Monday, 27 June 2011

Want to write short stories for the women's magazine market?

And live in the Northampton area?

Then I strongly recommend you get yourself over to my good friend Helen Hunt's blog to find out more about the workshops she's organising this year.

Not only is Helen a brilliant journalist (the article she wrote about my route to publication was featured on the front cover of Writers Forum magazine!) but she's had fiction published by all the major women's magazines and really knows her stuff.

Get yourself over to her blog right now before all the places on the workshop are snapped up!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Keeping the Balls in the Air: guest blog by Lucy Felthouse

I'm delighted to welcome another guest blogger to 'Writing about Writing'. Please welcome Lucy Felthouse, erotic author extraordinaire!

Keeping the Balls in the Air

Firstly, thanks to Cally for letting me loose on her blog! Today, I'm going to be talking about juggling. Of course I don't mean the thing they do in circuses, I'm talking writing and making sure you're keeping on top of everything you need to do.

I'm sure most people can identify with this, whether they're writers or not. But as Cally's blog is entitled 'Writing about Writing' – I'm taking that theme and sticking with it. *g*

My 'day job' in itself is always a juggle. I do PR, Marketing and Web Design for writers. Therefore I'm always juggling clients and their requirements. I'll work my way through my inbox, making sure everyone is getting what they want and need... then another email will pop up. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining as it's work and it pays the bills, but organisation, time management and lots of lists are required to keep all the balls in the air.

As well as all that going on, I have my own writing to do. Primarily I'm a short story writer, though I'm hoping to move into longer pieces this year. As a short story writer, I often have deadlines for when calls for submissions end. I have to slot these deadlines in around my 'day job' work and make sure I'm writing as many stories as I can and sending them off, as well as keeping my clients happy.

Then when good things happen – I get an acceptance – promotion is another item which jumps onto the to do list. So I'm writing blog posts, updating my website, Facebooking, Twittering and generally making sure people know I have something new available. I know lots of writers hate the promo side of things (which is why I started my business!), but I'm lucky in that I enjoy it and have fun doing it.

As a result of all this, I always have rather a lot of juggling to do. However, it keeps me busy and happy, and the days whizz past in a blur of crossing things off lists, sending emails and updating admin documents. I sometimes sail a little close to the wind with deadlines, but I'm a people-pleaser, so as long as I'm keeping everyone happy – all is good!

I'm sure lots of people can identify with all of this, so at least I've just shown you, you're not alone! Just keep juggling – the payoff will be immense!

Tips for Juggling

  1. Make lists with the most important/urgent things at the top. Crossing things off the list will give you a sense of achievement and keep you focussed.
  2. Learn to love spreadsheets. They're easy to update and you can use them to sort tasks by date, and add little notes for yourself. I colour code mine; red for to-do and green for complete.
  3. Keep your emails organised – I have folders for various projects and clients and I only move emails to folders or delete them when they've been dealt with. That way I know the ones in my inbox are 'to do.'
  4. Learn to say no. If you're already dealing with tons of things and someone asks you to do something, be honest. It's OK to say no, or 'not yet.' Most people would prefer you to say you'll do something, but not yet, rather than you say yes and they expect it quickly. We're only human and can only do so much. It's much better to deal with things one at a time and get it right, rather than taking on too much and making mistakes.
  5. Write things down. This may sound obvious, but write everything down. I always have a notebook by my side as I may have an idea for something which I can't deal with right at that second, but would like to tackle later. But if you don't write it down, you run the risk of forgetting all about it. The same thing goes with conversations with people, you may agree to do something for someone, but if you don't write it down and it wasn't on an email, it could slip away.

Lucy Felthouse is a writer, editor, marketer, PR and web wizard. You can find out more about her writing at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk and her business, Writer Marketing, at http://www.writermarketing.co.uk.

Her latest release, erotic short story A BIT OF ROUGH is available from Noble Romance now: https://nobleromance.com/Books/282

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Well Nice was 'nice'!

I'm back! And I'm in Bristol! The move went really smoothly and, for the first time EVER, I've got my own office/study. I'm inordinately pleased, even if I do have to share it with the washing machine and the ironing board (they're reasonably behaved roommates, although the washing machine does enjoy a good grumble in the corner of the room occasionally!)

My photos are up, my 'how to write' books are in place and I've put up my pin/white board and wiped it clean, ready to fill up with lots of Project B plottings. Quite frankly I couldn't be happier!

I had a fabulous time at the writers' retreat in Nice too. I had a lovely room with a great view of the tree-filled valley, wrote lots of notes on Project B (including filling out a character questionnaire Julie, our tutor, gave us) and swam in the pool daily.


The weather was glorious and I only wish we'd had more than 4 days there. Although it was a screenwriting retreat all the exercises we did (an hour a day) were relevant to novel writing too and I got a lot out of it (including a tan!). Julie sends out a monthly newsletter full of fantastic free tips and exercises that can help nudge the old grey matter so do sign up if you're interested. Her website is: http://www.ink-inc.co.uk/

Project B still needs a LOT more thought and plotting and planning before I can get started but that's fine, I LOVE this stage of novel writing. Thank goodness for the notes facility on my mobile because ideas are jumping into my head all the time.

What else? Oh, there was lovely news waiting for me when I got back - 'Heaven Can Wait' is going to be published in Serbia!

Next on my agenda is the RNA conference in Newport in July. I've been to a few RNA parties but never to the conference and I'm really excited. I've picked the sessions I'm attending and my inbox is full of introductory 'hello I'm a conference newbie too' emails (Anna Scanams kindly arranged the introductions). I'm particularly looking forward to Linda Gillard's workshop on improving descriptive writing (I love dialogue, loath descriptive writing!), Liz Fielding's session on blending humour with emotion and Rachel Summerson's talk on creating characters we can believe in.

Anyone else going?