It’s Done!!

Phew! It’s been an intense weekend, but finally, at 9.15 on Sunday, I can let out a sigh of relief.

My entry is winging its way to the Dundee International Book Prize, so for better or for worse, it is done.

I spent the best part of the weekend preparing it. There is nothing like a deadline to make you pay attention to small details.

Five minutes ago I had my email ready, all the attachments on it, and my finger hovering over the button. Why is it so hard to hit send? My heart pounded as I sent it.

Wish me luck. I will keep you all posted about how I do. I guess I will know by 1st June. Only three long months to wait.

Okay, what’s next? Oh yeah, The Bath Short Story Award. No time to rest!

New Beginnings

There have been a few very light snow flurries today, the kind that you can blink and miss. It’s cold, but you can definitely see and feel that winter is on its last legs, and just trying to cling on. But soon it will be gone. The sun is definitely shining more. It looks beautiful streaming through my living room window in the morning. And Chirpy is back! That’s the name we give to the blackbird who comes every year and sits in the tallest tree in the street. He watches over the neighbourhood and sings away like the happiest chap in the world. Sometimes he ventures to a chimney pot or two. His song is gorgeous and I could listen to him all day.

Of course, there is no way of knowing if he is the same Chirpy every year, but we like to think so, and whenever he makes a return, it fills us with optimism that spring is just around the corner, and that Summer will be hot on its heels.

As well as the seasons getting ready to change, and a new cycle to begin, so am I taking on the task of working on the beginning of my novel. I have not been happy about certain small parts of it for a while, and thought it would be the right time to change some of it. Not a lot. Just tweaking. I’ve had some encouraging rejections. Yes, rejections can be encouraging! I know that there is something there, and editors have told me that they enjoy my work but they cannot take it on at present. That’s publishing these days, I guess. I just need to get someone to take a chance on it.

So, to give me the very best chance of that, it will do no harm to just polish it slightly. Yesterday I worked for a few hours, and today will do the same. I am happy with what I have been doing, and feel that it will better be able to stand on its feet out there in the world. I am happy to continue to try, and one day, maybe all my work will pay off and I will get that lucky break I need.

A week on Monday (4th March) is the deadline for the Dundee International Book Prize and I will be sending my book out for that. The prize is a contract with Cargo Publishing and a £10,000 advance. Now, that would come in useful. Apart from prize money though, competitions are wonderful for forcing me to get more disciplined and organised in my writing. I can’t sit on my laurels when there is a deadline to be made. Once it has gone out to the competition I will continue to send it around to publishers and agents, in the hope that what I did to it for the competition will ensure its success somewhere.

After Dundee, the Bath Short Story Award, the Moth Magazine Short Story Prize and the Exeter Writers’ Short Story Competition all beckon before the end of March. I have a couple, maybe three stories to enter for those.

More stuff due in April, May and June – including a script writing contest – so I will be busy all the way to the summer and beyond.

So, the year has started well and hopefully will continue for the foreseeable future.

What writing project do you have? Are you entering competitions, or sending work out to publishers and agents – or just writing for yourself? I would be interested to hear about what you’re doing. Please leave comments below. I will moderate them really quickly, and once that’s done, you can post on here with no waiting time. I hope to hear from some of you.

Happy writing!