How I won a contest

and why I apply to jobs that I might not get

Have you ever done something for fun which then turned into something serious and important? I did. I stumbled upon a writing contest and gave it a shot. I had to hand in an excerpt of three sentences of any written work of mine. Easy, I thought, because I had started writing a story in English and just copied and pasted those three sentences.

The comments started to fill my mail box. I skimmed through them, but they were not for me. I forgot about the whole thing. That weekend I was busy doing things offline. And when I came back to the internet on Monday morning, I was among the four finalists.

Now I had to give my best in adding three more sentences. I did. And I won.

SoWrite Gold Medal

But the story doesn’t end there. After that I got an invitation to join the Wormhole Electric, a writers’ collective for science fiction and fantasy. My writing doesn’t necessarily fit into that category, and I have never written fiction in English before, but now I am on board, I have a due date, and I am writing, which is the most important part of the whole exercise.

I did the same with some job applications. You know, those that want experienced journalists who have published on the big news platforms, know everything from photography to social media and what not. I am not that kind of person. But I still apply. And being chosen for an interview afterwards was a sign for me that I was on the right track. It was a big motivation, even if I didn’t get the job.

But if I don’t apply, I have already lost. My job application is something I can do to win. When I decide to apply, I have a due date until which I have to have sent the application. That puts me under the pressure to do it. I learn how to apply, so that when I really want a certain job I have done it before and know how it’s done.

If you want to win, you have to try. If you don’t try, you have already lost.

What have you the last time you tried? Tell us in the comments below.

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Doing comes from doing

How I got back to writing and overcame a lack of inspiration.

Recently I spent five days touring through Italy. I took a break from my thesis and the environment I am used to and went to see friends, eat good food, charge my inner battery in the Italian sun. I spent a lot of time in trains and on airports which was great for writing.

I didn’t carry a laptop. In fact, I traveled with very light luggage. I didn’t check my emails or connect otherwise online. I wrote with a pen in a notebook and was mainly trying to soak up every single moment like a sponge, be there, be with people, let Italy make her impression on me (actually I think it’s more like a him) and dwell in reality without even thinking of sharing the great time I was having online.

Coming back, my thesis awaits me. I now have a tight schedule to follow, I have to squeeze out a lot of words per day in thesis-speak to make me finish this master course. So I think for one day it’s okay if I don’t write. I have a lot of emails to answer, too. I do that on the second day and take it as another excuse for not writing. And before I realize it, I am totally out of the habit of jotting down my five hundred words every morning.

What should I write about anyway? Wasn’t I fine without blogging in Italy? What’s the whole point of it?

Luckily, the internet came along and presented a free three-day course on blogging. The internet knows me very well and understands that I cannot resist those kind of things, especially when I actually should be working on the thesis.

So I got back the motivation to write. But what to write about? Here is what I learned:

Writing comes from writing.

In the course the teacher made us write down anything that came to mind that we could be blogging about. And immediately I put the pen on the paper, ideas began to flow. I started this post without really knowing where it would be going, and here it is, almost finished already.

It’s the same with cooking: If I don’t know what I’ll have for lunch, I start cutting an onion. Then I remember I have some tomato sauce left somewhere. Then I find a piece of cheese in the fridge. Those make me look for the pasta in my cupboard. Cooking comes from cooking.

The same with running. I haven’t been running in a while. Since the weather was so nice yesterday, I had to go for a walk, but I hadn’t much time (the thesis was waiting). So I walked fast. And faster. And I even ran for five minutes because I felt like. Running comes from running.

Reading comes from reading. You will find something in a book, newspaper or blog post that will make you want to read about something else, and so on. Activity comes from activity. If you meet friends once, they might invite you for something else the next week. At an event, you will hear about another event. And so on.

You get the point. Doing comes from doing.

What do YOU want to get back on track with and how? Start doing it – and then let us know in the comments!