Posts Tagged Sally Quilford

Sally Quilford’s Birthday Giveaways Plus a Catch-up

I’m just back from walking the Cleveland Way (109 miles in 10 gloriously sunny days) and am now chasing my tail trying to catch up on everything! Sally Jenkins, Cleveland Way

Just before I left I had an acceptance from My Weekly. It was for a story I subbed in October 2011 – so never think your story has fallen into a black hole if you get no response!

Also, those lovely people at Readers’ Favourite  have reviewed my non-fiction book A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You A Success. They’ve given it a whopping 5 stars (and I promise, no money changed hands!). Read the review here.

Finally, today is Sally Quilford’s 50th birthday and there are lots of exciting things happening on her blog, including e-book giveaways and a massive prize draw. I’ve joined in the fun and one of Sally’s giveaways is my e-book, Maxine’s Story – The Museum of Fractured Lives. It’s free for today only (11th August) and you can get it directly via Amazon or why not pop over to Sally’s blog and check out all the other goodies too? Her prize draw closes on Friday 16th August but many of the e-book freebies are only valid today.

By the way, if you’re looking for an escapist easy read, take a look at Carole Matthews’ new book, Calling Mrs Christmas. I received a review copy via Carole’s newsletter and it was perfect holiday reading. It took me from the misery of a suicide attempt in a young offenders’ institution to the splendour of Lapland’s famous Ice Hotel. And it was all tied together with a little bit of love …

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5 Word Challenge

Here’s a challenge that my sister-in-law set me at Christmas – I failed miserably but I’m sure you can do better.

Can you create a 5-word sentence where each of the 5 words is exactly the same?

Here’s a clue – the word has 3 different meanings within the sentence, it is used as a verb, a noun and a proper noun. The word is spelt the same each time it is used.

I’ll post the answer on Wednesday (if you use the box on the right to subscribe to this blog via email, the answer will automatically arrive in your inbox as soon as it’s posted – it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time).

In the meantime if you’re running out of inspiration for your writing, take a look at Sally Quilford’s blog. She’s currently running a challenge to write 100,000 words in 100 days – not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for me! But to help those who are up to the challenge she is posting a selection of writing prompts each day. Many of them are quite inspiring and could easily trigger a short story or a poem. Why not nip over there, choose a prompt and get writing!

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48 Minutes to a Magazine Article

This post is being brought to you in association with Sally Quilford’s 48th Birthday Celebrations on August 11th 2011.

Many of us whinge that we don’t have enough time to write. Home and work commitments are always getting in the way -I use this as an excuse for my lack of writing as much as anyone. So, here is a 7 day plan that involves writing for just 48 minutes per day and by the end of it you should have a short article all ready to go.

  • Day 1 – visit a large newsagent and spend 48 minutes finding your market. Look for a magazine that covers something you know at least little about (i.e. write what you know so that the research isn’t too onerous). Check out the list of staff in the front of the magazine and compare to the ‘by’ lines on each article in order to check how much is written in-house and much is freelance provided. Buy the magazine you think you could write something for. (N.B. In a perfect world you would buy 2 or 3 issues of the magazine over a number of weeks/months in order to get a feel for which articles are regular columns and which are the one-off freelance features that we are aiming at) .
  • Day 2 – make yourself a cup of coffee and sit down with a large sheet of paper. Set a timer for 48 minutes and then brainstorm! Dream up as many article ideas as possible for your chosen publication. For example, if you’ve chosen a dog magazine then your list could include ‘How to Choose a Dog Walker’, ’10 Tips for Taking Your Dog on Holiday’  or ‘Famous People and their Dogs’.
  • Day 3 – choose which of the articles shows the most promise and spend 48 minutes writing an outline. Include an introduction (not too long – get straight to the point of the article), each point that you want to make and a conclusion.
  • Day 4 – pitch the idea, via email, to the editor of the magazine. If you want some help on how to put together the perfect pitch have a look at Simon Whaley’s article here
  • Day 5 – start writing the article. If you don’t want to stop after 48 minutes that’s fine – keep going whilst the enthusiasm is high! Hopefully by now you’ll have stopped looking for displacement activities like cleaning out the kitchen cupboards. 
  • Day 6 – finish writing the article. Then find someone to read it aloud to – this will help you spot clumsy sentences, missing words, bad grammar etc. (this bit can be in addition to the 48 minutes since it can involve the rest of the family and therefore isn’t strictly ‘writing time’).
  • Day 7 – spend the last 48 minutes having a final read through the article and then, submit !

For the purposes of simplicity I have assumed that the above activities will take place on 7 consecutive days. In reality there will probably be a gap between days 4 and 5 whilst you wait for a response to your pitch (fill this gap by starting work on a second idea). It might also be wise to leave a gap between days 6 and 7 so that you can re-read the article with fresh eyes before sending it off. 

That just leaves me to wish Sally a ‘Happy 48th Birthday’ and thank her for the challenge to write a blog post based on ’48’.

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