Wednesday, 8 February 2017


Time to Plan!

This is a rather belated post bearing in mind that it is already February but it’s all about my writing hopes for the year ahead.

I can honestly say that although last year was a busy year for me, it wasn’t productive writing-wise. My short stories consistently failed to hit the right spot and I lost my focus. On the plus side I did complete a freelance journalism correspondence course I had signed onto the previous year, through Writing Magazine.  I’ve always been interested in history and love the research but have never had the confidence before to write non-fiction for publication, but now, thanks to the course, and particularly Michelle Higgs, I have the confidence to do that.  Not only that, but I have a number of articles ready to be edited and sent out.  So, one of my hopes this year is to start to generate sales in non-fiction magazines.

The news just before Christmas that from now on Take A Break would only be accepting submissions from a list of approved authors was a blow to the UK womag market.  Although I’ve sent a number of short stories to Take A Break, I never quite got it right so naturally I wasn’t on that list.  And whilst I never might have hit the right note, it was something I had hoped for and was another market for my short stories.  I know some of my fellow writers who had had several stories published in the magazine in 2016 weren’t on the list and were disappointed by that.  I completely understand the magazine’s reasoning for doing what they have done.  They are running a business and it must take a considerable amount of time and effort to deal with the unsolicited submissions.  However, now I fear this will increase the burden on the remaining UK magazines who still accept unsolicited stories and wonder if they will, in the future, chose a similar option.

Some of my friends had significant success last year with the overseas womag market, so whilst I will continue to write and submit over here, I’m also going to do some research and see if I can start submitting aboard.

But what I really felt at the beginning of the year was that I needed to get my writing mojo back.  I dug out a first draft of a novel I have been working on for a while now and re-joined the Romantic Novelist’s New Writers’ scheme.  Now I have deadline of August to whip my novel into shape.

All in all it looks like I’ve set myself a lot of goals this year to fit in between a busy work and family life.  How am I going to do this?  Well, I have a plan which I’ll tell you about in my next post.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

How Does She Do It?

After the New Year celebrations a lot of people breathe a sigh of relief and get straight back into the normal routine.  I can never do that because hot on the heels of New Year is my youngest son's birthday.  He was 13 on Thursday.  Most years its the first day back at school on his birthday (poor thing - I'm such an inconsiderate mother having him then - although he was due on Christmas Eve so its his own fault for hanging around). But this year because they didn't finish school until the Thursday before the Christmas weekend they don't go back until tomorrow (Yeah!).

So on Thursday we had a lovely day to spend together.  We went out for lunch with a friend of his from primary school and his mum who is my friend too and then we went to the cinema to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Later his friend came back for tea and a sleepover.

What a great film it was though.  It was two hours long but it didn't feel like it and when we came out we were all surprised by the time - surely a sign of a good film.  I do like going to the cinema - I love the feeling of entering another world for an hour or so where you can really lose yourself, but never more so than this one.  I felt it didn't have quite so complex a plot as the HP stories but that didn't seem to matter because you just got caught up with the characters.  Using different characters in New York in the 1920's also made it different enough to HP to stand on its own two feet, but created a familiar world where the wizards are in conflict with the non-wizards.  It had at the same brilliant cinematography as the HP movies too which is just fantastic.  We had quite a HP fest this Christmas with all the films being shown on TV and I just love the quality of the films.

But what I admire most is J K Rowling's imagination, she is just a genius.  The thing I struggle most with in writing is description.  Dialogue flows but description is something I really have to work on.  After seeing the films again I have decided to re-read the books, concentrating on how she puts those amazing scenes in words.  I think that will prove to be a masterclass in writing.  Wouldn't mind getting my hands on the screenplay for this one too.

Certainly something to be inspired by.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Happy Belated New Year

Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been four months since my last blog post, and one of my writing resolutions this year is to be a better blogger (as is my resolution every year).

2016 was a disappointing one in terms of writing, but at least I can't complain that my life isn't full.

For 2017, though, I want to be better, carve out more time for my writing and generally be more focussed and productive.  To do this I either need to delegate more or to be more organised - or probably both.  I heard an interview the other day when an author with a full time job was asked how she fitted everything in and she said she had a big bottom and a dirty house.  I think she's got it just right - its getting your head around not caring if the chores aren't done because you're doing a far better thing by devoting time to your writing.  (Also means you have to get your family's head around it too and make sure that they pull their weight and not spend quite so much time on the X-Box!)

Anyway, in terms of being organised, one minute after the applications opened to join the Romantic Novelist's Association New Writers' Scheme, I sent off my email.  And I got in.  So now I have a deadline to deliver a manuscript by the end of August.  It seems a long way off at the moment but I'm sure, judging by the speed last year disappeared, that it will come round quickly enough.

Now I have no excuse and I'm determined to make 2017 a writing year that counts.

Hope you all have a happy and productive writing year too.