New Year’s Resolutions…or maybe not

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions for two reasons – both related to the fact that they have to be made public. Firstly, when you say aloud something that you really want to do, it can sound impossible to achieve or just stupid – and that is a bad way to start. Secondly, once everyone knows that you’re training for a marathon or writing a novel, they will keep asking how you are doing. This is fine when things are going well but it’s awful to have to own up if you’re struggling. So I am going to keep my own aspirations to myself this year and instead I’ll just share a few mini-goals that I’ve put on my ‘Writing To Do List’ fot the first part of 2012:

  • Enter all 4 of Eddie Walsh’s Emerald Writing Workshops 500 word story competitions plus the 4 sentence story. I intend to send them all together in one envelope (saving money on stamps!) before the first closing date of 28th February 2012. I’ve already drafted most of them – I just need an idea for the story set on a train…
  • Enter Della Galton’s competition for a 250 word story about a New Year’s resolution that went wrong. The prize is a copy of her new book ‘Moving On’. Closes 10am Jan 4th.
  • Enter The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2012 competition. Stories on the theme of ‘Identity’ of up to 2,000 words. Closes 14th February 2012. I really fancy the prize – £500 plus an Arvon course.
  • Enter the Swanwick 2012 competition for a story or article on the theme ‘A Sense of Duty’. First prize is a week at the Swanwick summer school. Closes 30th April 2012. I fancy there will be fewer entrants in the article section but at the moment I’m struggling to come up with an idea.

Finally, (following yet another rejection from Take a Break’s Fiction Feast) I am going to stop banging my head against a brick wall on markets that my writing is obviously not suited for.

Happy New Year to you all – and thanks for sticking with me through 2011!


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  1. #1 by Keith Havers on December 28, 2011 - 10:09 pm

    Congratulations on being one of the winners on the 4 sentence story. Mine didn’t even get a mention.
    Good luck with the resolutions.

  2. #2 by Alison on December 29, 2011 - 6:10 am

    Good Luck that sounds like a lot of writing for 2012.
    I will look forward to reading all the winning articles/stories

    • #3 by Sally Jenkins on December 29, 2011 - 9:55 am

      Keith – thanks and there’s always next year to try again in the 4 sentence story.
      Alison – I can’t guarantee I’ll produce any winning entries, but where there’s hope…

  3. #4 by blogaboutwriting on December 29, 2011 - 10:00 am

    Sally – thanks for sharing these – some interesting stuff. I agree with you about TAB. I feel l’ve been banging my head against a brick wall with them too so I’m going to concentrate on areas where I have had some success – and hopefully can have some more – in 2012!

  4. #5 by Tracy Fells on December 29, 2011 - 10:15 am

    Nice to see you among the top 3 for 4 sentence competition – liked The Perfect Murder!
    I feel the same about women mag stories – to date I’ve only had rejections. Not sure if goal should be to focus on one mag and really go for it, or simply accept it’s not the right market for my fiction. If your writing works elsewhere then that’s probably a good sign of where to focus.
    Happy New Year!

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on December 29, 2011 - 10:21 am

      Tracy & Helen, it seems that some writers just ‘click’ with the requirements of a particular magazine. I met one womag writer who has had lots of success with TAB but can’t get anything past Jill Finlay at The Weekly News. Her tip to me was to include children in TAB stories – but my latest rejection had a little girl in it and still no success…

  5. #7 by Debbie on December 29, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    Good luck with all your comps and best wishes for the New year!

  6. #8 by susanjanejones on December 29, 2011 - 4:54 pm

    Hi Sally, that perfect murder was a good story in 4 sentences. I agree with you on focusing on areas where your work clicks. I seem to get nicer rejections now than I did at one time, from the womags, I’m focusing on People’s Friend at the moment. I don’t think there’s any secret formula, they simply want a great story with loveable characters. Good luck with all your writing and Happy New Year.

    • #9 by Sally Jenkins on December 29, 2011 - 9:17 pm

      Debbie & Susan – Good Luck to both you two, too. Let’s hope that 2012 is successful for all of us!

  7. #10 by wightrabbit on December 30, 2011 - 9:02 am

    Congratulations on your winning story – it sent shivers down my spine! And thanks for all the useful information you post, I find it – and the comment threads it provokes – very interesting and helpful. Looking forward to reading more of your work in 2012!

    • #11 by Sally Jenkins on December 30, 2011 - 11:59 am

      Wightrabbit – hope I can live up to expectations in 2012! Very best wishes to you for the New Year. At the moment my PC is on its last legs & is about to be carted off for repair – so things will be a bit quiet on the blogging front, but I haven’t disappeared for ever!

  8. #12 by Julia on January 2, 2012 - 4:29 pm

    I agree that resolutions are best kept to oneself. This year I’m going to focus on leading a life that is generally kinder to myself and those around me – a bit more fun and a bit less self-inflicted stress.

    • #13 by Sally Jenkins on January 3, 2012 - 1:14 pm

      That sounds a lovely frame of mind to be in, Julia.

  9. #14 by loutreleaven on January 4, 2012 - 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the Swanwick reminder – I’ve linked to it on my blog as it’s one of the rare occasions when you can enter a children’s short story! Off to draft my entry now.

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