Sunday, 26 February 2012

Time to grow some new ideas

This is a really special post for me as today is my 100th blog posting for Working 2 Write. I am also celebrating the final week of my 'Fabulous February' theme.

I had another wonderful week, even during my working hours as on Wednesday I had to go to a meeting in Birmingham. I went by car and then train and certainly got the most out of my journey by using it as a research opportunity. I love to listen to people and observe things. I saw so much when pulling in at all the different stations with everyone going about their own lives. It's so interesting and useful as I may need a station scene one day in one of my stories, so now I have some real experiences and feelings in that environment.

I also had my membership through for the Society of Civil & Public Service Writers, it's great to be part of something like this and I hope to submit work in the future to the quarterly magazine they produce.

The last few days I dug out a short story that was rejected by one publication and worked on it all weekend to send off to a different publisher. It's amazing when you start to edit work. I changed so much from the original, even the title, which is hopefully more fitting for my next possible market. So off that goes in the post tomorrow.

The highlight of the week was receiving some royalties from the ALCS. ( Authors Licensing and Collecting Society) It wasn't a huge amount but I was thrilled to receive anything. They are a wonderful society who collect royalties on the writers behalf. I even received payment for articles that were published a year ago! Such an incentive to get cracking and write some more.

I am in a real planting and growing mood at the moment. Just as the seeds and bulbs will be planted today in my greenhouse, I will also be growing more writing ideas over the next month.

Perhaps I shall name that marvelous March!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

If you don't ask, you don't get

I wanted to follow on from my last posting 'Your message was undeliverable' as since then I have tried sending a pitch over and over again for a feature to a major magazine.

Time after time I got the email back saying their inbox was full. I tried so many times until today, after it failed for the sixth time, I decided I had contact them in person.

I have always been so nervous at doing this. I feel comfortable with an email or a letter, as if they wish to reject my idea, I feel able to deal with it easier.

So, with butterflies in my stomach, I did contact them. I am so glad I did as although I was terrified at being put straight through to the editor who asked what the article was about, I was thrilled to find that they are very approachable in situations like this. After a short discussion on my idea , I was given another email address to send my pitch to.

Their are no promises of publication for my idea but I am a step closer than if I had just left it and not bothered to follow it up. This one may not be successful but this approach may work for me in the future.

So I have learned a great lesson today, although it may be a cliche, if you don't ask, you don't get, I hope I may be a step closer to publication in the future.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Your message was undeliverable

Isn't it dreadful when you find the courage to pitch an idea to a big magazine, you spend hours just working on the pitch but when you hit the send button it comes back as undeliverable.

I just sent an email to the editor of a very big magazine to pitch an idea for an article. I got butterflies as I was writing it. I could hardly press the send key. I had to print it off and take a break before I did send it and when I did, the flipping thing bounced back saying it was undelivered. Apparently their inbox is full - Ughhh!!

Nevermind, now I have done it once, I shall try again.. and again... and again..

Positive thinking I tell myself, it hasn't been rejected yet (well not by the editor, just cyberspace having some fun )

Look who's talking ( Week 3 - Fabulous February)

I have had another fun and productive writing week. This is all part of my 'Fabulous February' theme where I am trying to do something every day connected to my writing. I am pleased to say that I have managed to do just that. The highlight of the week was receiving a CD from Talking Newspaper for the blind. They produce CD's and cassettes for the blind or partially sighted and a while ago myself and Mom were interviewed by Robert Green from ESTN about our books.

It's such an honour to be part of something like this and although I cringe when hearing myself, (I tend to laugh a lot which could have been nerves) I do feel very proud to have done it.

I was very proud of my mother, Phyllis Blakemore too, she talks about her memories of Ironbridge and her book Gentlemen of the River - The last Coracle men of the Severn Gorge. She has a wonderful way of putting the listener right there. This CD is something I shall treasure as we are both on the same one.

I was also thrilled to learn that I had won one of the challenges from my Writing group Wrekin Writers. Every month we have a set challenge to write about a subject using only 100 words. To my amazement I won last months challenge and got a bit of prize money too. I never feel like my offering is good enough so it's great to have a boost in this way. Small things like this can be such an incentive and it keeps my motivation levels up. Sometimes it can be easy to give up, especially when you get rejections. I got another two this week but I didn't let it get to me and just re-pitched the idea to another editor.

I have lots of plans for the next few weeks. I want to pitch a few more articles, look at some competitions and study some fresh markets to approach. Here's hoping that by the end of February I will have a few more positive results to show for it.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Fabulous February - Week 2

I have had a really productive week. Although some of the things I have done may seem small, it's great to tick things of my 'Things to do list' and at the end of the week I now feel that I have achieved something.

Monday - I sent a sample of my novel to Neil Fein. He is a free lance editor. I heard about his free offer to read a small sample of a manuscript from Carole Anne Carr's wonderful blog which is well worth a visit. Carole has been working with Neil and is very pleased with the results.

I was thrilled, as I only sent it on Monday and received some feedback today. I have only just started being brave enough to get my work out there and read by other people. I have always felt embarrassed that it will not be good enough but have now reached the point where I want to accept every offer of help out there so that hopefully one day, it will be good enough. So far it seems to be working.

Tuesday - I was back at work but spent a lot of my lunch and break time 'People Watching' It's fascinating what you can pick up when watching other people in the form of body language or phrases that they use often. This is a great exercise for character building so watch out, next time I appear to be staring at you, I may just be plotting a character around you!

Wednesday - I pitched an article at 6.00 am before going to work and received a rejection for it by the time I got home from work. It was another good rejection though and the editor urged me to send other material in the future. I was just pleased that they were so prompt in replying so at least I could do something with it straight away.

Thursday - I pitched the very same article again to another editor. I am still waiting to hear back from this one so there is always some hope.

Friday - I went to the newsagents and browsed the racks of magazines for future markets that I may try. It's a great way to research what is popular at the moment and I didn't spend a penny.

Saturday - Enjoyed a lovely walk in the woods and wrote another 300 words of my novel. I also did loads of reading and worked on some more illustrations for my children's book.

Sunday - Well here I am blogging about my week again. Today I plan to send one of my stories out to several publishers, so will be trawling through the Artists and Writers year book for places to send it. I hope to be sending it to at least three per week until someone says YES!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Fabulous February - Week 1

I mentioned in my post of February 1st that I had taken up a challenge set by Julie Phillips that I will do something positive connected to my writing every day through the month. I officially named it Fabulous February.

It really has been a great week as I have planned what I wanted to do each day and feel that I have done so much in a short space of time. I think this is because it was planned, realistic to my time constraints and I enjoyed every moment of what I was doing, that is an important factor as none of it felt like a chore that had to be done. I wanted to spend the time doing what I enjoy and that is writing.

Friday I had a nice surprise as even though I was at work, I managed to get some legitimate time in work hours for being creative.

I am the official Newshound for my office which means I have to sniff out the good news stories, write them up and send them in. I was delighted to find out on Friday that one I had sent had been published in our regional newsletter.

Saturday, we got snow. It started around 11.00 am and continued all day. For once it had worked in my favour as I didn't have to get anywhere. I took myself up to my little writing den and did some more illustrations for my non-fiction book, worked on a short story and did a lot of reading - absolute heaven!

Sunday, here I am writing on my own blog and reading other fellow blogger's posts. It's a great time to catch up and see what other people are doing. I also want to research some possible markets for an article that was rejected a few days ago. I refuse to give up on this particular feature but as it is time bound I have to work fast if I want to get it published this year.

So that was my first week of Fabulous February. I plan to be just as productive every day for the rest of the month and hope to achieve some positive results.

What an honour

I was thrilled to hear yesterday that I received this award from Penny the Jack Russell. Penny quite often makes an appearance on a wonderful blog by Klahanie, this is well worth a visit for a very thought provoking blog along with Penny who regularly does a guest blog on his site.

Actually I think he has trouble taking back control as I did with my other blog Inside the Chicken Coop. Our wonderful animals seem to love the limelight and so they should, they deserve it. I think that it is why I am honoured to receive such an award from a gorgeous little four legged very modest internet star.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mobile Poetry

I bought this 'Fridge Poetry' years ago. I never put it on my fridge as my fridge is covered with fridge magnets from all over the places I have been to, so I stuck it on a metal tray ( my poetry tray) which works even better for me. It's mobile, so I can move it around the house, take it to a secret place and have my own little word game.

I love to move the words around the tray and see what comes up as a result.

I hadn't looked at my poetry tray for months. The words stuck there at the moment are the same as I left them over 6 months ago but on seeing them again I feel inspired. It's so great to play round with words.

Do these words inspire you? Perhaps you could add a few of your own to the mix? Have a go and see what you get.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Inspirational Imbolc ( Day 1 - Fab Feb)

I recently agreed to challenge set by Julie Phillips in her great blog Julie's Quest.

As February is the month of love, it was all about falling in love with your writing again.

I am guilty of not always making time to write. Today my pledge is that I will to do something every day that is connected to my writing. Some days it may be something very small, some days I may do something bigger but I will do something every day through February.

I am celebrating Imbolc today, the ancient Celtic festival of new beginnings, when things start to grow and light returns slowly after the cold and dark days of winter. As the lambs are born and snow drops peer their heads out of the frozen earth, you start to see new life appearing. It is a gradual process but it is the start of things warming up.

I see it like lighting a fire. At first, the flames are cool but then as you add to it, they start to grow, they respond to any attention such as more fuel or the odd poker to stir it up.

I think writing can be a bit like that. You may have a small flame of an idea in your head. You add a little kindling to it with a few scribbled notes, then suddenly it catches fire. You start to work on it, adding fuel in the form of words or illustrations and very soon you have something that one day may just set the world on fire ( well hopefully not literally)

So this is the start of my Fabulous February. I plan to make every day count and it's great that this year I have one an extra day to make things happen.