Just before dawn I am wrestling with the idea of opening my eyes as I listen to the hum of early morning traffic in the street outside my bedroom window. Beside my bed is a small notebook packed with night-time scribbles – you know, those amazingly creative WOL answers that come to you at 2am but are totally indecipherable at 7 o’clock when you turn the light on.
Pre-breakfast rituals include checking emails just in case a winning email arrived into my inbox during the night (well, you never know!). By 8 o’clock it’s time for a quick scan of any new comps on the website, looking out especially for those that might require a little effort during the day, just to be prepared. I leave Facebook until after a hearty breakfast which is vital to give me the strength to an arduous day ahead. (This week is a better week than last week when most of it was dominated by computer and internet problems. Oh, how drastic that becomes when you are trying to keep ahead of the pack in the best competitions).
The rest of the morning involves some serious comping. First, I enter all the random draws, eliminating anything that looks a bit suspicious or want too much personal detail or don’t have prizes I want to win. Many of these are probably only destined to produce a lot of emails I am not interested in either. I also carefully eliminate any comps that are likely to attract huge numbers of entries as I can’t be bothered competing with thousands just to win a couple of movie tickets or a box of chocolates. I need ones where I have a reasonable chance of winning something. So I look for multiple draw comps; ones with more than one prize (the more the merrier as they say) and those that require a considered thoughtful answer. The WOL ones I jot down in my notepad and set aside to ponder at my leisure or while doing my housework (yuk).
If it is Thursday I stroll around to my local newsagent and stock up on copies of That’s Life, Take 5 and any other puzzle books offering prizes and cash, and any stationery or stamps I need for my mail-in comps.
Afternoons are my thinking and creating time and are spent horizontal on the lounge all the while keeping an ear peeled for the postman or that thrilling buzz at the door when a courier arrives with a parcel for me. On a good day a prize in the mail and perhaps a freebie or two keeps me motivated and makes all the effort worthwhile.
By late afternoon I have usually composed most of my WOL answers and checked out any photo competitions to see if I already have anything that is suitable or could take one before the comp closes. Any really tricky WOL answers will have to wait for another day! I then do a careful email check to see if there are any other comps worth entering that have come from websites I am registered with. While I am back online I ‘like’ and ‘share’ any interesting comps and update my Winning Ways page. If I can be bothered I might also do a bit of an internet search for any obscure comps, anything a bit different, out of the ordinary or some that not a lot of others will know about: entering those will often increase my chances of winning and if the prize is good, I don’t ‘share’ them. I keep them all to myself. A bit greedy I know but then….
At the end of the day, (and it actually hasn’t been a day all about comping, although it often feels like it) I have also somehow managed to also achieve the impossible – done a little work; a lot of housework; caught up with my mum, my kids and the grandkids; prepared the dinner and brushed the cat. Night time is for relaxing with the puzzles that hopefully will win me a few more prizes. Then it’s off to bed to dream about winning the car I really need (or a new iPad).