Who am I?

I am a writing and publishing guru. What I dont know about the market just isn't worth knowing. So what if I'm unpublished? I choose to give other writers the gift of my wisdom and experience* that the other 500,000 writing blogs out there fail to give.
* No actual experience

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Was it Douglas Adams who said "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go whizzing by."

I guess that aspiring writers don't have that luxury. As pointed-out in the previous entry, competitions do not allow the option of a missed deadline. Well, if they do, I certainly haven't found out. Not had the guts to test them.

My goal is to enter competitions. OK, my goal is to win one - or at least to get short-listed. I figure that it looks good on the bio. So most of my creative output has been directed towards competition entry.

The pattern usually goes like this:
1. Find out about a comp., and think "Hmmm, interesting. The deadline's months away. I'll prioritise other comps above it."
2. Two weeks before deadline: "Oooh, deadline's approaching ... better start thinking about it".
3. Ten days before deadline: "OMG. Panic time. The cupboard's bare. I have nothing to write. About anything in general and that topic in particular. I can't enter this competition. It's too hard/ not enough time/ I have nothing that fits."
4. Nine days to go. Stop dead in tracks: "Hey - what about......" Smiles. I think I've got something!
5. Next few days: Write like crazy. Waaay over the word limit. Tears hair. Maybe I wont...
6. Five days to go: Edit. Cut out lots of words/ scenes/ passages. Swap a few adjectives or metaphors for a single well chosen word.
7. Four days to go "This is crap. It stinks. How can I tell my beautifully developed story wtih only xxxx words?"
8. Three days to go. "Slash and burn. This character can go. Character y can take over role"
9. Two days to go. "This is my final edit. I swear, I won't tinker with anything, anything at all."
10. On the day: "Ok, I'll tweak this. Now, email and be damned! Press SEND. Try to forget about it.
11. Following day: Hey - here's another comp. When's the deadline again?


  1. Have you seen this site that keeps up with contests for writers?


  2. Thanks for dropping by, Stephanie.
    No, hadn't seen that web-site til you pointed it out. What a great resource!
    So many comps, so little time.

  3. While your process doesn't allow for much time to make your work better through lots of editing, it also doesn't allow time to make it worse through too much tinkering.

    Here's what I believe: There are people who make their work a little better each time they edit, but who will, sadly, never reach a point where their work is good (publishable) no matter how much they edit. Often, these folk are never "done." But for those who write well, over-editing is the biggest threat. Let it go already, while it still feels fresh and exuberant.

    Your contest procrastination strategy forces a writer to let go, maybe even before they think it's time -- and that, to my mind, can be a very good thing.

  4. @ Phoenix
    You're right, over-editing can be like an over-sized committee. Too many opinions, too much hot air, too many compromises. You end up with a camel when you were aiming for a horse.

    However, when there's a word-limit to adhere to, that editing process is a neccesity. Comps have been helpful in that way, I've had to be ruthless and choose one event to tell the reader everything they need to know about a character or situation. As a newbie, I've found that the discipline of adhering to a word limit and deadline has really helped me to become more efficient.

    Letting-go after an intense, obsessive write/ rewrite cycle is quite a relief.

    Now, I just have to apply what I've learnt to a sadly neglected WIP novel.