January Blog: Waving At The Air

The end of January brings a sigh of relief with it and, while it’s not hugely different to 2016, the awful post-Christmas gloom seems to be on its way out. I’ve been busy working on my second novel, Attrition, which is admittedly taking longer than expected to get the first draft completed. Thankfully, this is because the story has really grown legs and is running away with itself. I know it’ll be a nightmare to redraft but I just want to get it all out onto the page for now and I’ll worry about redrafting and editing when the time comes. This means that lots of my other writerly duties have been put on hiatus but they’ll still be waiting for me when I’ve this draft done.

It’s certainly a time of year when there are lots of competitions announced across all writing forms- this is great but it does mean being somewhat selective and having a strict schedule. Above all it’s vital to be true to your writing form and style when entering competitions- yes, there may be certain criteria to adhere to but it should never become a box ticking exercise or “writing by numbers”. Not every competition will suit every writer, and that’s a good thing.

The Poetry Ireland / Trócaire Competition for 2017 was announced on 20th January. I can’t recommend this competition enough for new and established poets of all ages. In the run up to the launch I was invited to read my poem from last year, Moments Of Snow, on RTE Radio’s daily arts and popular culture programme, Arena. I was joined by fellow winner Mairéad Donnellan who read her beautiful piece Unto Me Is The Journeying. Both poems can be listened to below. I also learnt the true meaning of neurosis; worrying about what your going to wear when you’re on the radio.

Moments of Snow

Unto Me Is The Journeying by Mairéad Donnellan


The theme for the Poetry Ireland / Trócaire Competition 2017 is “Before The Storm”, which aims to explore how people prepare for extreme weather caused by climate change and global warming. The competition uses “the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues” while also offering poets a great opportunity and excellent prizes to boot. It is judged anonymously, open to all age groups, and entry is free. Closing date is March 17th 2017 and full details can be found here.

I like to have a little something to look forward to in late winter so I paid a visit to Hamburg last week. Even though I wasn’t there for any specific literary related event or research I think it’s true to say that all experiences are fodder when it comes to writing and Hamburg was no exception. It’s impossible not to have new ideas when experiencing new things in new places and I came home with one particular idea for a short story that should fit in nicely to one of the competitions I plan on entering. My plan for the coming month and Spring is to get the first draft of Attrition completed, enter what competitions I can, and etch out some time to return to other writing ventures. I might need to book a little Spring break too.

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