Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Bea-ing Uncertain

One of my New Year Resolutions Bea-ing Resolved was to join a writing group. So far I have discovered three groups that meet locally. I have visited one, am due at another next week and still have to decide whether to look at the third. What seemed like a good idea at the beginning of the year doesn’t feel that way now. Why am I so uncertain? And how will I know when I find the right one?

One of my reasons for being part of a writing group is to socialise with like-minded individuals; the other is to seek advice on whether a particular piece of writing is good enough for submission. I already achieve both of these online.

I am a member of an online writing group, Fiction Addiction, which is wonderfully supportive. Mostly the stories we share and critique are intended for the womag market. Because they understand that market, I trust the members to tell me whether a particular story is working.

Socially, I ‘attend’ a weekly Twitter meet-up with fellow writers. (Each Wednesday evening, from 8pm to 9pm UK time, use the hashtag #writingchat to find us.) We talk about writing topics generally. There is usually a theme to start the conversation. It’s rather like walking into a crowded party where there are dozens of conversations happening. With Twitter you can flit in and out of them all. It’s fun, interesting and usually makes me laugh out loud.

So if I already have a critique group and a social circle, what extra benefits am I looking for by attending a local group? It would be good to meet real people who understand what it is to be a writer; to know that I am not alone with my computer; to be challenged and stimulated; to stretch myself and my writing beyond its narrow genre confines. I know it will take me time to feel comfortable with new people, enough to lay bare my sensitive writing soul.

I’ve never been a member of a local writing group before so am not sure what to expect. Are you a member of a writing group? If so, what benefits do you find there? Any advice for me?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Bea-ing Tutored

I have some exciting news to report this week. I am a runner-up in The Writers Bureau 2016 Writer of the Year awards! You can find the link here.

I became a student of The Writers Bureau by chance. In November 2013 I entered a competition on their website to write a 500 word factual piece about Guy Fawkes. I won, and my prize was a free subscription to their Non-Fiction Writing course.

Completing the various assignments and taking on board the feedback from my tutor (the excellent Simon Whaley) has helped to improve my writing skills, not just limited to non-fiction writing. I am grateful to The Writers Bureau, and to Simon for his patience.

But being taught how to write is not enough. It has to be more than a passive exercise. The challenge is to apply those lessons: to write and submit, to accept the inevitable rejections, then to write and submit again.

The great thing is, the more I write, the more I learn. And if I have fun and earn some cash whilst I’m doing it, then what’s not to like?

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Bea-ing Successful

I enjoy writing my short stories and articles and flash fiction, I really do. Selling a piece of work and seeing it published is such a thrill. I celebrate each success, no matter how small, as each one spurs me on to write more.

But sometimes a little variety is good. So if the writing isn’t coming so easy to me, I do something different. I write letters to readers’ pages of magazines, I send in cute photographs of the family pets, I submit gardening tips, I enter competitions.

It’s a bit of fun and provides light relief from the intensity of research and drafting and editing. It can prove quite lucrative too. Last year I won several cash prizes, free magazine subscriptions, tea caddies, pots and pans and also some high street and gardening vouchers.

I didn’t do any writing during the Christmas period but I did enter a competition on Facebook for a camping themed Christmas decoration and was delighted to win. Look what arrived today!

My prize!

What is the best prize you’ve ever won?