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: 
Join The Write Catalyst Facebook Community; Follow The Write Catalyst on Instagram; or find her on Twitter.

Monday 11 April 2022

Why bother?

Womag news

Submitting to YOU magazine is now resulting in the following automatic response –

 Dear writer, 

Thank you for your story.
Due to the sheer volume of submissions, the YOU Fiction mailbox will be closed until further notice. 

Appreciate your understanding,
YOU Fiction Editor

Hopefully this is only temporary, to allow the editor to catch up with submissions. 

There are a lot of us writers submitting to a small number of markets – if most of us simultaneously send something to the same place, which tends to happen when submission windows or new markets open, the editors will feel swamped. I'm not saying don't submit, but maybe think twice before sending everything on your hard drive which is the correct word count?

My news

I'm doing some updates on this blog and my website. If you happen to notice any broken links, daft typos or anything else which needs attention, please let me know.

The photos above are of the illustrations for stories I have in the current The People's Friend and Take A Break's Fiction Feast. If you submit to either magazine you'll know which is which. If you don't you're not reading the current issues and I strongly advise that you do.)

I have a new short story collection coming out soon.

Sometimes, when I get a rejection, or I've had no book sales I can wonder why I bother. Other days something happens to make me glad I do. Yesterday was one of those times. I got a review for this collection of garden stories. Naturally I was pleased by the 5 stars, but it was the person saying they'd bought the book to read to their mother who has dementia which made the impact.

I feel the real value of womag type stories is their ability to provide a few minutes escapism and pleasure. They don't change the world or people's lives, but they can sometimes raise a smile – and that's important.

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Five fabulous freebies! (and flowers)

I've found five free competitions for my friends. Have fun figuring out fine and fabulously formatted entries. First here are a few of the frivolous flowers I'm famous for. (I photographed them on my phone, but that only works phonetically.)

Free entry competition news

The Anansi Archives spring competitions are open. There are small cash prizes for short stories, flash fiction and poetry. I expect I'll have a go at that one.

The Fitzcarraldo Editions novel prize offers publication with a $10,000 advance for works of at least 30,000 words. I don't have anything suitable for that and probably won't have by the 1st June when it closes.

Although the BCSA competition is for writing about the links between Britain and 
the lands now comprising the Slovak and Czech Republics or society in the republics, anyone may enter. First prize is £400, publication and the option to have the award presented at a dinner in London.

That's not for me. I don't know enough about the subject. No doubt that applies to a lot of people, so if you do have some knowledge or are prepared to research your chances might be quite good.

This competition from W&AYB is for British and Irish writers who consider themselves working class. They want the opening of a work in progress and are offering a prize bundle which includes £200 and mentoring.

I don't have anything started for this either, but it doesn't close until 18th July and they only need a short sample, so if inspiration strikes I could give this a go.

The Perito prize is for work on the theme of inclusive environments, accessibility and inclusive design and offers a £500 prize. The winner and selected entries will be published in an anthology. The theme interests me, so I'll try to come up with something.

Are you tempted by any of these? If not, why not?