How successful was February?

Another month has passed in a blur of editing, submitting material and learning about earning from writing through broker websites.2014-02-13 19.44.40-4

At the moment it is an uphill climb but I will push on regardless. So let’s take a look at what I did this month to get me nearer to my goal of £3,000.

1. Found a free short course on twitter from Maggie Linders about making money from your writing. It ran over about five days and she even tweeted me to wish me luck and let her know if I had any questions. The course was really useful and I downloaded her e-book for additional information ( “Freelance Writing Riches: From Earning Immediate Income to Replacing Your Day Job”)
– all helpful! Thanks Maggie

2. Edited and sent off a short stage play for a competition run by The Windsor Fringe.

3. I have recently decided to grow my own fruit and vegetables with the help of Grow Your Own magazine. I have made notes of my progress under the title The Rookie Gardener and thought it might make a good article for their magazine. After searching their website and magazine pages, I wasn’t sure if they considered submissions so I bit the bullet (really must sort out those clichés) and rang one of the editors, who was really helpful and sounded interested in my idea. Hoorah – I’m so brave.

4. I joined Textbroker and submitted a writing sample but they let you know it could take a few weeks to get back to you. The money for writing articles is pants to begin with but will provide a chance to work on my writing skills.

5. Last month I mentioned joining Viviac – The site where you can get paid for completing surveys, undertaking tasks and writing articles. I submitted my writing sample and was awarded a level 4 – which I think is as high as you can get for the sample – but since then I have checked for writing jobs every day for weeks and there hasn’t been one. I am going to give this site up as it is not worth the effort. An hour of work on some of the tasks will bring your growing profit up by a whole ten pence! Not for me thanks.

6. Have been asked for a quote to finish a biography so I will include that in next month.

As well as the above, I am on the final edit of my novel and hope to get this finished by the end of March.

To all struggling writers, good luck, don’t give up and be brave!

Nearly forgot, total income for February £0 – Not good but I am just setting thing up for later in the year.

 

My Year in Books – Gone Girl

As a writer, I couldn’t help but read the hype from the literary world about this New York Times best selling novel from Gillian Flynn.

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Gone Girl is one of the best—and most frightening—portraits of psychopathy I’ve ever read. Nick and Amy manipulate each other—with savage, merciless and often darkly witty dexterity. This is a wonderful and terrifying book about how the happy surface normality and the underlying darkness can become too closely interwoven to separate.

Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of Faithful Place and Into the Woods

The story is told by two unreliable narrators, Nick and Amy Dunne. Amy goes missing on the day of their fifth anniversary and the evidence shows she is probably dead.As the story unfolds and further evidence is revealed,  Nick becomes the main suspect.

cropped-untitled-png-1.pngMy friend had raved to me about how excellent this book was so I downloaded it to my Kindle, tucked myself into bed and began to read.

Half way through the book I found myself skimming to get to a good bit. This wasn’t what I had been expecting. I felt no connection, sympathy or empathy for the main characters therefore I didn’t care what happened to either of them.

I was reassured, by the same friend, that it would improve and I couldn’t deny the excellent prose of Gillian Flynn. If nothing else, I would learn how to be a better writer from this author.

Did it get better in the second half? Yes it did!  The story took on a different form: in the first half of the book the constant change in point of view from Nick to Amy jarred the story flow for me, but it came together in the second half. I rather enjoyed their twisted relationship.

In conclusion, this book did not grip me as much as I had hoped but there is no doubt about the writing talent of Gillian Flynn. Would I choose to read another book by this author? Yes I would.

What did you think?

 

 

IT’S TIME TO TOT IT UP FOR JANUARY

 

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We are at the end of January and I have been working harder than normal , but is it enough?

My goal to earn £3,000 from writing is probably ridiculous but if I had decide on a more reasonable sum of £500, the chance of procrastinating until July would be very real. I work well to a deadline but can be faulted to leaving the majority of the work to the last week or so. The higher amount could not possibly be left to half way through the year so it is a constant bum-kick for me.

So how have I done so far?

JANUARY TOTAL – £70.43

£64 from ghost writing a biography. The client heard I was a writer and wasn’t happy with the person who was currently writing it for him. Hopefully this will continue next month.

£6.43 I joined Viviac. This requires working on tasks etc before you can actually write articles and the money is not good but you can easily fit it in any spare time you have.

I have also sent off a proposal to a dog magazine. I have read several issues and analysed the articles. I have also checked they accept submissions from freelance writers. Wish me luck!

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

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I don’t do new years resolutions anymore because let’s face it at 49 years old, I have made a lot of resolutions to improve myself – anymore improvement would mean I was getting perilously close to being perfect and nobody wants that!
Perfection would mean no flaws that translate to no character – bad for any writer.

I have given myself a writing goal this year and that is to earn £3,000 for articles, stories and the sales of my book. Of course I need to actually get all those things out there first. There is my problem. I love to write but I am pants at getting my stuff out to the right people. So this is what I need to concentrate on.

  • My first stage is to go through the first three months of competitions – provided in a supplement with Writing Magazine. Any more than three months is too much to focus on so I will check out April to June competitions at the end of February. I have checked out the rules and made notes on what I need to do and put the closing date on my computer calendar with a reminder for a week before.
  • My next step is to look out at least five publishers who may be interested in my novel. I have sent it to two so far but as it is chick lit, it has been hard to find a publisher that may be interested. If I haven’t made any progress by July, I think I will publish it myself. I have a sequel which I started during NaNoWriMo so I will give myself a goal to finish the first draft by August.
    I read an article recently which advised that to give your stories or articles the best chance of getting selected for publication; you need to research the magazine thoroughly. I was taught how to do this on my Writers’ Bureau course but it will take up a good part of a day to read through and analyse each magazine – preferably at least three copies of each, but it will be worth it.
    Check out if they accept freelance writer articles, what type of articles/features they include. Do they like lots of photographs? Who is the magazine aimed at? How long is each article? What length are the paragraphs? All these things will help you to get an acceptance for your proposal.
  • The last thing I want to do is focus on one project at a time. Presently, I have stories to edit, my thriller to finish, a play to rewrite and my last assignment for Writers Bureau – 3,000 words of my latest novel, edited of course. And that is just this month! Wish me luck 🙂

Oh by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!

NaNoWriMo and Christmas

It has been almost a month since NaNoWriMo and I must admit to not having done as much as I would like. I blame Christmas! All this shopping, baking, partying, Christmas films and decorating get in the way of my writing. I did, however take a couple of chapters with me when I went Christmas shopping the other day and I managed to edit both whilst having a much needed coffee break. I find that the less time I have, the more I get done.

I am setting myself small goals for each day depending on how busy I know I’m going to be. This way I can give myself the day off if I am going to be partying like a Christmas nutter.

I am also going to have to make time to fit in some extra workouts as all this sitting at the computer and attending Christmas functions is playing havoc with my waistline! Thank goodness for my stand up desk. (I am embarrassed to say that whilst I write this I am sitting on the sofa with a Christmas film on the television – I have been to the gym though).

My new year goal is all about writing. I am still deciding whether to make it monetary, like I must earn £5,000 or maybe just to send out more proposals etc. I will put my thinking cap on (plus, I must read that article on Cliches) and post my intentions in January.

I will try and find out what goals other writers are giving themselves for 2015 and maybe find some inspiration.

NaNoWriMo – How will you use the experience?

Winner-2014-Facebook-ProfileI did it!..again. I managed to slay the procrastination dragon to write 50,000 words in twenty-nine days, whoop, whoop!

I was intending to blog my journey as I did last year but with looking after a poorly boyfriend for three of the weeks, a poorly dog back and forth to the vets and organising an early family Christmas (don’t ask) on 22nd November as well as working, I was a little pushed for time.

So what did I write? I am embarrassed to say that since last year when I wrote 50,000 words on my first thriller novel I had only managed another six thousand since – oh the shame. I decided to write another fifteen-thousand words on this before starting my new novel. This kick started me into the next part of the story and I have now given myself a goal date of January 31st for when the first draft needs to be finished. There, it’s out there in the ether for all to see and judge if I don’t come through.

My new novel is the sequel to my first chick lit novel Wandering on the Treadmill about a personal trainer called Wanda. The new novel follows her story as she stumbles her way through the bizarre world of Hollywood; the working title is Wandering Among the Stars. I laughed a lot during the writing of it so let’s hope it translates onto the page.

How will I use this experience? This year I had more distractions but still managed to pull through. I work really well to a deadline so this is how I am going to manage my whole year for 2015. I am going to post my goals for all to see. I am currently writing a biography  for someone but my other projects need sending out or finishing so I am going to have a think about what I want to achieve and post my intentions in January. Maybe I could give myself a monetary goal? Or that I have to send out a proposal/story every week for the whole year?

Whatever I decide, I am looking forward to the process. I love to write.

Good luck to anyone else who attempted NaNoWriMo this year. Don’t stop now and it would be great if anyone has any other ideas about how you intend to use what you have learned.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

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I did it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo again this year…….What a Nutter!

So now all I have to do is the preparation. I still have the last third of my book from last year but I need a new project, so I have decided to write a sequel to my first novel Wandering on the Treadmill. This one will be based in LA and will be called Wandering Amongst the Stars.  All I need to do now is work on the details of the story and break it down into chapters.

I use Scrivener and find that writing one scene at a time is really helpful for speed writing like NaNo. It allows you to move the scenes around easily. and another handy Scrivener tool is being able to make collections of different plot lines. Plus I can keep a handy note of what I call Chekhov’s Rifles: these are notes to remind me of objects or situations that need using/resolving.

Chekhov said about play writing – Don’t put a rifle on the stage if you have no intention of firing it! (Or something along those lines)

Once that is done, it’s on to batch cooking for the month. Chilli, curry and casseroles all boxed up in the freezer ready to go for when my creative flow won’t allow me to stop.

Luckily, we just had our Halloween party early so that’s one less thing I need to worry about nearer the time.

Anyway good luck to all of you who have dared to take this challenge, I’m off to work on my chapters.

 

 

 

My Year in Books -2014 (3)

The Sword of Moses -Dominic Selwood

Front Cover

Jacket blurb – Dr Ava Curzon is Lara Croft meets Evelyn Salt – the first real challenger to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon. “Rollercoaster crypto-thriller … a ride that thrills and educates … move over Lara Croft ” (Daily Express – Five Star – Pick of the Week) When former MI6 agent turned archaeologist Dr Ava Curzon is engaged by American intelligence to track down an African militia claiming to hold the Ark of the Covenant, she is plunged into a world where nothing is what it seems. Her breakneck descent into the shadowy realm of dark biblical magic hurls her across continents and into the opaque worlds of the Knights Templar, freemasons, occultists, and extremist neo-Nazis, pushing her mentally and physically to the limits. As the plot twists and turns across the centuries, she requires all her skills to solve a trail of ancient clues leading her inexorably towards a terrifying ritual. Taking centre stage, she faces the ultimate battle against an age-old evil she must stop at all costs. Thriller – occult – bible – code – Templar – freemasonry – nazi – archaeology – ark of the covenant.

Those of you who love Dan Brown, will enjoy this book. the author is an historian – and it shows. He has certainly taken care in his research and I love the interesting historical facts which are woven into the story. I did find, however, that on occasion I was pulled from the plot whilst the author ‘showed off’ his knowledge of a place or object – I found this to be true of Dan Brown’s last book too! 

Still, it’s a good story that bounces along nicely and there are plenty of surprises in the plot. The antagonist is a great character – I really hated him! – that is always a sign of good writing.

Would I read more from Dominic Selwood? Yes I would.

To NaNo or not to NaNo?

 

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Last year I was a NaNoWriMo winner as I completed over 50,000 words of my novel in 30 days. The experience not only gave me a push on my new book but I found a writing group, new friends and the opportunity to attend a writers’ seminar about getting my book published.

As NaNo prep approaches, I am trying to decide whether to attempt to finish my novel from last year – not easy as it is 3/4 written but needs fleshing out and finishing – or start on the sequel to my first novel Wandering on the Treadmill. I must admit the freedom that NaNoWriMo gives you to say SOD OFF! to housework, cooking and annoying people who think writing isn’t your main job so it’s not important, is priceless. Plus the support from the NaNo staff and other writers is amazing!

I think I’m going to GO FOR IT. Let’s face it, even if I get 30,000 words done, it will still be 10,000 more than I did in the last year. I haven’t been procrastinating, I’ve been working on a biography for someone, writing assignments for my Writers’ Bureau course (Now finished!) and practicing my short story writing through my writing group promps.

So, it’s decided. Once more into the fray I go in November, armed with chapter notes, a take-away menu and the knowledge that I am not alone. Good luck to any of you out there who are going for it again this year. xx

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Let’s hope I can get another of these this year.

Rejection – Looking for the Positive

Having always been a glass is half full kind of girl, I look for the positive in everything, but is it nature or nurture that fills my glass and allows me to cheerfully accept  yet another rejection?

Following the sudden death of my father at the age of 26, my mother decided the only way she could move forward was to treasure everything good in her life and simply ignore the bad. If I was feeling low, she would hug me and say “Don’t worry darling, something will turn up.” Or “Just be glad you are not someone else worse off.” Of course she was right.

Okay, so a magazine rejected my last article, but I’m glad I took the time to write it. It was good practice and I learned a lot from the research. I write every day and even if I only manage 100 words, by the end of the week my book is 700 words further on than last week. That’s 36,400 words a year! Not quite a finished novel but it’s a good start.

When receiving critique from my tutor or fellow writers, I copy the negative comments into a notebook. I am happy to do this as these are the tools, which will make me a better writer. Positive comments are highlighted and pinned to a board next to my computer providing inspiration in times of doubt.

So when you are at a loss for the right words, remember what a wise woman once said and stop worrying. Something will turn up – it always does.

 

P.s. If it is taking a while, a half glass full of Margarita is always good!

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