Cairns and the Great Australian Job hunt

So, it’s been a little while and not much really happened, if I’m honest. When I first arrived in Australia, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the second year of my working holiday visa. I’m still not, honestly, but what I am sure of is I need money, badly.

Just one nice spot as I walked my way through Cairns

Just one nice spot as I walked my way through Cairns

So, when I planned this trip up the east coast, it was after being told that there would be a lot of farm work up this end of the country that would pay and give me the days needed to fulfil the criteria for my second year. Oh, there are farms but not to the extent that I could just walk into a job, which is what I was given the impression of.

Cue two weeks of job hunting – and I mean any kind of job, as I’m that skint – to get me something. This wasn’t a fun two weeks. There are a lot of things to do in the area but with no money, I couldn’t even afford a beer on occasion. This meant a lot of walking around the city with CVs in hand, sitting at the lagoon and a lot of aimless wandering.

It was really frustrating, and while I knew something would come up eventually, it didn’t make me feel better at the time. Thankfully I had some good friends, both in and out of Australia, who helped me stay positive. You guys are legends, and I really appreciate you letting me rant and moan and complain.

I had to borrow of the parents and activate my overdraft from the UK bank, so there was money available to me but if I could go back and tell myself to be a little bit more careful, I would. Some of the money issues were out of my control but even so. The trip has been amazing and I’ve loved it all (aside from this low moment, the worst I’ve felt since those first few hours in Hong Kong where I was suffering from a lack of sleep) but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

My view on the Mango farm near Dimbulah

My view on the Mango farm near Dimbulah

I signed up with a job agency in Cairns and it finally paid off, so I headed to a farm near Dimbulah, pruning mango and avocado trees. The place was nice, a group of eleven stay onsite in pretty nice twin rooms (my roommate graciously let me have the bottom bunk!) with a huge kitchen that ACTUALLY HAS OVENS AND GRILLS! I didn’t have to fry everything for the moment. Its luxury compared to the last three and a half months.

Wow. It’s been that long already. That’s crazy – it feels like only a few weeks since I got here and I’ve seen some major spots of the country…read; cities and popular/obvious spots. There’s so much to see and do, and it’s so massive, that I’m wondering if I’ll see as much as I want to!

I digress, that’s a topic for another time. Here’s the important thing you need to know.

However, it didn’t work out. I won’t go into details because it’s long and boring but basically I’m not cut out for that kind of work. My hand is still incredibly messed up and painful, so I came back to Cairns and fly to Melbourne on Saturday. There’s more chance of getting a job there, I reckon, and I need to work for a while, get into a routine of some sort and start writing properly again.

Side note; I started my next project and that has helped take some weight off me. Bonus.

It’s going to be cold in Melbourne but I’m looking forward to going back. While I’ve liked a lot of places and seeing all these things, Melbourne already feels a little like home so it’ll be great to be back.

The job hunt continues.

February 2015’s Competition Update

Hey guys, I’ve come across some new competitions that I think you should take a look at. Remember, if you don’t go for these opportunities then you have no chance to win. Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary sometimes and there’s more chance of failure than success but its character building and you never know if what you have is just what they’re looking for.

Find a friend or trusted writer, show them your work and get some advice before sending anything off. Remember, they’re more likely to find mistakes and issues than you at times. If you’re embarrassed, this is a good way to get around it because you have a goal. If I can win some of these things (even though it was a long time ago!) then so can you.

Let me know if you enter any and good luck!

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2015 Short Story Competition

First off, apologies for the delay on this one – I know there isn’t much time left but you’ve still got just under two weeks to get something in and it’s definitely worth a shot. The prize is fantastic as I’ve heard only great things about Arvon writing courses and, for me, the money is actually secondary for this one.

The theme is ‘joy’ and there’s not much else you have to stick to, giving you the freedom to do whatever you like. As long as ‘joy’ is a key theme then you’ve got something that can be submitted. Remember, your submission can be NO LONGER than 2,000 words and the judges are usually very strict on this – even if you’re one word over then you will most likely be disqualified.

Find out more details on the Writers and Artists website.

Deadline: Midnight on the 15th February 2015.

Prize: £500 and a place on an Arvon writing course and publication on

Write for BBC Radio

Okay, this one isn’t really a competition but it’s an amazing opportunity from the BBC! Again, apologies for the short deadline but I don’t think anyone can miss this opportunity if you’re serious about making a career as a writer.

BBC Radio 4 are looking for stories between 1,900 and 2,000 words to be recorded and read on radio. There are a few guidelines to follow on this one so head to the link below to find out more. The BBC, as you can imagine, are ridiculously strict so follow their guidelines to the letter. In fact, consider them rules and not guidelines.

Find out more details on the BBC website.

Deadline: Friday the 13th February 2015.

Prize: Three successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to see them being recorded.

The Bridport Prize

The Bridport Prize is one of the bigger writing competitions I’ve found in the UK that runs every year. There are categories for short stories, poems and flash fictions as well as many more. This is one you should have marked on your calendar every year – and I’ve given you plenty of notice so no excuses.

Again, check the website to find out more about the rules and submission guidelines but it’s worth getting your ideas ready early – there’s going to be heavy competition for this one!

Find out more about the Bridport Prize.

Deadline: Sunday the 31st May 2015.

Prize: Various

Got any more?

If you guys know of any more competitions over the next few months, get in touch and I’ll add them here – or make a new post. Help me to help you and other people by keeping an eye out for me.

Once again, good luck to you all.