'Well punk, do you feel lucky?'

Ah, yes - the immortal line as said by Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry.

But answer the question, do you feel lucky?

Last week I heard that I'd won a short story competition. My prize is a hamper worth £100, stuffed full of lovely goodies. At the time of typing I haven't received it, so I can't tease your taste buds.

I mentioned my success to a friend, who said (after congratulating me) that she never won anything. But what had she entered, I hear you shout. The answer was zilch.

Since the spring I've focused on writing for pleasure - to balance out the writing for work stuff.

That means entering competitions, something to focus my mind.

Here's some of them...

  • Poetry comp that would fit into a Tweet

  • Short story with a 'local' theme

  • Short piece about examinations

  • Letter to a magazine

  • Letter to another magazine

  • Haiku

  • Fictional piece about travel

  • Poem about heroes

  • Short story
And how did I do? Well I won the hamper, a subscription to travel magazine, money, books, more money and other bits and pieces too. Some of the competitions are still being judged, so I may be even more successful!

I don't want to blow my own trumpet, not really, I just want to illustrate a fundamental fact - you have to be in it to win it. If you don't try, you won't succeed. If you want to be lucky, you have to give luck a nudge.

Last weekend I bought some raffle tickets. The prize was £100 to spend in a local supermarket. I didn't win. But I still felt lucky!