With Christmas just around the corner and many people considering new laptops, the additional price of purchasing and installing Microsoft Home office can be considerable (from about £99 upward). So I was interested to see a reply to a reader’s query in the December issue of Writing Magazine.
The reader asked if there was a reliable, free substitute for Microsoft. Obviously there’s a lot of free software out there but this varies considerably in compatibility and ease of use. The suggestion they gave was Apache OpenOffice. It’s certainly not a new kid on the block so it has a track record of being stable and reliable. It offers similar software to Microsoft: word processing, graphics, spreadsheets, presentation software. It also looks similar, which is helpful if you are already familiar with Microsoft,and the big plus is that it also allows you to open and save Word docs!
Incidentally, Writing Magazine is a great resource for writers. There are plenty of writing-related articles each month (some contributed by Writers Bureau Tutors), details of markets for writers’ work and competitions to enter. There’s a letters page, a help-line and even a section where writers can tell other readers about their success. And you can get half-price subscription (saving you almost £20) for the first 12 months if you are a member of our very own Association of Freelance Writers. So if you join and then take advantage of the half-price subscription to Writing Magazine you’ve recouped nearly all your outlay immediately and you still have all the other benefits linked to the AFW.
Moving on, our Flash Fiction competition has just ended. We hope to be able to announce the results before the end of the month and start our next competition – so keep an eye on our competition website. But just so that you don’t get ‘competition withdrawal symptoms’ I thought I’d alert you to The Mogford Food and Drink Short Story Prize. The entry fee is quite steep (£10) but the prize is £10,000! They’re looking for a 2500-word story (fact or fiction) and food or drink must be at its heart. Two of the judges will be Philip Pullman and Mary Berry but that doesn’t give you an excuse to write a Bake Off-style murder mystery!
With Christmas getting ever closer, magazines and newspapers are stuffed with all manner of food-related features and fillers so there’s certainly plenty of inspiration out there. The closing date is 15th January 2017 so you’ve still got time to let your imagination marinate and come up with something that whets the judges’ appetite.
Until next week…
Author: Diana Nadin
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