Monday, December 17, 2012

Writing: the ultimate act of optimism!

I love this quote which I recently came across...

Edward Albee is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of famous plays such as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance and Seascape, and he also adapted Truman Capote's Breakfast At Tiffany's for the stage. You can read more about him here.

People often ask me why I write. Sometimes, I ask myself! I think every writer battles more or less constantly with the concern that their words won't matter. We worry that readers will dislike our characters, misunderstand our concepts and - worst of all - hate our created word-worlds. Confidence (both the lack of it and the battle to maintain it) is a major issue.

Over the past few years since becoming a published author, I have had to work hard to recapture the glimpses of audacious self-belief that got me writing in the first place. When it didn't matter - when the only person interested in what happened next was me - there was something strong enough within that convinced me to believe in the story and pursue it. My aim now is to grab those moments whenever I find them and hang on for dear life!

That hope, that rock-steady conviction that my ideas are worth pursuing, that seemingly ridiculous optimism in what I can create, will be the molten steel from which my stories will be moulded. Once poured into shape, that confident hope will set firm to underpin my self-belief for the next stage of my writing, the next story, or the grand unveiling of my ideas to the world.

If you're struggling to believe in your story, print out the quote above and put it somewhere you can see it. Your writing matters - so be optimistic!

Friday, December 14, 2012

BIG plans for 2013...

2012 has been a fantastic year for me... moving house, marrying my lovely Bob and launching my fourth novel When I Fall in Love. It's going to be a tough one to top, but I have some exciting news about what I have planned for 2013...

The first big bit of news is that 2013 will see the return of The New Rose Prize for unpublished writers! I'm planning to extend the competition to include separate prizes for Crime, Literary, Romantic Comedy and YA short stories, plus for the first time I'm adding a First Chapter award for the most impressive first chapter of a novel (open genre). I'm so excited to be bringing this competition back after a cracking opening year in 2011, which was won by Naomi Frisby. There will be a stellar line-up of judges and awesome prizes. Submissions will open on 1st May and close on 31st August, with the shortlist announced on 6th September and winners announced on 20th September. Keep watching this blog and my website for more details coming soon!

I've been planning this for a long time and next year will finally see the launch of my brand new Company of Dreamers Writing Inspiration Courses. I'm a big believer in the wealth of writing talent out there and I want to support and inspire writers, regardless of where they are in their writing journeys. The first course I will run (starting in February 2013) is a 4-week online course, which will feature two emails from me per week, packed with ideas, writing challenges and inspiration to get your creative juices flowing, help you out of writers' block and encourage you to love your story. I won't tell you how to write a novel (I'm still learning that myself!) but I will show you how to connect with your writing, love what you do and, most importantly, believe in yourself. The first course will be available for the introductory price of just £60 (usual price £75). To register your interest for this course, email me:
The final bit of news is that I am planning to launch a very special programme in 2013 to inspire and encourage five new writers. My FUTURE STARS programme will see me work with the writers for a whole year. Five writers will have me on hand to advise and encourage them, with a personal 30 min phone call per month for 12 months. I'm also planning publisher and agent visits plus invites to my book launch in November. The application process for Future Stars will involve the submission of one chapter of novel, a personal statement and a firm commitment to participate for the whole 12 months. Five places are available: four for the introductory price (if accepted) of £80 for the year (normal price £100) and one applicant will be chosen to receive the course for free as a scholarship. I'm so excited about this and really believe it will be a fantastic opportunity for new writers to experience the world of publishing first-hand. I will officially launch the application process during the first week of January 2013, but if you would like to register your interest in applying, please email me: with 'Future Stars' in the subject line.

Lots more exciting news coming soon, so keep watching!
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