Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Apologies in advance - this is a LONG post

I’ve had a few comments about the dog boarding. I love dogs, and always will, but they have been a substitute for people and that has to change. Once I’m happy I might think about getting one or two of my own but I need a period of time before I make any decisions. It’s time for me to be free to do what I want, when I want. That may last a long time, or it may not. I have no idea. I just know I need to do it. For me.
Last night something huge happened. I went along to Leeds Writers ideas evening where they discuss what to have in the programme next year (September onwards) and I actually said my piece. Even more amazingly, when the Chairman argued back at me, I didn’t run away. I argued back. This is so unusual for me it’s awesome. My entire life I have avoided confrontation  at all costs. I simply haven’t been able to do it. Last night I did. When it was over, I felt cold and couldn’t stop shaking. It was like being in shock but at the same time, it felt good.  The Club could be amazing, but things do have to change. I will now need to be equally as brave at the AGM so that my suggestions don’t get ignored.
Yesterday I also finished the writers guide I’ve been working on (on and off ) for ages. I sent it to Byker books and he’s going to publish it, probably in the summer, as an ebook as a continuation of the Professional Writers Series which my previous three guides have been published under (www.bykerbooks.co.uk) . I’m also going to publish it via Lulu so that I have hard copies should people want to buy them.
I could go back to Filament; they did a great job on The Treasury of Ideas, but I find I like working with Byker Books. It’s just a friendlier relationship, plus he does the marketing! I don’t enjoy that side of the business.  All I want to do is write and teach people.
My next job is working on the book to get it ready for Lulu. With any luck, I can get back to writing a short story in a day or two.
My team didn’t get on to Only Connect which I have to say is a relief as I still have no idea when I’m moving.
Eggheads isn’t going to plan either as our team captain has had to have an operation on his arm, so I could end up doing neither show.  Oh well, there’s always next year.
The following is taken from a great blog for writers  - http://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
It’s a guest blog by Wendy Clarke who I was very happy to help with her writing some time ago. Reading her post gave me a warm feeling inside so I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here.

Today is my anniversary. No not my wedding anniversary but the anniversary of writing my first story for a magazine.
I had just finished an online writing course and my tutor had suggested that this might be a good direction to take but I was naïve: I had no idea how to go about it or even what sort of stories the magazine’s wanted.

Those first stories were pretty bad and looking back at them I can see why so many of those first ones were rejected. In a word, I had no idea what I was doing but I was determined that I would not give up until I’d had a story published.
I took stock and realised that this was not something I could do without help. Where was this help to come from? In fact it came from many sources. Firstly there were many practical questions I needed answering: Was it permissible to send two in one envelope? How long should I expect to wait before hearing back?
Having read Linda Lewis’s excellent book, The Writer’s Treasury of Ideas, I decided that she might be the one to help me out with the practical side of writing and how right I was: she answered all my questions patiently and was very encouraging in those early days of insecurity. Her kind words: I have a feeling you're going to have success quite soon as you have all the qualities you need - imagination to come up with lots of stories, and perseverance… made me all the more determined to succeed and those words have stayed with me.
Practical issues sorted out, what of the emotional support that every writer needs? My husband has always been my greatest support but I also needed the company of other writers (even if only virtual) and so turned to the web and to other writers’ blogs. The first one I read was this one and I spent hours pouring over the old posts – I was like a child in a sweet shop!
I then did some reading of other blogs and what I found was a wonderful warm community of writers. Their informative posts or even just general writerly chat helped me to realise I was not alone out there. This was about the time (last August) that I made my first sale to Take a Break’s Fiction Feast (a huge thank you to Norah McGrath) and decided to start my own blog Wendy’s Writing Now to chart my writing progress from first sale and to help and encourage other new writers.
I am so glad I did: the encouragement and warmth of both new and established writers has been indescribable and a great boost on those gloomy ‘I can’t do this any more’ days. What I learnt in the blogging world is you get back what you put in – I try and be as involved as I can in other writer’s blogs and in turn receive lovely comments from my new writing ‘friends’ and have even managed to meet up with one of them.
‘But what of the writing?’ I hear you ask. Well, I know that I have been very lucky: Soon after my sale to Fiction Feast, the lovely People’s Friend bought one of my stories and I cannot thank them enough for their time and patience, since then, in helping me to make my stories better. Without their faith in my writing I may well have given up. A sale to Woman’s Weekly followed.
I have been privileged this last year to have sold fourteen stories to Fiction Feast, The People’s Friend and Woman’s Weekly and I can honestly say that the thrill of seeing the stories in print never abates BUT it hasn’t been easy. I have had many, many rejections but with each rejection I pick myself up and write another one. My biggest advice to new writers is write, write, write and send, send, send – it’s the only way if you are serious about magazine writing.
Reproduced with the permission of the author, WENDY CLARKE


  1. Good for you for standing up for yourself - and the good of the writers club. Sometimes you have to just DO it!

    I read Womagwriters blog the other day and agreed with everything she said. I bought your TWTofI a while ago (I raved about you on my blog, too!)

    Looking forward to your new book. Caroline x

  2. Thank you, Linda. What I wrote in the post speaks for itself - I'm glad it gave you a well deserved warm feeling. I too am looking forward to getting a copy of the new book when it comes out.