As I sat down to write this post, I managed to spill nearly a full cup of coffee all over my desk, my paperwork, my skirt, and my lovely cream carpet (but thankfully not the keyboard). Having spent what now feels like a lifetime soaking up, mopping and drying, I was ready to abandon the post. But, no! We writers are made of sterner stuff. Facing frustration, rejection, dashed hopes at every turn, what’s a spilt cup of coffee? So here goes – my postbag!
The other day, the postman delivered an interesting collection of mail. As well as a clutch of Christmas cards, the following items dropped through my letter box: the latest edition of both The Author and The Woman Writer magazines, my Mslexia diary for 2013, and three white A4 envelopes with my name handwritten – intriguing!
I receive The Author as part of my membership of the Society of Authors, and The Woman Writer as a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Each has a different flavour but both contain interesting information and articles and provide links with other writers. I also subscribe to Mslexia – the magazine for women who write – which provides a range of writing-related articles and helpful information, as well as news about competitions and opportunities for submissions.
I subscribe to Writing magazine as well! The result? I often don’t have time to do more than dip into them all, but there’s so much good stuff in them that I have resolved to make time to read them in more detail.
I did notice in the most recent edition an item on one of my writing buddies, Jo Phillips. I first ‘met’ Jo through email when she was considering self-publishing her novel through Matador and got in touch because she liked the look of Unravelling. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and I am so pleased for her. Jo is very generous with help and information and she writes a wonderful blog full of writing info.
But what about my three white A4 envelopes with the handwritten name? I hope you haven’t forgotten about them! I opened the first and found a very ‘nice’ cheque from West Midlands Readers Network for the story they commissioned me to write as part of the pairing of six regional writers with book groups in the West Midlands. My story is called ‘A Dream Job’ and as I’ve written on my blog before, I found the experience challenging, inspiring and exciting. To receive a cheque is several cherries on top of an already-fruity cake!
The second envelope also contained a cheque, albeit a more modest one. This was my royalties for ‘Unravelling’. As I said, a modest cheque, but still encouraging two and half years after ‘Unravelling’s’ publication to receive royalties.
But the third envelope?! I’ve deliberately saved this one till last. I entered a little alternative Christmas story to a competition at 5 Minute Fiction. The winners and runners-up are all being published online by 5 Minute Fiction as part of their Christmas story series. My story is called ‘How was it for you, Joseph? and you can read it here. If you’ve got a few minutes in these frenetic pre-Christmas days, do take a look. You can even give it marks out of ten! And there’s a story for each day of December to help you while away the hours when you could be making mince pies or drinking champagne. But what about the envelope? I can hear you shouting. What was in the third envelope? THAT was my prize for my success in the competition – a bookmark! Where can I go in 2013 that can possibly challenge such heady success? At least it’s a Shakespeare bookmark and not EL James!