Monday, 25 April 2011

Not enough stories

I sometimes think that Norah, of Take a Break fame, saves up rejections to that she can ruin people’s holidays. On Saturday, a wad of stories came back, just in time for Easter, and she almost always sends a batch back at Christmas.
I changed two of them round a bit and sent them off to Womans Weekly, then came across a competition with a decent prize and a closing date of April 30th – Unbound Press. So I went through my unpublished stories, looking for something suitable and sent one off. That made me think of the Bridport Prize. I vowed, in my Writers Forum column, that I would enter this year, so I downloaded an entry form, and set about writing a piece of flash fiction, so I’d have that ready to send off.
Molly’s owners called again, that’s three times so far, to check she was OK. No calls from Mum today which is odd. I usually get calls on bank holidays and weekends when she doesn’t have day care to go to.
This afternoon, I drafted a letter to send to everyone involved – her doctor, her solicitor, Social Services, and my aunts. I have decided to send this by May the first latest, drawing a line under the business of the Enduring Power of attorney. I need to tell people that I have done everything I can, and that the ball is now firmly in their court. There really is nothing more I can do. I have to get back to work.
Doing my tax return, led me to look back over the past year. I was shocked to see how much my output had fallen. I’m meant to write eight to ten stories every month, but in the past year I have only written fifty four which is less than half the number I  need to write to bring in enough sales. To make a living, I aim to sell one story a week, and as I have absolutely no chance of selling everything I write (it’s normally around 30 – 40 %) a drop in output spells trouble ahead.
That’s the problem with writing, everything happens in slow motion. A bad spell of writing now and I won’t see the effects for several months when the rejections, rather than sales, start coming in.  
In the first three months of this year, I sold eleven stories, placed three more in short story collections and won second prize in a competition so I’m more or less on track. Sadly in the same period I’ve only written sixteen new stories and I can tell that some of them are not as good as they need to be.
It’s such a shame the speed dating thing keeps getting cancelled. They’ve rescheduled again for May 21st. If it ever happens, I  have a feeling it will give me at least one good story, even if I don’t meet the man of my dreams.


  1. I'm sure your writing will pick up momentum again soon. Good luck with the speed dating never know who might be waiting round the next corner!

  2. That's so true (about the speed dating!). I met my partner (nearly 7 years together) at a speed dating night. It was the first time either of us had tried speed dating and was a bit out of character for us both, at the time! I am convinced our guardian angels arranged it all! So good luck Linda, if/when you do manage to get there!