Posts Tagged Helen Yendall

No one understands me …

… like another writer.

Everyone knows that writing is a lonely business, a solitary pursuit that is not for those who need other people around them.

I don’t mind being alone with my computer or notepad – I quite like my own company. But some sort of evolutionary process has made us humans into social beings who, occasionally, need interaction with like-minded people.

And ‘like-minded’ can be the difficult bit. I have a lovely family but they are not writers and have no interest in the literary world, bar a library book to read before bed. So it’s difficult to share with them the ups and downs of a writer’s life.

I don’t tell my husband about every rejection I receive or every competition in which I fail to even make the short-list. He’d probably ask me why I was bothering to write anything at all. But, to justify the time I spend at the keyboard, I do tell him in great detail about every success, however tiny. But that doesn’t count as an interaction with a like-minded person.

That’s why it’s so liberating when I get to meet up with another writer, especially one who shares the same interests as me. How good it is to talk to someone who knows the difference between a story for People’s Friend and one for Take a Break. How nice it is to see the sympathy in someone’s eyes when you tell them about the rejection of a story that you were sure had been absolutely perfect for your chosen market.  And how great to share news of a success!

And it’s absolutely wonderful to talk to someone who doesn’t see writing as your little ‘eccentricity’ that you are indulging in now that the children are almost grown-up.

I’m very lucky in having a great writing buddy in Helen. Last week we had our quarterly catch-up and target-setting. Back home I’m thinking I was too ambitious in my targets – probably caused by the over-enthusiasm generated by talking to another writer.  But never mind – it will do me good to aim high.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a virtual friend in person for the first time. I got to know Sharon via this blog and discovered she lived in the same town where I was brought up. So last time I was in the area we met for coffee. Sharon runs Fiction Addiction – an online critique group for womag writers. It was good to put a face to a name and share the trials and tribulations of trying to get published!

So how do you feed the need to share the frustrations and joys of writing? Are you lucky enough to have a like-minded partner or maybe you let off steam on a writers’ forum?

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Iain Pattison

Whatever type of writing you do, there’s a lot to be learned from reading the output of those ‘further up the ladder’ and findingIain Pattison out about their working methods.

Iain Pattison is a prolific short story writer and has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. Twist endings are one of his specialities. He is also the author of Cracking the Short Story Market which covers all aspects of short story writing.

So it is fair to assume that Iain’s work and advice is worth reading if you are writing short fiction. Iain is currently one of the featured writers at The Word Hut. There’s an interesting interview with him here in which he reveals his background, views on the growing ease of self-publishing plus a bit of sensible advice for budding writers. The site is also showcasing one of his winning stories An Ugly Way To Go – have a read, it will make you smile.

If Iain’s writing and advice inspire you to pick up a pen or put fingers to keyboard, then The Word Hut are running a short story competition for stories up to 1000 words, closing date 13th May 2012.

Or you might like to try writing a piece of flash fiction including the words knit, blunder, perform and tingle. Helen Yendall is running this competition on her blog and full details can be found here. The prize is a copy of Linda Lewis’ brand new book  ‘The Writer’s Treasury of Ideas’  and the closing date is 9th May 2012.

Good Luck and, in the wise words of Iain Pattison, “Keep churning out work. Be a word factory. Soon as you’ve finished one story, start another.”

P.S. Iain is judging the Writers’ Bureau Short Story Competition this year (first prize £500 and closing date 30th June 2012).

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Novel-writing Starter Kit with Martin Davies

If you live within reach of Derby you might be interested in the Novel-writing Starter Kit being run by Martin Davies.

It’s at Mackworth Library on Saturday January 29th, 10:00 am until 3:45 pm and costs £25, including tea and coffee. According to the web-site, the workshop ‘will help you address some of the challenges of novel-writing – from planning and structure to plot and characterisation. Most of all, it will help you tackle some of those anxieties that make it so hard to get started’.

For full details and how to book click here.

It sounds like a good way to kick-start writing in 2011. I shall be going and it would be great to meet some of you there – let me know if you decide to sign-up.

Many thanks to Helen Yendall for telling me about this workshop and a reminder that time is running out to win the pile of writing books on offer at her blog. All you have to do is leave a comment on Helen’s blog by clicking here – it needn’t be deep and meaningful, just a few words agreeing or disagreeing with one of her posts – and you will go into the prize draw.

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