection of pens, rubber erasers and pretty paper.  Even at school, I was fascinated by how words looked on paper and enjoyed the task of giving meaning to their order.  Later, my nursing studies morphed my creative writing into dull academia, and, as a perpetual uni student who loved to write, I continued on to study a variety of topics including research, photography, clinical nursing, counseling, and most recently, international health.  But it wasn’t until I enrolled in a travel writing course that I realised that I didn’t want to write about someone else’s topics anymore, I wanted to write about what was in my heart…

“In 2011, I took a “career break” from nursing to volunteer in Africa doing wildlife conservation and research projects.  It was here that my love for travel was united with my creative spark to write my feelings into words and experiences into stories.  I recounted my adventures in a blog to share with friends and family back home.  I wrote about how Africa changed my view of the world and nudged me to re-evaluate what was important in my life.  I soon realised that my life in Australia was inside-out and upside-down.  By quitting my day job and leaving that stressful, money-driven life behind, I was free to embrace the vulnerability and uncertainty that is synonymous with Africa.  It was the bravest, scariest decision I’ve ever made, but I learned so many life lessons along the way.  I learned that living a rich life had little to do with money.  Richness came through connections with myself and other people in the form of friendships, relationships, kinships and hardships.  I realised that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t “buy myself happy”.  Perhaps most importantly though, Africa taught me to be grateful, not guilty, for the opportunities, safety and freedom that was my privileged life back in Australia, one that I’d long taken for granted.

“Since returning from Africa I have kept these lessons close and have worked to apply them to my life here in Australia.  I have returned to nursing, but in a position with healthy hours and less money (to match the effort required!), while still continuing to travel overseas.  I am surrounded by friends and family and finally understand what having a ‘work-life balance’ really means.”

She draw inspiration from other writers and a wide variety of genres.  She gets her “chic lit fix” from Sophie Kinsella and reads Jodi Picoult to absorb life-inspiring messages.  Dean Koontz keeps her awake at night jumping at every noise she hears, but his use of language is alluring. She also loves Brene Brown and Eckhart Tolle who allow her to look beyond the words into mind and soul in order to create different words and new stories”.

We thank Lauren for contributing to Umoja Writing Competition blog and wish her the best in her endevours in writing and life. She will be contributing further as a guest blogger so look out for her new posts. She’ll be firstly writing about ‘why we write’ and then giving us an experienced insight into volunteering overseas. We look forward to her next posts.