I remember it was a boring day at work. I had nothing to do so was trawling the internet looking at stuff in general and stumbled across a writing competition that was being run by the Society of Women Writers.
Entries had to be in by Friday and already it was Tuesday so I decided to get started straight away. I wrote the first draft that afternoon, took it home and tidied it up that night, and mailed it off the next day.
Then I forgot about it.
Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call about a month later to tell me I'd won first prize!
It was such a buzz that I started writing more and entering more competitions and before I knew it, I had racked up some 11 literary awards - some even overseas!
Now, of course, I make a living from writing - I write financial articles and technical material along with fiction, which will always be my first love.
But just think: it all started with a simple writing competition.
So, I'm throwing out the challenge to you - are you up for it?
At the bottom of this post, will be a photo. Be inspired. Write a short story or article, no more than 2,000 words, about anything that comes to mind when you look at this photo. Let your imagination run wild.
Send your work to me by midnight 31 October 2013. The writer of the piece I like the best will receive a signed copy of my book All That & Everything.
The winner will be announced in my blog before Christmas.
Now, my promise to you is that your work will not be used in any way shape or form against your wishes. It will remain your property. I will not duplicate it or show it to anyone else and will use it only for the purposes of making a judgement in this exercise.
I would like to post the winning story/article - under YOUR name - on my blog and your submission to this exercise acknowledges this and will be accepted as your approval for me to upload your work to my blog. It will be uploaded under YOUR name as the owner and writer of the work.
Send your story or article as an attachment to the enquiries email address on my website. Make sure your contact details are on your email, but don't put your name on the attached work so that it's anonymous while I'm reading it.
There is no cost for participating; this is meant to be a fun writing exercise.
Oh, the short story I wrote that won that very first prize was called A Book by Any Other Cover and is featured in All That & Everything.
Now, the picture...