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India, Imagination and The Story of a Winner

How do you become a winner? Hiya Chowdhury, Senior Runner-up in The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, says being honest is the key to brilliant writing....

I was about seven years old when I discovered how to write stories, and while I don’t remember exactly what my first hastily scribbled story was about, I do remember how it made me feel. I felt quite victorious, a pencil in one hand and an exercise notebook in another, as I looked down at my creation, feeling no less pride than if I had reached the moon.

Hiya, receiving her award from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
someone in the world, sitting in a place so very far away from me, might just be reading my story
Hiya Chowdhury

But then again, we all understand that writing is not easy, which is perhaps why it leaves us so exhilarated and dizzy when we actually complete a piece. It requires us to be honest with ourselves, even when our stories are about people very different from us. Whenever I sit down to write and come up with no ideas at all, I have to submit myself to a process of reflection in order to find a part of me I can turn into a new character. And when I still come up blank- I know that I have to have little more fun, quite honestly, because the moments where we are having the most fun are the moments we can clearly translate into stories!

Creative writing competitions have always been where I have tested my methods of story writing and they have been the place where I have turned to for constructive criticism- but most of all, these competitions have given me the opportunity to write, and to feel confident in my stories and characters.

Submitting a story amongst thousands of young writers, and waiting for a response is a nerve-wracking process, but what always makes me calm is the fact that someone in the world, sitting in a place so very far away from me, might just be reading my story and might just be enjoying it! This is by far my most favourite thing about writing. As the citizens of this world, we live lives that are so diverse and varied and I feel that writing is a form of expression to bring our way of living and thinking to someone else. As young people, our expression is often not taken seriously enough, and our opinions trivialised- but the more we express clearly about how we think and feel, the more we begin to matter, and contests such as 500 Words are platforms for us to do so.

As writers, when we sit down to write anything, be it for our journals or for a contest, we have to be in control of our characters and our narrative. What we write must be honest and true to ourselves and our individual emotions. We must write without fear of judgement. That is why I believe that no matter how scared we may feel that our writing may not be good enough, it is worth sending it out to the world. It is something that is unique to each one of us, and the world not only deserves but actually wants to hear every little bit of our expression. In that moment, we all become a force to be reckoned with.

Find out more about The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition here.

Entries to 500 Words are open until 7pm on the 22nd February. Read more articles below, or explore our Learn section for more inspiration.

Submit your entry here.

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