Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Blog's 1st Birthday!

A year ago today I sat down and wrote my first blog post. I decided to start a blog after I had spent the first two months of the year not really getting on with the important part of being a writer - actually writing! I couldn't really call myself a writer all the time I wasn't getting on with the essential part. So I sat down and set myself some goals.
  • Complete six small writing tasks (Less than 3000 words)
  • Complete three large writing tasks (More than 3000 words)
  • Get two of them published
This blog (and reporting my progress) helped me focus on the tasks. By December I had completed these goals and I drew up some new ones in January. So below is my list (one year review) of how I managed over the year. To try and illustrate this (rather than making everyone read the whole list) I have highlighted it in three different colours. Items in pink indicate success in the form of publication or competition wins. The blue covers writing completed and the green includes everything else. As you scroll down I think you can see a lot of work has gone into getting the pink lines!

At the end of this blog I am also including a reading list of all the writing related books I have read over the year. I have learnt a lot through study and all of these books have helped so hopefully by sharing them they can help someone else.

To help celebrate my blog's birthday I will run a little competition next week so keep an eye out for that.

Lastly, I would like to thank the 75 people who opted to follow this blog, the near 6000 people who stopped by to look at my blog and everyone I have met on the way. I look forward to welcoming everyone who wants to join me for the next year!
  • Won a caption competition
  • 5 Book Reviews
  • A real life story was published in Pick Me Up magazine
  • Entered the Summer Story Competition in She Magazine
  • Entered a short story to NNUK story competition (1000 words)
  • Entered Flash Fiction piece for Bridport Prize and entered (250 words)
  • Worked out how to get a counter on my blog - took me some days and several theories!
  • Attended Erotica Writing Workshop
  • Decided to convert short story into one-act play - now completed
  • Joined Writing Buddies
  • Entered One Liner competition to start Nicci French short story
  • Joined Writers In Southampton
  • 2 Film Reviews
  • Entered first paragraph competition with The Guardian
  • Completed two 15 minute playwrights and entered into Famous for Fifteen
  • Helped test some recipes for My Daddy Cooks cookbook
  • Brought domain name and set up website
  • Article from Shopmobility newsletter used on work website
  • Completed four entries for the Writing Buddies Anthology
  • Attended Penny Legg's book launch
  • Created a writing CV
  • Entered a six word story to the Arvon foundation competition
  • Entered some of the 21st Birthday Writers' bureau competitions
  • Set myself the challenge of writing my first novel
  • Had an article accepted by how to books on How to twitter: basics
  • Given opportunity to blog for Rubber Sole and Walkers crisps
  • Decided to put together book proposal for how to books
  • Subscribed to Writing magazine and Writers' news
  • The results of the Writing Buddies Anthology came in and I was super pleased to find I won 1st place in Drama and Flash Fiction and 2nd place in Flash Fiction and Non-Fiction filler
  • Started submitting some short stories to Writers' News/ Writing Magazine competitions
  • Applied to join the Society of Woman Writers and Journalists (SWWJ)
  • Attended an SWWJ event in London on Non-fiction with Wendy Hughes
  • Starting doing some admin and marketing for Writing Buddies and Penny Legg
  • Adapted a short story and had a rejection
  • Letter printed in Slimming World magazine
  • Revamped this blog and Writing buddies blog
  • Set up Writing buddies on twitter
  • Signed up to #NaNoWriMo
  • Attended a panel discussion on publishing at The Bournemouth Literary festival
  • Submitted 2 articles on twitter to how to books website; both have been accepted
  • Became a #NaNoWriMo Winner after completing over 50,000 words in one month!
  • Accepted as a probationary member of the Society of Woman Writers & Journalists
  • Won 'best article' in October on the How To Books website
  • Entered some more writing competitions - details of them all have been posted on this blog
  • Went on holiday to Germany and decided to have a bit of time off after NaNo
  • Decided on my writing goals for the year ahead
  • Accepted as a member of the New Writers' Scheme Romantic Novelists' Association
  • Short story accepted for 100 Stories for Queensland
  • Booked a place at the York Festival of Writing
  • Near to completing the first draft of my first novel
  • Oh and 160 blogs!
Reading List

  • Creative Writing: How to unlock your imagination, develop your writing skills, and get published by Adele Ramet
  • On Writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King
  • From Pitch to Publication: Everything you need to get your novel published by Carole Blake 
  • Writing Non-Fiction and Getting Published by Janet Macdonald
  • The Beginner's Guide to Writing a Novel: How to prepare your first book for publication by Marina Oliver
  • Writing for magazines: how to get your work published in local newspapers and magazines by Adele Ramet
  • The one-act play companion by Rex Walford and Colin Dolley
  • So you want to be a playwright? How to write a play and get it produced by Tim Fountain
  • Plotting the novel by Michael Leget
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk & White
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves: the zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynne Truss

I have several more books out of the library ready to read but these are the ones I have read and can recommend.

And if you got this far your reward is cake :-)


  1. Oh, Happy Birthday Catherine's blog! And congratulations on all the successes you've achieved over the last year Catherine! Also for all the effort you've put in. As Samuel Johnson said; 'Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance' - that's a little motto I keep pinned up by my desk!

  2. Happy Blogiversary!! And thanks for the cake, it's, sorry about the crumbs, though. They really are getting everywhere.

    Congratulations on everything you've achieved in the past year and all the best for the next one!!

  3. Happy Birthday to your blog! Well done Little One!

  4. Hi Catherine - I just met you through a Twitter ff and very impressed with both your achievements and your blog - you have done so much in one year. Happy blogiversary and many happy returns. Oh, and thanks for the cake!
    Janice x

  5. Hmmmmm, very tasty cake! Happy birthday. And congratulations for all of your achievements during these first 12 months!

  6. From a just-turned-one blogger to another - many bloggy returns!

  7. Bloggy Hapday! And a raised glass to wish you many more successes in the next 12 months. x

  8. Happy Birthday Catherine, I will have a piece of cake now you mention it.

  9. Thank you all for joining me! I have throughly enjoyed the past year and am looking forward to the next.

    Thank you to all of you have supported me over the past year and welcome to those who have just found me.

    Now I think I better go and bake another cake! We seem to be all out!

  10. Congrats on your first year of blogging. 160 Blogs! Thats a lot! May your next year be as fruitful.

  11. Rather late with birthday blog wishes but
    *~* Happy Birthday *~* anyway!