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Mamamia is looking for the best writers in Australia to come and meet with HarperCollins.

Over the next few weeks, the Mamamia Women’s Network will be badgering you. Badgering you to write for us.

You see, we are launching a writers’ competition. We have never done this before, and we’re doing it in conjunction with HarperCollins Publishers.

The winners across seven different categories will all get an intro to HarperCollins Publishers, as well as a cash prize and the chance to build an ongoing publishing relationship with the Mamamia Women’s Network.

You can read absolutely everything about it, including how to enter, HERE.

Every entry will include a donation to the Indigenous Literacy Fund, and no stories will be published on the Mamamia Women’s Network without permission and payment.

But first, there are some things you should know.

The Mamamia Women’s Network (that’s Mamamia, Debrief Daily, The Motherish and The Glow, FYI) is built on stories.

Once upon a time, it was built mostly on the stories of one woman, Mia Freedman, from her lounge-room floor. But as it has grown and morphed into a glorious multi-headed beast, MWN has shared the stories of thousands upon thousands of Australian women. It’s not the voice of one woman, it’s the chorus of many.

Some of those stories have been silly. Sexy. Funny. Some of them have been absolutely heartbreaking. Serious. Provocative.

Some of them have helped women when they were in a particularly grim or difficult moment in their lives.

Some of them have just given them something to laugh at, or yell at, or share with their friends.

Whatever. Stories are women’s currency, and we want to offer our platform, our megaphone, to as many women who have something to say as we possibly can.

That’s why we want to hear from you.

But first, here are some things that we have learnt over the eight years we’ve been trading stories, that might help you, if you want to join our chorus .

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It’s some food for thought, while you’re writing something to send in to us.

1. What do you have to say?

It doesn’t matter if you are writing about shoes or Syria, you need to tell the reader why it matters, and you need to tell them early. Any writer will tell you that a strong beginning is the key to keeping the eye moving, and it’s never been more pertinent than online, when you are fighting for every second of attention. Start strong. Set out your stall. Tell me why I need to hang around to peruse your wares.

2. Speak with your voice.

There is only one Rosie Waterland. There is only one Mia Freedman. As yes, cue the cheese-coated violins, there is only one you. Don’t try to write like the writers you admire. Learn from them, in terms of technique and discipline, but don’t try to write like them. It never works. Write like YOU.

Don’t try to write like the writers you admire. Learn from them.

3. But it’s not all about you.

Many editors will tell you to never start a story with ‘I’. This is a good rule. One that can be broken, sure, but a very good general rule. Unless your personal story is absolutely unique and fascinating, it is unlikely that you are the most interesting thing in your story. Your idea is the most interesting thing in your story. People want to see themselves in your writing, to relate to your story. It’s about moving from the micro of a personal anecdote to the macro of a broader theme.

4. Keep it tight.

Yes, it’s true that online we have no word limit. But that does not mean you just keep on typing until you run out of things to say. Writing to a word count is a great discipline, and it’s a rare circumstance where more is more. Every category in our Writers’ Competition has a word limit. Read it. Learn it. Stick to it.

And in the interests, of keeping it tight, that’ll do for now.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you insights about writing from editors and authors who excel in many different disciplines. It’s going to be like a mini-masterclass every week.

Start writing.

Start now.

One more time. Everything you need to know about the Mamamia Women’s Network’s Writers’ competition is here.

Go for it.

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