If I didn’t win does that make me a loser? (NYP Award)

So, I didn’t win. A lovely guy called Robert Williams did, and you know, he seemed ace which makes it very easy to wish him well. I look forward to selling his book, which I believe is a novel for young adults . The other 2 on the shortlist were also fab (Helen Raymond and Anya Stern) and it was a pleasure to meet them. The evening was tense though. I had to go to Shaftesbury Avenue for the ‘do’ in a club. It was worrying entering the unknown, going through a nondescript wee door, and climbing the stairs to who knew what. I was given a name badge, and entered a room where clusters of people were chatting and drinking. I felt very stupid, nervous and out of place and hastened to a corner. It’s hard to mingle when you feel small and uninteresting! I didn’t want to drink in case I got silly, and I couldn’t eat because I felt too nervous. Anyway, the announcement was eventually made, and I honestly had no expectation that the winner would be me so it was fine, and I smiled and applauded and was finally able to relax. A lovely bonus was that the 3 runners up were given consolation prizes of Book Tokens, which I will have enormous fun spending. (I have a serious pile up in the Staff reservations cupboard.)

Random bits:

One of the judges was Adele Parks and she was bubbly and friendly, and went out of her way to put us at ease and give advice and lots of ‘well dones’.

I can’t believe that for much of my adult life I worked in central London. I only moved a couple of years ago, and already I find it scary with its big, busy, briskness!

The stars outside my house tonight when I got home were so bright and clear I looked up in absolute awe and knew how tiny I am on this spinning planet.

The worst thing about tonight is going to be telling people that I have lost, and them saying never mind, you did really well to get that far, and me saying yes, I truly know that, and them thinking, oh, she’s really upset, and me knowing that I’m not, but also knowing that nobody will believe that and it all being a bit embarrassing instead of the huge whoo hoo ness that it was before they found out that I didn’t win. Does that make any sense at all?

This is how it goes…

This writing I do is not all I am, it is a massive part of me, and without it I feel wrong, but it is not all. I have children, a husband, work, parents, friends, relatives. There are many demands on my time and I squish the writing into spaces in-between. Sometimes the spaces are wide and deep, and I can immerse myself in words, communicating, learning, progressing. Other times the spaces are almost too wee. For the last week or so I haven’t found any space at all. Then I lose my rhythm, and my words seem frozen. I have to begin again at chipping away.

So yeah, lengthy way of saying hi, I haven’t been around.

Oh, and I haven’t been around the blogs either, which has made me realise how addicted to this internet world I am!


I love writing. I love reading. I love telling stories. I love words. It’s my thing. Most people have a thing, whether it’s a love of art/music/film or a need to make minute sculpture, or juggle or garden, or…well, anything. Words are my thing. The essence of it is my desire to communicate I suppose. I write something and I am telling a story, and sending it out to strangers, because I want my story read. Sometimes they see something good in it, they like it, they want it, understand it. And I feel elated, understood and validated. Other times they see something in it that I was unaware was there. They may tell me they thought the way I did x or y was clever/funny or some such, and I will be amazed at this. I haven’t known that it was there, I don’t feel I can take credit for it as it was unconsciously placed. It is magic. That too feels wonderful.

But these words sent out with hope sometimes are ignored, or worse yet, rejected. I enter a competition, and I dream of winning, or of maybe being in the top 3 say, and I get nowhere. It is a rejection. Or I submit a story, and hear back, no thanks, try again. I feel despondent, untalented. They didn’t like my words, so they weren’t good enough words, so I’m not a good enough writer. And I tell myself over and over that reading is subjective, and what one person loves another finds leaves them cold. I know I should just send that story right back out, but I don’t. It has failed, I have failed.

It’s a nervy thing, I am trying to face down my fears and submit work. I currently have 3 pieces out somewhere.

Checking my emails makes me anxious.

The winners of the Pulp.Net/Bloomsbury competition were notified today. Not me then. Ho hum.


My husband is not much of a reader, one book a year is about his limit, plus a couple of wrestling magazines and graphic novels and a gazillion reprts on dementia and elders. He is smart as anything, a fabulous musician, an expert in his field, just not into reading for fun. Anyway, he looked at a couple of bits I have written recently and said ‘There’s a definite theme to everything you write,” which instantly had me intrigued. I’d love to know what my recurrent theme is.
He said “It’s like here’s a gorgeous juicy apple, oh, but wait, it’s full of maggots!”


Having a blast.

I have been very busy, but pleasingly so. Hurrah.

The online writer’s group I have joined is rather inspiring. We had a “Blastette” last Friday, which was a day of writing to prompts. I said I’d do 10, which proved much harder than I had anticipated, despite being allowed to make the pieces as long or short as one wished.

What fun tho’. I have never written flash fiction before this group, but writing instantly to prompts is astonishing in how it magically seems to cause characters and voices to bubble up from ones mind. I created a pervy poet, a grief stricken widow, a frustrated housewife, an evil boy, a scared teenager (also male), a romantic old lady…

I don’t think that these are characters I would necessarily choose to write, but one or two of them I may try to expand on. Brilliant fun reading other peoples work too, knowing they were creating at the same time, reading the same prompts and writing them alongside me.

Summer holidays are looming and I want to keep on writing as much as possible so as not to lose momentum. It’s difficult when the boys are home, but due to the wonder of Playstation I may be able to squeeze some bits in here and there!

Well that’s a blooming shame then.

Susan Hill has said that there will be no further Long Barn Books First Novel competitions. This follows on from an announcement that she made saying that the deadline for this years comp was to be extended in order to try to find 5 – 6 of sufficient quality for the short-list. Apparently, disgruntled writers complained that having entered the competition they felt this statement was derogatory and unfair. Scott Pack is one of the judges and highlighted the issue on his blog, (well he has a big mouth y’know, ha ha.) This was A BAD THING apparently, and some people bitched and moaned, and now, well there is no competition for them/us to enter next year.

Although I didn’t submit to this I do know how crushing it is to not be picked, to not win, to not have the world beat down ones door in awe at ones talent, but, it comes with the territory does it not? Trying to get published is not a great process, but Susan Hill doesn’t seem to be the right person to be getting pissed at. What about all the faceless, blogless, nameless people who writers submit precious work to and never hear anything from? Or all the other competitions whose selection process remains a mystery to us, we just eventually learn we weren’t successful when googling for the umpteenth time with that faint glimmer of hope still flickering inside. Seems unfair to me.

Being disappointing.

I have been writing this week and last. Health and a shitty pc have combined to pretty much put paid to creating recently, it’s good to be back putting words down, shaping stories. My new MacBook is gorgeous, my health is bumpy but I am trying to relax about it, I’m not dying, just poorly, it’s going to flare up and down and I have to learn to roll with it rather than fight it and ultimately suffer more. I need to rest when my body can’t cope, and plan and manage my time accordingly.
I had 2 big things looming that I wanted to submit work to. I wasn’t ready for either truthfully, but I have done my best with the time I had available to me. I just submitted the 2nd of the 2 pieces, and I thought I would feel a buzz of achievement, knowing that I managed to not let the dates slide by whilst I sat here making excuses. I don’t though. I feel extremely low. Those 2 stories aren’t going to do anything for me, I already know that they aren’t good enough. If I haven’t even the thrill of hope it’s rather sad.

And that leads me to question if the small success I have had with my writing is all there is, or if perhaps I am learning more about my craft and so am more able to identify weak writing.

It’s so frustrating to know that I wrote some good stuff, but some of it wasn’t up to scratch, and I couldn’t sustain the quality tthroughout.

Exercise and writing.

Hmmm, this week I have worked out that writing is, to me, very much like exercise.
I don’t want to do it. It’s hard work. I don’t feel like it. I don’t wanna. Whinge. But, when I do it, when I push through and get to it, whoo, afterwards, I. Feel. Good. When I don’t write, I feel wrong (hee, didya see what I did there…)

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