Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Celebrating Milestones!

I am finding it hard to believe January is nearly over already. I know it sounds clich├ęd but it really has flown by! With the month nearly gone it almost made me panic when I looked at my list of goals and none of them are crossed off. I shouldn't worry but it is always easier said than done.

The fact is I have taken significant steps towards achieving these goals even if I haven't got to the crossing them off my list stage. Yesterday I reached the 75,000 mark on my first draft and today I decided to celebrate the fact. For the first time in ages I had lunch out by myself! It's something I love to do to give myself a bit of head space. Whether it's a make shift picnic on a park bench or lunch in a restaurant (like today) I have always loved to spend some time with myself and my thoughts.

It made me realise how important it is to have these moments of celebration either by yourself or with others. I think during the writing process you need to be able to enjoy yourself along the way and not save it for the end. The end is a very long way away (or at least it feels like that most of the time.)

Hopefully the next milestone will be the completion of my first draft next month some time and I will certainly plan to celebrate that milestone as well.

What about you? Do you celebrate milestones in some way? If you do how do you celebrate? Or what would you consider to help spur you on?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Love is in the air.....

It may have not escaped your attention that next month it will be Valentine's Day. Don't worry I haven't gone all soppy and decided to declare my undying love on my blog! My husband thinks I'm loopy enough as it is.

I thought I would mention it as I've spotted a few competitions that involve a bit of writing effort. They are not writing competitions in the traditional sense but are great for a bit of fun and to flex your poetic muscles!

The first one is from Hallmark cards and last year I was short-listed for the voting stage. It is simple to enter and you can enter more than once. Click on the link to get the low-down on what you need to do to enter. The prize is a weekend cottage holiday and the deadline is 24th January.

Debenham's blog have another Valentine's competition asking you to sum up your most romantic thought in 10 words or less! The most original will be picked and will win a gold & diamond heart pendent (worth £1000) engraved with those words. Deadline is 9th February.

Late Rooms want to know if you are loved up or loathed out? It requires some writing effort and they will pick the best three from each category and these will be put up to a public vote to choose the overall winner. The prize is a weekend break and the deadline is 27th January.

The last one I have found is not linked in on the same theme but does require some poetry effort! Centre Parks UK are running a poetry competition on facebook for a chance to win a family holiday. Deadline is 20th February.

Make sure you check the terms and conditions when entering the competitions.

These are all a bit of fun that require some writing effort and I always think they are worth entering. Judges are normally looking for something that stands out or fits in with the product or theme. Even getting short-listed can be a nice boost to your confidence and if you won - even more so!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Tweet-Up

I think 'Tweet-Up' has almost become an official term! It's like the next stage of social media when you actually meet up with people you have met on twitter.

On January 8th I went to my first ever tweet-up. It was with some of the people I have known the longest on twitter. Collectively we are all compers and  I met them early on in my twitter history. Since then, alongside entering competitions, we regular engage in chat and keep up with each others news.

At some point along our twitter journey we realised that not only is it a small world but twitter is a smaller world and a number of us are from and around the Southampton area. After some organisation from Charis we finally met up on for a post-Christmas dinner! It was lovely to meet all the people I chat to and great to find they are all exactly as I'd imagined.

Kim, Zoe, Dawn, Charis, Cathy, Gemma, Me & Cecelia :)
After my initial nerves (bit like going on a first date) I had a lovely evening and I think we all did despite the reindeer fight! 

So glad we were able to meet up and I look forward to many more tweet-ups in the future!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blog Competition Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the new year blog competition and welcome to new followers! The winners have been drawn using and the lucky winners are as follows:

1) How to Write Book

                             Winner: Deb Rickard

2) Purple Necklace

                             Winner: Maria

3) Gold and Black Necklace

                              Winner: Vanessa

Congratulations to all three winners! If the winners could either email or DM their address to me I will get your prizes out to you this week. 

If you weren't one of the lucky winners this time keep an eye out for future competitions!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme

This week has been a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions for me but I'm glad 
to report it has ended on a high with the fantastic news that I have been accepted onto the New Writers' Scheme

If you follow me on twitter you will know why it was a roller-coaster but if you don't it was all to do with waiting for news and unpleasant bus journeys! 

For now it's time to crack out the champers and celebrate before the hard work really begins! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writing Competition Round-Up

After a quiet period there seems to be lots of writing competitions about now the new year is here. These are the ones I have spotted but I'm sure there are more about!

Psychologies magazine have a writing competition in the current edition. The winner will win a Faber Academy weekend course. Worth picking up a copy for details on how to enter. This runs until 14th February.

The Independent has an unusual writing competition with Relentless software. The prize is a laptop and writing course and you have until January 31st to enter.

Another paid blog competition is running for Candis Magazine and you can find details of this on Simon Whaley's blog.

There is a Jane Austen Twitter Project going on. This is running until May 3rd. Click on the link for details of how to get involved.

There are lots of other main stream writing competitions and you can find out about these at The Writing Calender.

As I said in a previous blog post it is worth keeping an eye out for the more unusual opportunities. Glamour Magazine hold regular competitions on twitter and they often chose the most apt answer. Last week I was lucky enough to win an adventure date for two from them! So it is worth following them and keeping an eye out for their competitions which only take a few minutes to enter.

Now the problem is finding the time to enter them all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ten Month Review

Just realised that 10 months have gone by already and it is time for me to do a two month review. In fact, I should have done it yesterday but I'll let myself off! I have had one very busy month and one very lazy month in comparison but here's what I've managed to squeeze in:

Well the list isn't as long as it has been on other reviews but a considerable amount of words produced. I am continuing to work on completing the first draft of my first full novel and presently it stands at 67,000 words. The next couple of months should be exciting with 'Wordfall: The Writing Buddies Anthology' due out and much work to be done.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seeking out opportunities

There are some great resources out there to help you find writing opportunities and competitions but it is also worth keeping an eye out for these yourself.

Two of the best internet resources I use to find out about up and coming writing competitions are The Writing Calender run by Sally Quilford and on Prize Magic there is a whole section on Writing Competitions. They are both excellent for listing the details of the latest competitions.

The internet has a mass of writing websites and it all depends on what you are looking for as to what you will find useful. For playwright opportunities the BBC Writers Room is particularly good and for non-fiction the Mistakes Writers Make blog has a competition section. It is all about seeking out the updates you need and then going back to it to check on them. It is not as easy as doing one google search though. It is more to do with networking and learning what is useful for you.

Twitter is awash with information and if you follow the right people you can find out about writing opportunities. I follow several magazines and they will often tweet about hints or tips they are looking for. There are some very helpful individuals (Nick Daws and Maureen Vincent-Northam spring to mind) who will keep you up to date with the latest news. I follow Nick Daws on twitter and it was through his tweets I learnt about the How To Books competition. I entered and had my article accepted and I went on to become one of the winners back in October.

Using all these information pools helps keep me in the loop of what is happening. Whenever I come across something of interest I just add it to my favourites and take the time to look through it later on. Writing magazines are another way of keeping up with what is going on but I have to admit that I think to really keep on top of writing you have to be researching on the web as well.

I spend a portion of yesterday doing just this - spending time looking through upcoming opportunities. I came across the Wales Drama Association One-Act Playwriting Competition and I will enter the One-Act play I wrote last year into this. As this ends at the end of this month I would have missed out if I hadn't invested my time in looking at what was current.

So make sure you are seeking out opportunities rather than waiting for them to be delivered to you. With writing there is so much competition you really do need to be ahead of the game.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Blog Competition

To wish all my readers a happy 2011 and to celebrate the blog reaching 50 followers I am running a little competition. There will be three winners with three different prizes; a book on writing and one of two lovely necklaces.

Prize 1: How to Write book
Prize 2: Purple Necklace
Prize 3: Gold and Black Necklace

So here is what you need to do to enter:

1) Comment at the bottom of this post stating which prize you would like to win. You can enter as many (or as few) of the prize draws as you like. Just indicate which of the prize draws you wish to be entered into by writing 1, 2 or 3 in your comment (please see above photos for prizes) and I will enter you into all the draws you select. So you can only enter each draw once but you are able to enter all three.

2) Follow the blog to qualify for entry. If you not already a follower of the blog make sure you sign up on the right hand side!

3) UK entries only due to cost of postage (sorry bout that!)

4) The winner will be announced on the blog so keep a check for the announcement. The winners will have to contact me within a week to claim their prize otherwise the names will be re-drawn. If you have a twitter name please leave it in your comment as a way to contact you.

5) The closing date is Sunday 16th January 2011 (5pm GMT.) The winners will be selected at random and they will be announced on the blog.

Good Luck to everyone who enters and thank you for joining me here! Happy 2011 everyone!