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Success With Poetry Competitions

October 18th, 2019

Let me be clear from the outset, whether or not you win a prize in a poetry competition is entirely down to you and your creative acumen. However, there are definitely ways to increase your chances of success. Picture that moment when you are staring at a list of poetry competitions with generous cash prizes and affordable entry fees, deciding which to enter. It is so tempting to dust off a decent poem (usually no more than 40 lines for maximum opportunity) and then send it in to a zillion competitions, scarcely noticing how much you are spending on your dream. This approach generally results in a tumbleweed return and financial misery! It is even more frustrating when you read the winning entries and conclude that your poem was far superior and must have been overlooked somehow. Sadly, this is unlikely to be true. Read the rest of this entry »




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Libraries Week

October 11th, 2019

This week (7th to 12th October) is Libraries Week and the theme this year is Celebrating Libraries in a Digital World. I think that anything that raises the profile of libraries, supports their work and brings the public’s attention to them is great. When I go into my own library it’s great to see the computer access they provide to people that might otherwise struggle to apply for jobs and benefits and the kind advice that staff often offer. Also, I really value the fact that I can borrow books from the library direct to my Kindle if I don’t have time to pop in, or I run out of reading matter in the middle of the night.

On their site they say: Libraries Week 2019 will celebrate and explore how libraries are engaging communities through technology, building digital skills and confidence, encouraging digital participation and inclusion, supporting health, wellbeing and education and supporting local business and enterprise. Read the rest of this entry »




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Life’s Rich Tapestry

October 4th, 2019

I’ve just returned from a lovely family holiday in Tenerife, and although nothing particularly exciting or unusual happened, I thought I’d mention a writing opportunity for those of you who have been on more exotic holidays recently.

The Telegraph runs a ‘Just Back’ travel writing competition.  There is a weekly prize of £250 in currency from the Post Office, plus the chance to win £1000 if your piece is also selected as the ‘Just Back’ article of the year.

Full terms and conditions appear on their website but entry is free – you just need to email your story in 500 words (text in the body of your email) to justback@telegraph.co.uk Read the rest of this entry »




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Beating Writers’ Block

September 27th, 2019

First, thanks to Sheila for last week’s blog. It was so packed with useful information and I can’t wait to read her latest novel when it comes out at the beginning of next year. 

At some point in their career many writers suffer from the dreaded ‘writers’ block’.  Other writers claim that there’s no such thing!  They say that you don’t get ‘plumber’s block’ or ‘bank manager’s block’ and if you were a staff journalist on a newspaper and complained of writers’ block you’d soon find yourself out of a job.

Also, there are two rather different scenarios.  In the first, you can be part way through a novel or piece of non-fiction and suddenly you’re unable to take it any further.  In the second, you just can’t think what to write about – you’re stuck for ideas and need inspiration (and, perhaps a little boost to your confidence).  The following tips can apply to both Read the rest of this entry »




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Top Tips For Finding A Literary Agent

September 20th, 2019

If you want to be a novelist, sooner or later you’ll face the difficult decision of whether to self-publish or go down the traditional route of finding a publisher. For anyone hoping to find a publisher, it’s highly likely (and, in most cases, advisable) to first seek representation from a literary agent.

Why do you need an agent?

The majority of publishers will not accept manuscripts directly from authors. If you are serious about getting published by a reputable publishing house, you need an agent. Of course, agents do more than just find you a publisher. A good agent acts like your best writing buddy – they support you, help you come up with ideas for books they think will sell, give feedback on your work, negotiate contracts on your behalf and help you build your writing career. Read the rest of this entry »




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