Wednesday, 29 June 2022

From Story Idea to Reader - 2nd edition

Rosemary J. Kind and I have updated From Story Idea to Reader. It's still got everything which earned it review comments such as 'a great resource' 'very inspirational' and 'excellent book packed full of useful information'. Topics covered include getting started as a writer, finding ideas, writing for competitions, plotting, titles, blurbs, social media, feedback, editing and proofreading etc etc* but now there's more.

We've added sections on creating audio books, dealing with gender and creating covers. 
The sections on womag writing, self- publishing and the business side of writing have all been updated, as there have been a lot of changes recently.

The second edition is available as a paperback or ebook here, or can be read for free through kindle unlimited. The audio version hasn't been updated, but if you order that you'll also get a pdf of the new version, so won't miss out.

*See Amazon's 'look inside' feature for a full list of topics covered.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Any excuse


Here are some photos from our current travels in Ireland, plus a few bits of writing news to justify a post ...


Free entry competition news

 This short story competition with the theme clean vs green offers a £500 prize.



The theme for On The Premises latest short story competition is 'Objects In Motion' and first prize is $250.


Publication opportunities news

Thanks (again!) to Alyson for passing on some information – this time it's about a publisher looking for unagented authors of complete novels.


My news


You can read all chapters of my romance Escape To The Country for free here 

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Copyright - the early years

As part of out travels we visited Donegal Castle, in Donegal town, in County Donegal (photos taken there and at the abbey). We had a very interesting tour where we learned how little we knew of Irish history! The part which most captured my imagination concerned one of the earliest copyright cases. In around 561 a man called Colm Cille borrowed a bookfrom St Finnian. He may not have been a saint at the time, and Colm certainly wasn't as he copied the book without permission – books were a really big deal back then. When Finnian found out, he was rightly furious and demanded Colm hand over the copy (later known as the cathach). He refused and eventually the King of Ireland ruled on the matter.

The King said 'to every cow her calf, to every book its copy' and said that Colm should give up his plagiarised version. Colm didn't accept this and he and his clan went to war on the matter. Many lives were lost. Later Colm felt great remorse that his copying the book had resulted in such tragedy. He did many good works and himself eventually became a saint. 


Thankfully these days we don't tend to have physical battles over copyright rules, but it's still an important and emotive subject. That's why I (repeatedly) urge writers to read and understand contracts and competition rules before signing or submitting work and only proceed if they're willing to agree to the stated terms. I don't advise that anyone give up all rights on their writing – but the decision is yours.





Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Over To You


Womag news

Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Free entry writing competition news

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Guest post by Geraldine Ryan – Little Murders Every Day

LITTLE MURDERS EVERY DAY

I’ve always loved the definition of a good story as one that consists of a beginning, a muddle and an ending. In other words, your story need something to happen. It needs a Plot.

Novelist E. M. Forster wrote:- ‘The King died and then the Queen died is a story. The King died, and then the Queen died of grief is a plot.’

So what’s the difference between a) and b)? Well, plenty. For starters a) isn’t going to make anywhere near your word count, is it? It’s over before it’s begun. Whereas, just think of all the questions b) provokes! Think of the muddles you can get the Queen into and then, finally, out of. Was her grief genuine? Was it, in fact, guilt that killed her in the end? Did she kill him? Or was it her lover who did the deed?

Plot then is what happens. Some writers insist they never plot. They start with character, they say, or setting. Look, there are no right answers or we’d all be Richard Osman by now. I’m somewhere in the middle of being a plotter and a pantser in that I know where I want to get to but I’m not always sure of the journey. As writer Flannery O’ Connor said:- ‘I have to write to discover what I’m doing.’

One thing is certain though. You need to give your character a muddle to get out of. And so, once your story’s finished and the muddle has been resolved, your theme will emerge. Because if Plot is what happens, then Theme is what the story says. It tells us something about the world and alters our view of it.

A plot can be plotted, but I’m not convinced that a theme can be themed. For example, there you sit at your computer, fingers poised. You need to come up with an idea for a story and quickly if you want to avoid getting the gas turned off.

‘I know!’ you tell the cat. ‘I’ll write about Poverty. Because as a writer of magazine stories that’s something I’m greatly familiar with.’

And then you sit there. And you sit there. And nothing happens. Because Poverty is a big word and a big theme and you just don’t know where to start.

Then you remember that young woman you pass on the street every day, huddled beneath her blanket, her faithful dog by her side. You don’t know her. Maybe you’ve never even spoken to her. Maybe you were too embarrassed. Felt guilty, waltzing past with your bag full of shopping – your vegan cup cakes and your packet of organic pasta.

Your mind wanders away from the girl beneath the blanket to the woman walking by. A character emerges. What if, suddenly, when she gets home, this woman’s high-flying husband is being led out of the house by the Police, having been accused of fraud. Suddenly she finds herself insolvent. So you write your story. Your plot gains momentum. And, once it’s finished, you discover the theme that has emerged. It’s not about poverty after all. It’s about something else altogether – loyalty, or self-discovery or finally understanding who your real friends are.

I’m not saying you can’t get a story by starting with a theme. But writing is about exploration. If you start with a theme already in your head, you’re likely to end up with a story that holds no surprises for you. It won’t throw any light on how you see the world and if it won’t do that for you then it’s unlikely to do it for your reader. Your story probably won’t be the story you’d have written if you’d started with a theme instead of starting with a character, putting her under pressure and tracking her journey. But it’ll be all the better for that.

If CHARACTER + MUDDLE + WAY OUT OF MUDDLE is a plot, then, depending on the sort of person she is, your character will react to her muddle in the way she generally reacts to muddles. And if she’s a different sort of person she’ll react to the same muddle in a very different way.

Each reaction to the same situation will be different because each character is different. And as long as the writer is faithful to the character they’ve drawn, once we put her under pressure, the easier it will be to trust that the direction she’ll take will be the one that best suits her nature and from there your theme will emerge.

Can I just add that I’m not talking about novel writing here – where undoubtedly more than one theme will emerge. I’m talking about short stories, where the number of words restricts or – depending how you look at it – focuses the writer. Because in a story of 1000 words, you’re going to have to make choices and get rid of anything you can’t devote proper attention to that might sidetrack the reader

American novelist and short story writer Gail Godwin wrote about the choices a writer has to make when beginning a new story, where lots of ideas collide and you have to settle on one.

“The choice is always a killing one,” she wrote. “One option must die so that the other may live. I do little murders every day.”

Sound familiar, fellow writers?

Geraldine has produced a collection of short stories, which is available here.


About the author – Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies, but these days only puts it to use when identifying which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. For many years, she worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown-up, responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then, her stories have appeared in Take a Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly, as well as in women’s magazines abroad. She has also written two young adult novels – Model Behaviour (published by Scholastic) and The Lies and Loves of Finn (Channel 4 Books.) She plans for Riding Pillion with George Clooney to be the first of several short story anthologies.

Keep up to date with Geraldine’s news, be the first to hear about her new releases and read exclusive content by signing up to her monthly newsletter Turning the Page. By adding your details, you’ll also receive a free short story. Use this link to subscribe: https://bit.ly/Turningthepage



Monday, 6 June 2022

In conversation with Sheelagh Mooney

When Sheelagh Mooney discovered our travels would take us near Ardagh, she invited us to visit the wonderful eco garden she and her husband Brendan have created. I took many photos! (If you'd like to see those of other places we've visited then follow me on Facebook and sign up for my newsletter.)


As well as talking about gardens, we discussed writing, particularly those things we've learned since starting out and which we feel might be helpful for newer writers to know. For example, not all rejections are equal. If the editor (or publisher) has taken the time to give any kind of feedback or encouragement then this is a positive thing. They simply don't have the time to think up something nice or helpful to say to every person who submits – much as some might like to. Their time and effort will be concentrated on those writers they feel have the potential to produce work they can use. 


Getting suggestions to rework a piece might feel as they you're way off the mark, but the complete opposite is true. The editor has seen something they really like and wants to help you turn it into a published story or article. If you're ever asked to make changes, it's a really good idea to try. Although there's still no guarantee of acceptance, you'll learn a lot in the process, both about what works for that market and about your own writing.

Many new writers can think that receiving nothing but rejections for weeks, months, even years must mean their work isn't good. That's not necessarily true. Check that you're following all the guidelines – if you submit work in the wrong form or genre, to the wrong address, at the wrong time, work of the wrong length etc then the magazine won't be able to use it no matter how good it is. 

It's tempting to think that once you've been published you've made it and rejections are a thing of the past. Sadly that's not true. Each story or other piece of writing will be judged on its merits, rather than your publication history. Perhaps there are womag writers out there who have every single submission accepted, but I still get rejections, and so does Sheelagh and every one of my writing friends and critique buddies. Please try not to be demoralised by what's a normal part of the process.

Are there things you've learned since you started, which you feel it might help new writers to know?

One thing we discussed wasn't specific to writing, but no less important because of that. We both feel it's important to make the most of life by finding ways to spend time doing things you enjoy. That could be travelling and having adventures, staying home and creating a garden, writing a poem, story, article, or novel.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

The People's Friend – our questions answered.

Lucy Crichton, fiction editor at The People's Friend, has kindly agreed to answer questions raised as comments on this blog about their fiction competition and general submissions – 


Your short story competition has attracted a lot of interest. Is it open to absolutely all writers – those who've never submitted stories to you, and those who have been published in The Friend?
 

Our Short Story Writing Competition celebrates “Scotland’s Year Of Stories 2022”, and is open to all authors who have not yet been published in “The People’s Friend - as stated in the rules, published in our May 14, 2022 issue. 

Since its inception in 1869, “The People’s Friend” has aimed to encourage and inspire new authors from all backgrounds. That ethos continues today. We’re committed to ensuring that new authors come through to complement existing writers, and to replace those who’ve moved on to other projects. 

I see from the terms and conditions that by entering the competition entrants will assign all rights to D C Thomson. That's not your usual policy – can you tell me why it applies to this competition?

As a one-off competition, it is being run in accordance with DC Thomson’s standard competition Ts & Cs. 
ions.

These differ from the standard terms that we agree with regular contributors to the magazine to give flexibility around promoting and publicising the competition and its winning entry. 

Are you planning any changes to the current contract for regular submissions?

No. There are no plans to change our current contracts at this time. Details of our contracts are available here - https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/2020/06/19/writers-rights-at-the-peoples-friend/

Might you publish any competition entries other than the winner, and if so under what terms?

The judging panel will make a decision on this after the closing date. It's excellent that you're increasing the amount of fiction in the magazines. 

Can we hope that this, combined with a return to the office, will eventually reduce response times for your regular writers? 

We aim to read and respond to every submission in a way that’s fair and transparent. 

Returning to the office won't impact on response times. Avenues for women’s short fiction are disappearing. 

This means that we receive an increased volume of submissions, especially compared to pre-Covid days. Communication is key. If you’re an established author and have been waiting for a response for longer than 12 weeks, please do email your assigned editor, and we can chase it up for you. 

As well as reading submissions, the Team are busy with many other day-to-day tasks such as proofreading and blogging; we aim to be efficient in all areas, prioritising where necessary. 

New (to you) writers are reporting very fast rejections – sometimes within 24 hours and some find it disconcerting. Can you reassure them that the speed with which replies are sent out is no reflection on the quality of work, or the amount of attention you've paid the piece? I assume it's just that, due to the high number of submissions, you've had to learn to assess whether a story might suit the magazine during a single reading.

This situation applies to new-to-the "Friend" authors only. 

Our vastly experienced Team are able to assess a story for suitability within minutes. We no longer have a backlog of manuscripts to get through, and our Team go into the inbox every day. So expect response times for unpublished authors to remain speedy at the moment. 

Is it still the longer length stories which are most in demand?
 
The stories which we need most of are 2000 and 3000 word stories which are suitable for any issue. The stories we receive most of are 1200 words. We only use one of these per issue.

Thank you, Lucy. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions and clarify the situation for us.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

At last!


I'm now properly doing the #travellingwriter thing. Blog posts may become irregular, but I'll do my best to keep bringing you womag, competition and other writing news – and there will be photos. (If you want more of those you might like to follow me on Facebook or twitter.)

Free entry competition news

 On the Premises are running a flash fiction competition. $35 is the prize for the best story of 25-50 words with an unreliable narrator.

The Writer's Bureau have a poetry competition. A place on one of their courses is the prize. Closes at the end of the month.

Press 53 have a monthly 53 word competition. The prize is publication and a book.

If you can invent a beautiful future you might be able to win $1,00o in this short story competition from Sapiens Plurum. Thanks to Alyson for sending me the link.


Womag news

This is really news of forthcoming information. Lucy Crichton, fiction editor at The People's Friend, has kindly agreed to answer some of the questions raised over their short story competition. She's understandably busy, and my travels mean limited internet access, but they'll be posted as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Over To You

 

Womag news

Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Free entry writing competition news

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Friday, 13 May 2022

Do you (still) enjoy reading fiction in magazines?

I know many of my blog readers like writing short stories and hope to have them published in magazines – and wish there were more submission opportunities.

I've been wondering why there has been such a decline in the markets over the last few decades. Maybe there are only a few of us left who appreciate short stories?

I don't think that's the case, and apparently neither do DC Thomson as they've increased the amount of fiction in both The People's Friend and My Weekly. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Do you enjoy reading fiction in magazines?

Did you use to enjoy short stories, but now prefer celebrity gossip, adverts and whatever else has replaced the fiction in magazines which no longer publish it?

Does your like / dislike of fiction influence your decision on whether or not to read a particular magazine?

Responses (as comments on this blog please) are welcome from all who have an opinion, whether they're writers or not.


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Things are looking up

Free entry competition news

The Anansi archive have competitions for flash fiction, short stories and poetry, all with small cash prizes. I've sent them a flash piece.

There's a much larger prize – £1,000 on offer for this poetry competition. Poetry isn't really my thing, but that prize is very tempting.

Competition / womag news

In The People's Friend this week there's a competition to write a short story withe the theme of Scotland. Thanks to Liz Filleul for pointing it out - as I'm away I've not seen the mag yet. I do however know there's a story of mine inside and a lovely illustration of one of my favourite castles on the front.

Update 12/5/22 I've just checked the 'small print' and learned that simply by entering this competition authors will give up all their rights to their stories.

"Entrants (including the winners) hereby assign all intellectual property rights and waive all moral rights in their entry to D. C. Thomson."

I am very surprised and disappointed that DC Thomson are treating writers in this way, as they're usually so fair and supportive. 
I strongly urge writers NOT to give up their rights, even in exchange for a prize or publication fee, and certainly not just for the chance to send in an entry.

Womag news

My Weekly are following The People's Friend in increasing the amount of fiction they publish. This market is not currently open to unsolicited submissions (meaning you need to be 'on the list' to send work in) but I think it's still encouraging that some publishers, and their readers, obviously do value short stories.

My news

The photo says it all!

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Spam!

Sorry if you saw the rather unpleasant spam comments. Because some are creeping through Blogger's defences, and I'm going to be on the road quite a bit so not able to keep a close eye on things, I've decided to put comment moderation back on.

That does mean any comments might take a little while to appear, but I'll get to them as soon as I can and still appreciate them all just as much. These flowers are for everyone who leaves actual comments, not spam ones.


Wednesday, 4 May 2022

A quickie about stuff

Hi. Just a quick post today as I'm busy with 'stuff'. Writing of course, but also gardening and getting ready for adventures in the van - we'll be staying in at least five different locations and three different countries before the end of the month and it all starts today.

Womag news

I've still not heard anything from Stylist magazine, nor do I know of anyone who has. I did spot that they've changed their submission requirements a little.


Lipstick and Lies
have temporarily closed to submissions. They've contacted everyone who has had work accepted. Were you one of the lucky ones! (I hadn't even decided whether or not to sub when I discovered they'd closed.)

My womag news

This kind of thing doesn't happen often, but I currently have a story in Yours, The People's Friend and People's Friend special.

Free entry competition news

This competition is for literary novels over 30,000 words and offers £1,500 plus publication to the winner.

Any questions?

If you have any womag or other writing related questions I'm very happy to try to answer them – provided you do it as a comment on this blog.  Sorry but I simply don't have time to answer individual queries by email and social media. Often more than one person asks the same thing and even when it's just one person the chances are that someone else was wondering. If you ask on the blog, not only can others benefit from the answer, but more people will see the question so you're more likely to get a helpful reply.

Whether you have questions or not, please do leave a comment if you find the blog useful, interesting or otherwise worth me taking time out from all the other 'stuff' I have going on!

Here's how to leave a comment. (It's free and you don't need to create an account.)

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

It's all about the competition


Free to enter writing competition news

Thanks to Sharon for the following (posted in a comment) - the Best mag comp's next theme is Summer.

The closing date is 27th May. There's a max of 1, 200 words.
£500 for the winner, £200 for the 2 runner- ups.
It's free to enter and writers keep copyright.
Good luck to all who enter!

And thanks to Alyson Faye (who co-runs this site) for telling me about this poetry competition with the theme of water. It looks as though publication and publicity are the only prizes, but it's probably quite good publicity.


Alyson also told me about the Hengisbury Head writing competition. Unfortunately I can only find a link to last year's. It doesn't close until August so perhaps the details will be added to the website later. There is a flyer which states the competition is in its 8th year, with a new theme, and g
ives the same contact email as is shown on the website.

Reader's Digest have a 100 word competition with a £1,000 prize!

This novella competition offers publication and $1,000 dollars. They do want a lot more than 100 words, but there will probably be fewer entries than with the Reader's Digest one.


My competition news

A while ago I posted about a novel writing competition from Black Spring Press. Ive just heard I've been longlisted. Final results will be announced late this summer.

Womag News

Just in case you hadn't heard – The People's Friend staff are back in the office. Hopefully once they're settled that'll speed up response times. 

My other news

We'll be away in the van soon. It seems so long since we've done that for more than one night and I'm really looking forward to it. The views from the windows show our destination, but I'm not expecting anyone to recognise it.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Over To You - and a new market

 

Womag news
Thanks to Marguerite for passing on details of this interesting new market for short stories, flash fiction and poetry.

Lipstick & Lies is a new magazine, looking for stories between 1,000 and 2,500 words. Full submission requirements are on the website.

I contacted Eva who has set this up to enqure whether this is a paying market and to invite her onto the blog to discuss fiction in the magazine. 

Her response – "As we are brand-spanking new, we are starting off as a non-paying market.
However, should there be plenty of submissions, we will be offering payment at a later stage.
The 'Guest Post' sounds exciting - I shall give that some thought."

Anyone had any kind of response from Stylist? I sent a submission, but haven't had any acknowledgement or reply.

Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Free entry writing competition news

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

My news

I've published a new collection of short stories called Making A Move.

Here's the blurb – No matter if it’s taking a walk, catching a bus or jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane, the way we move can get us where we want to be.

Our journey could be on land, sea, by air or all in our mind. We might travel with others, get there by ourselves, or need help to make the journey.

The moves we make aren't always from A to B. We may change direction, take steps to improve our lives or start a relationship. We could be the driver, passenger or equal partner in a dance into the future.

Whether they're making a move on someone, moving upwards and onwards, or going round in circles, anyone who doesn't stay put has a story to tell. This book contains 24 of them.

It's available from Amazon as a paperback or ebook, or can be ordered through bookshops and requested in libraries. As always anything you can do to help spread the word will be much appreciated.

Monday, 18 April 2022

A wee bit of cheer

Womag News

Some good news! The People's Friend are going to publish even more fiction. Full details can be found here.








Free entry competition news

This competition is for writing about 'what Scotland means to me' offers "free enrollment to the "Become a Successful Author" course (a value of $1,500 USD), plus access to our library of author training resources (up to $500 value)" as the prize. I feel it also totally justifies me for posting some pictures of my trips to Scotland!

Thanks to Alyson for your continued support of this blog and for passing on more great links. The latest are for this short story competition with a £500 prize and this one which offers prizes of $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000!

Blog news

Thanks to Beverley who alerted me to the fact that the option to subscribe by email to this blog had disappeared. I don't know how I managed to remove it, but I think I've now managed to reinstate it. You should be able to find it in the right hand side sidebar (possibly only on computers and tablets, not phones). 

I've tried it out myself and it seems to work, but I did get an alarming message saying it's not secure. Sorry, I don't know how to fix that. If you do, and can explain it in very simple terms, please get in touch!

However you find my blog posts, please do leave a comment on any you find of interest. This lets me know what to post more of and motivates me to do so. Comments also have the potential to improve the blog – both by the sharing of information and the possibility of getting responses from editors, competition organisers etc and attracting interesting guest bloggers. Such people are more likly to be interested if the blog clearly has readers and the only way they'll know that is if you leave comments.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Why Your Writing is Important – guest post by Cat Lumb

My guest today is womagwriter, author and writing coach Cat Lumb.

Why Your Writing is Important

As writers, it’s easy to put off our writing for another day. Especially when other people are vying for our attention, tasks need completing, and there’s always just ‘one more thing to do’. We postpone our solitary session in front of the page because our friends or family need us - a quick favour, or phone call, or trip to the shops. Every distraction is a reason to step away and one more delay to our writing progress. 

As a Writing Coach I see this often in my clients’ lives. Because their writing is only important to them it gets pushed down the to-do list. We justify it because there isn’t a looming deadline, and the consequences of not writing that day seem less impactful on those around us. After all, it’s just ourselves we’re letting down, not anyone else. And we do this so much that writing rarely reaches the top of the endless list of things we promise to everyone else first. 

But why is it that our own writing dreams are less important than a trip to the supermarket, a phone call with a friend, or that unanswered email?

In part it’s because it’s easier to neglect our writing than it is to ignore a human being. We don’t want to let other people down, and our writing will always be there for another day, right? While our dream might be important to us, it’s not to anyone else, and it’s certainly not urgent: not like the cacophony of demands from people around us. 

So we put it off, and hope that we can get back to it another day.

Except, of course, tomorrow is exactly the same as it was yesterday and today, and in a world of instant and immediate communication it’s assumed rude to ignore a message for more than a few hours. 

Yet, whenever we ditch our writing we feel disappointed in ourselves. We take it as a sign that perhaps we’re not meant for writing, and that our dream is just that - a dream, a fantasy, nothing that we deserve given we can’t seem to sit down to it. Because it can feel selfish to take an hour or so out of your day to indulge in your imaginary world. How can you defend spending time with characters that don’t exist off the page when your kids, pets, or family - very real, tangible beings - are calling for you in the background.

But if our writing time is not important enough for us to protect it from all the distractions in our lives, why should other people respect that time we spend writing too? The more often we dismiss our writing ourselves the more regularly people assume we aren’t serious about it.

This is why one of the first things I embed with my clients is the statement: “If my writing is important to me; it’s important.” No justifications or explanations necessary. 

Writing is precious and therefore we need to take care of it. Even when those around us can’t understand it, we have to advocate for our dream because nobody else will. And the best way to do this is by putting clear boundaries in place around our writing time. 

Imagine a life where you don’t delay your writing dream. When instead of saying ‘Yes’ to something someone else is asking, you say ‘Not right now, because I’m writing’. How much more progress would you make if those in your life respected and accepted your writing time and therefore didn’t interrupt or distract you from it? 

The only way this can happen is if you see your writing that way too.

So, the next time you find yourself promising to write, and then never showing up for it - remind yourself that your writing dream is important, it deserves to be protected, nurtured, and permitted to grow. If you believe that your writing is worthy of your time and act accordingly, others will respond in kind. Then perhaps that dream will have a chance to become a reality.

Say it with me: If my writing is important to me, it’s important.

__________

Try This: 

As The Write Catalyst I advise this simple exercise to review how you prioritise your writing time in advance - making the decision ahead of time means it’s easier to carry it out in the moment.

Make a list of the things that are MORE important to you than your writing dream (medical emergency, time with children, paid-work). Then make a list of all the things that are LESS important than your writing dream (housework, doom-scrolling, gossiping on the phone). 

The next time you are scheduled to sit down to write the ONLY things you are allowed to prioritise above it are those things on the MORE list. If someone calls you for a chat, or the kitchen needs a tidy - those things don’t count; go and write instead! 

________

Cat Lumb is a writer with published fiction in Women's Weekly, Writing Magazine, Comma Press and on Amazon - including her debut novel In Lies We Trust which reached #16 in the Spy Thriller bestseller list in March 2021. She is also a Writing Coach under the alias The Write Catalyst, and supports writers to finally write that novel they dream of using positive encouragement and her decade of writing experience. She also offers advice and support through her blog and social media communities, in addition to online Masterclasses and 1:1 Coaching offers.
Check out her blog: www.catlumb.com/blog 
Join The Write Catalyst Facebook Community; Follow The Write Catalyst on Instagram; or find her on Twitter.