Thursday, 30 August 2007

Not a lot of words

I read about a competition the other day that involved writing a 250 word story using a photograph as your inspiration. I thought I would have a go. I wrote it in long hand this afternoon and will get it typed up and the words counted soon. That's when I have to start pruning I suppose. 250 is not a lot of words. Actually it's an excercise that I have really enjoyed. With so few words to work with you have to make every one count. You have to tell the story without any of the padding.
No rejections so far this week which is good. However there have been no acceptances either which is not good.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Who are you?

I got to thinking earlier about the people that read this.
Who are you?
What brought you here?
Have you been here before?
When I started to write this blog I wasn't sure that anyone would ever read it. But that didn't matter because I enjoyed writing here and so I continued.
Whatever your reasons for being here, thank you for calling and if you want to tell me a bit about yourself please do.
OK I'm off to check out a couple of the blogs I like to keep up to date with.

Overseas markets and websites

I wrote a short non fiction piece for an American outlet today. I polished it briefly and sent it off. that's not something that I would normally do but it was something that was written from the heart and that is what this particular outlet were looking for. We'll see.
I've also spent an hour or so looking into setting up a website. With my limited success I know that I might not neccassarily have a lot to put on there but I remember an editor once telling me that I should be ready for when my big break comes. Maybe she has a point.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Bare bones

I have put the bones of the short non fiction piece I mentioned yesterday down onto paper today. Its just the bare bones at the minute but when I decide on the right market I'll put a bit of meat in those bones and send it out into the world.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Lesson in life

A lesson I have recently learned was reinforced this week by the news of a couple of high profile sudden and tragic deaths. I'm not going to elaborate on these because this is neither the time or the place to do that. If you are reading this in Britain around the time that I write it you will probably know at least one of the things that I am referring to.
Anyway, back to the lesson I have learned.
Life is something that we hang onto by the most delicate of threads. Life as we know it can be changed without warning in a heartbeat. Life itself can be over in the blinking of an eye. We take for granted that tomorrow will always come and that it will be just as good as today.
With that in mind, if there is something that you want to do you should do it. Don't procrastinate and make excuses. Life is too short for that. Don't talk about doing it - DO IT.

w/c 26/08/2007 Next week I will...

do what I can. I had an idea for a short non fiction piece today so I will try to get that down and maybe even submitted. Other than that, I have things that I hope to do but I'm not prepared to commit myself to anything other than to do what I can.
Life sucks a bit at the minute.

w/c 19/08/2007 Last week I did...

very little if truth be told. Well I did some writing on my private blog but as far as writing stuff to sell I didn't do a lot. I did get the short story down onto paper though. I think I did more too but I can't remember what.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Lazy piece got what it deserved

I received another rejection today. It was a non fiction piece that I had submitted months and months ago and had forgotten about. Upon reading it again I'm not surprised that it was rejected as it was a lazy piece that was submitted before it was ready to go any where especially where it went as it was sent to the wrong outlet. My only excuse is that it was sent out before I got serious about this writing lark and so it is a mistake that hopefully I shouldn't make again.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

When you need to write...

you've got to write.
I had a phone call this afternoon (when I was in the supermarket of all places) that threw my day out of kilter. I couldn't think straight and I could barely function. I went back to work and sat at my desk and just looked at the computer screen. I sent an email to a friend ( I couldn't ring her because I had no idea what time it was in her time zone) then I stared at the screen somemore. Then I said out loud to myself "I've got to write." I picked up the nearest pice of paper to hand and a pen and started with the words. "I've got to write." I was going to reproduce exactly what I wrote here but decided against it because it's too personal and not at all connected to my writing. When I had finished I read what I had written and then read it again. Then I had a cup of tea and did some work. Pouring my thoughts out onto a piece of paper and allowed me to put my thoughts into some sort of order and re-focus. It was the most effective thing I did all day.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Good news forces correction

I said earlier that I had 18 pieces of work under consideration but that needs correcting now to 17. I heard mid morning that a saucy little number that I have written (using a pseudonym to protect my mother's modesty) has been accepted by Xcite books for inclusion in their erotic anthology "Ultimate Sex."
This is the second erotic story that I have had published by Xcite - I had a story in "Sex and Seduction." Maybe I've found my genre.
Just when I was feeling miserable about my lack of success this happens and brings a smile to my face and makes me believe that anything is possible.

w/c 19/08/2007 This week I will...

finish polishing the children's story and prepare to submit it to my chosen publisher.
Get the idea I had on to paper.
I came across a funny short that I'd written in one of my notebooks. I'm going to type it up and play with it a bit to find the right market.
I should mention that D Day could be this week so all of the above may go out of the window.

w/c 12/08/2007 Last week I...

Kept the keyboard ticking over to an extent. I wrote some entries on my private blog which is helping me deal with the other stuff in my life. I will let you in on the secret one of these days but not yet. It's not really about me you see.
I also cut and polished a short story that I remembered I'd written a couple of years ago.
I had an idea for a story for My Weekly.
I had two rejections last week (boo!!!) but still have 18 pieces of work out there.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Action plans and sales reports

Went back to work on Thursday and hadn't realised how tired I was. Being perfectly honest and holding my hands up I have to say that I haven't really written since Wednesday (apart from action plans and sales reports.) However I do have an idea for something which I want to submit to My Weekly so I'm going to start getting a few ideas onto paper in a minute.
I read on other blogs the success that others are having with their writing, stories that are being accepted, work thats being commissioned etc and I have to say I've been feeling a bit down by my lack of success recently. but then I remember that I still have lots of things (18) out there that I haven't heard about and if all of them are accepted, it will be my best year ever. This is something that I want to happen for me so I have to keep my chin up and keep plugging away.
Success will come knocking at my door eventually I'm sure.
Anyway, must press on - ideas waiting to go onto paper.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A spot of housework

I polished the children's story today. It's not shining as much as I need it to yet but it's getting there bit by bit. I'm going to polish it a bit more tomorrow.
I chased up a few stories yesterday but only with editors that said to give them a nudge if I hadn't heard from them in a certain amount of time. It didn't illicit a response from any of them yet but hopefully it will do soon.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Cut, cut and then cut some more.

I wrote a story for young children a couple of years ago and sent it to two publishers. Both of them wrote back and said that they liked the premise of the story but that it was too long for the age group that it was aimed at. I'd filled the story with lots of magical things ( lemonade ponds and gingerbread cottages not wizards and warlocks) which I thought made my story special. The publishers had suggested that these things didn't add anything to the story and if I'm honest I was a bit miffed by that. So I put the story away to forget about it until the day arrived that the world of literature decided that stories for the under 5's need to be twice as long as they are at the moment. A day that I don't think I'll live to see. Anyway, in a nutshell I had completely forgotten that I had ever written that story.
The other day when I was just floating around the computer doing nothing at all I came across it again and set myself the challange of knocking it down to size. I've had a lot of time to fill in the last few days and this was how I filled them.
My story which last week was 1470 words long is now 732. The fripparies have all been deleted and all that is left is the premise so maybe after a polish I'll send it out again.
Of course I've still got the original just in case the literary world does turn itself on it's head in my lifetime.

Double Whammy

Two rejections today. Yah boo hiss!!!!
What a bummer.
One was the letter that I sent to Bella just 4 days ago so I'm not too disappointed about that but the other one is a story that was/is written around Halloween/Guy Fawkes which I submitted to a magazine three months ago hoping to get in early. But now that has been rejected it might be too late to get it out to another one. The editor actaully said that it was a "nice quirky story" but just not what they were looking for at the moment. A small consolation but one at least.
I'm going to take the bull by the horns and chase up a story that has been with an Australian magazine for over three months. As I have discovered only to well in recent weeks you might not like what you haer but it's better to know what you are dealing with. If I'm dealing with another rejection I'd rather know than hang around in hope. They have said to chase up submissions after 12 weeks so I guess it will be alright. Actually I know that it will because the story of mine that they published had to be chased up three times.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

w/c 12/06/2007 Next week I will...

do whatever I can. I'm not really in a position to commit to anything definate it will all depend on what the week holds for me. I don't mean to sound glib but like I have said writing has had to take a back seat at the moment. All I can say is that I will try to keep the keyboard ticking over.

w/c 05/08/2007 last week I...

  • Didn't work everyday on NMBK - although I did do some.
  • Queried a couple of overseas markets.
  • Edited an old story.
  • Submitted 2 fillers.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

2 days on

I did send the short piece to Bella yesterday. I have also spent a lot of time writing about the situation that I find myself in. Putting it down on paper makes you think about things as they actually are, it also is like talking about it.
Anyway, back to writing. As I said on Thursday I am now more determined than ever to achieve success as a writer sooner rather than later so I will try and concentrate on getting something down on paper and submitting it. It won't be my priority but I won't forget about it all together.
Having said that I want success as a writer, I'd give up that aspiration forever it it would change anything. A bit like a kid saying they'll never ask for anything else EVER as long as they get what they want for Christmas.

Thursday, 9 August 2007


Writing hasn't been exactly top of my list of priorities today as a very close family member got some very bad news. I did however manage to submit a short piece to Readers Digest. I also worked on a short piece for Bella but I haven't sent that yet. Maybe I'll manage that tomorrow when writing still won't be top of my list of priorities. It'll be a few weeks at the very least before it gets back to the top I think.
The flip side is that I am now more determined than ever for success to happen for me sooner rather than later so I guess I should try and make writing my priority.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Fun in the Sun

I haven't done a lot of writing today, mainly because the weather has been so gorgeous so I've spent a lot of time outside. Himself and I took the four legged one for two walks in the wood that's close to where we live and then there was wine on the bench this afternoon. A pair of collared doves make their nest in the trees at the bottom of the garden and their chicks have just started to come out the nest. It's a bit worrying that they appear to be very tame and didn't even get off the floor when the dog walked into the garden. Himself shooed them up onto the washing line and they sat there for the rest of the afternoon watching us. We were sat on the bench with a glass of red wine watching them. It was very peaceful and very relaxing.
Having said all that though I did work on NMBK and a filler that I'm preparing this morning after the first walk and before the first sit on the bench.
Talking of the filler. I've never actually submitted a filler before so I just hope that I'm going to do it right.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

A Chance Comment

I've often read/heard writers say that they got an idea for an article or story by something that they saw or overheard. This has never really happened to me - not directly anyway.
Until today.
I was in the hairdressers and I was sitting waiting for the colour to work it's magic I was flicking through magazines not really reading about people I've never heard of who are famous for God knows what reason. The radio was on and the presenter said something and it was like a light bulb going on over me head and I thought "Yes, that would work."
I'll let you know if anything comes of it - or rather when something comes of it.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Helping Hands

I'm not going to name names here because I don't want to sound like I'm name dropping.
About a year ago I was looking an authors website and decided to email them saying something along the lines of how much I admired their work and how I aspired to be where they are one day. I was so surprised when this person emailed me back offering advice and support.
Since I have had more success with my writing I have had more contact with established writers and I have been amazed by their willingness to help me in my efforts to succeed with my writing.
Just today I asked a writer about targeting overseas magazines and they have given me some leads and lots of food for thought.
This blog was started on the advice of another writer.
A book I have written is being considered by an agent because an author that they represent put in a good word for me.
Another author keeps my spirits up by telling me that they did it and so can I.
I can't thank these people enough for taking the time to connect with someone they don't know personally but who is where they once were.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

w/c 05/08/2007 This week I will...

  • edit the other story that has my new character in it.
  • work daily on NMBK
  • target at least one overseas market
  • edit an old story eith a view to resubmitting

I'm going easy on myself this week as He and I are off work this week too. If I were on holiday by myself I would probably write most of the time (the dust will still be there tomorrow) but I don't like to do that when He is here even though he is very understanding.

w/2/29/07/2007 What I did last week

Last week Himself and I were both on holiday so we spent a lot of time just hanging out together and walking the dog (don't know who is more tired her or us - okay it's us.) However I did manage to..

  • work every day on NMBK
  • changed to name/setting in an old story to create a new chasracter.
  • submitted a short story to a competition.

The only other thing that I wanted to do that I didn't was find a new market for an old story so for last weeks efforts I give myself a 7/10 (I'm making an allowance for the fact that I am on holiday.)

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Broadening my horizons

I've read a couple of articles this week about the abundance of opportunities there are for English writers abroad. This therefore is clearly something that I need to look at. I have been published in Australia before but I have only targeted one magazine - maybe (no definately) I should try more. It's something that I'm going to start looking into this week.
In the global village that we live in the world is my lobster ( I would say oyster but I'd rather pull all of my toenails out than go anywhere near one.)

Friday, 3 August 2007

Words and Pictures

Just wanted to point you all in the direction of which is the blog of my dear friend and artist Jan Weiss. While you're there check out PINK TREE - this is our first collaboration but I hope not our last. When Jan asked if she could use my words on a piece of artwork I immediately said yes and I like what she's done. Hope you do too.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The Worst Part

For me, the worst part of writing is the waiting... for a reply from editors. I don't blame them because they are busy people with more than just my contribution to consider but that doesn't alter the fact that I hate it.
I remember reading once in a book produced by the Writers Bureau that if you hadn't heard from an editor in 6 weeks it was a good sign. It meant that your piece had made it past the initial read and rejection stage. Unfortunately I don't think that the same holds true today. It seems that a wait of three months or more is the norm - at least for those of us that haven't built up an individual one to one relationship with an editor yet.
It is weeks since I heard anything - good or bad - about aomething that I submitted. Espresso fiction said to give them a nudge if I hadn't heard from them in six weeks. Well it's two weeks since I gave them that nudge and I still haven't heard from them.
I look at my list of when I sent what to where and try to work out if there's a pattern to the acceptance/rejections that I've received in the past but so far I haven't come up with one. There's an Australian magazine that I submit to and in the past they have taken between 2 and 6 weeks to reject a story. I've had one with them for 10 weeks now but I'm trying not to get too excited as this could just be a new rejection record. It took them the best part of 7 months to accept the last story that they took from me so I might still have a bit to wait. They pay well so it will be worth it in the end.
I think that it's the not knowing that bugs me. Obviously I want an editor to want what I have sent them but if they are going to reject it I'd rather know so that I can look at it again and resubmit. By that same token I want an editor to give my work due consideration. My mother (should that be a capital M) would say that I want to have my cake and eat it. She wouldn't be wrong.
I understand why I have to wait but I don't have to like it.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Colin Firth's shirt (amongst other things)

Yesterday I announced to Himself that I wanted to watch the dvd of the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice. I wanted to do this because
a) I love the story
b) I'm off work for a few days so I have the time
c) I will never tire of seeing Colin Firth in a wet shirt.
I watched the first 3 episodes last night and will watch the rest this evening (still got Colin to look forward to.)
Wonder if the BBC will make a 6 part adaptation of one of my books.

Another Lesson Learned

My writing work space is wherever I happen to be sat at any given time. I think that I 've said before, and if I haven't I'll tell you now, I do almost all of my first draft writing in long hand with a pen in a note pad, book or whatever is to hand. These various bits of scribblings and musings then get shoved (filed) in my desk (big belly laugh here as my "desk" is actually a 3 drawer Ikea unit which the printer and my lap top live on top of.) Any bits and pieces that I come across in the various magazines that I read are also filed there.
Today I decided to clear my desk of anything that shouldn't be in there. Amongst the things that I threw out were three first draft copies of short stories that have already been types and in two cases submitted to magazines, two out of date competiion entry forms and the 2005 edition of The Writers and Artists Yearbook.
I think that it's time I developed a better filing system.