Thursday, 24 December 2015

T'was the night before Christmas ...

Well, the big day is almost finally here. All that preparation, money spent, wrapping paper running out, scissors and sticky tape being lost will, hopefully, be worth it as you settle down tomorrow for your post Christmas lunch snooze on the sofa.

But, hold on a minute, there's no room for slacking in a writer's life! Think of all the opportunities for writing that lie in wait for you in 2016. Just think, if you use the ambiance and experiences of this Christmas to sell articles for Christmas 2016, you might find yourself with a little extra spending money which should help soften the blow in New Year 2017! There's nothing like thinking ahead, is there?

So, my challenge for myself and YOU is to write one article pitch for each of the 12 days of Christmas. Instead of  collapsing on the sofa following a marathon sprout ingestion, try and stay awake long enough to get your Christmas themed article ideas onto paper!

I'm not talking about producing publishing quality full articles here - just quality pitches that editors up and down the country have been yearning for (and possible begged Santa for) all year. Then, when you've edited and polished your pitch to perfection and have submitted them you can sit back and ... no, not stuff your face with left over Christmas pudding,  produce some more quality pitches!

Wouldn't it be great to see some of your efforts this Christmas find themselves in the pages of magazines in Christmas 2016? So lets all give it a bash and see what happens. Do let us know how you get on. I wonder how many of us will do it and actually get an article or two published out of it?

Happy Christmas, now step away from the roast potatoes and get pitching!

Best wishes


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Tying in and tying up loose ends

I haven't been writing a lot of articles recently. But that doesn't mean I haven't been writing! My attention for most of the last year has been on finishing the three WW1 books for Pen & Sword Books which I have now done, give or take a few last minute editor's queries and a proof read or two. Newport in the Great War is due for release at the end of January 2016, with the other two, Kidderminster, and Ludlow in the Great War due out soon after.

I had hoped to write a few articles about the process I went through to complete the books as well as other articles based on the research and the information I uncovered but I didn't want it to distract me from doing the books justice - next year I will be pitching like a writer possessed! Not only will I have three books to flog but I'll also have a WW2 book to research and write as well as my usual short stories. A writer's life is never dull!

I've also been taking stock this week, as I do towards the end of every year, where I am with my writing and where I want to be with it. I don't make any detailed or concrete plans at this stage, as life has a habit of throwing those plans in the bin - I just make a simple list of what I would like to write and then think about the how and when later.

It's good to think about our writing because it's easy to forget the highs when the rejections have been flooding in. Looking back and seeing our victories, however small, can be such a boost to our confidence. I was moaning the other day that I hadn't had many articles published this year until I realised there was a good reason for it. And, actually, I 'd had 12 (one a month) still published in my column in Writing Magazine. I'd also had several short stories published! So, in the grand scheme of things, I'd actually written and had published a lot more than I realised.

Have a look back through your writing year too - you're bound to find some forgotten gems in there. And, if there are not as many gems as you would have liked, have a think about what you can do next year to remedy this.

Here's almost goodbye to a very productive 2015 for me and you, and all the best for your writing in 2016. Do tell us how you got on and what you hope to achieve in 2016 and don't forget to think about how you're going to get there ...

Best wishes