Are you ready to reach for the stars?

Well, maybe the stars are a bit high, but how about a place to stretch your talents? Sometimes it’s good to take a leap and jump off in the deep end. Yes, I know putting your writing out for someone to judge is scary. Make that downright terrifying. Pee your pants, bite your nails, sick to your stomach terrifying. But the rewards are so worth the effort.

No, you won’t win every time. In fact the odds are not in your favor. However, so often the judges are kind enough to send a brief critique with their rejection. That is a win too. Just remember that even for the non-cash prize, ezine publications, there are thousands of writers entering each contest. I’m not saying that to discourage you, but to put things in perspective.

Not all of the contests pay cash prizes or any prize at all, but that shouldn’t stop you from entering, nor should the fact your entry is but one of many. The experience helps us grow as writers.

So, if you’re interested, here are a few contests to get you started. Remember, read and follow the rules. Check and recheck for typos. I know that sounds elementary, but everyone makes mistakes. Believe me, I know.

American Short Story Fiction

Hint Fiction

Flash Fiction Chronicles

Raymond Carver Short Story Contest at Carve Magazine 

New Pages (a source for submissions)

Nano Fiction

Press 53

Glimmer Train

 WOW Women on Writing (love this contest, get great feedback from judges)

 Maybe, you’re looking for a market place to sell your work check out Brainstorms & Bylines 

Or WOW Women on Writing job board. 

 Also Check out Story Dam or Julia’s Place for writing prompts to get your juices flowing.

If you have a favorite contest or website, let us know.

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Keep that first thrill alive

You love, obsess, and write. With a little luck, a lot of sweat, blood and tears, maybe, just maybe, others will read and love your precious manuscript too.

I love to write. My husband loves the game of golf. Writing and golf have nothing in common, unless you take a peak at the inbox on our computers. As any crazy person does, we both obsess over ways to improve our craft. The result, our cup runneth over in the form of more information than either of us can process.

The running joke around our house is, did you delete or read?

This got me to thinking how these “tips” seem to run in trends, following the same subject. Which leads me delete more than I read. I mean, how many emails can I read on comma splices. See my point? Then came my ah-ha moment. Why do I pick one particular email, click open to a blog and read amid a sea of others on the same subject? What makes it different?

It’s the author’s tag or hook line.

Now I can see all y’all seasoned writers shaking your heads. Big deal you’re thinking. Everyone knows about tag lines. You like me have read everything there is to know concerning how to hook the reader. But sometimes we all need reminders. Tag lines are important for our blogs, books and emails.

Tag lines, and first lines matter. Hell, firsts of everything matter. Think of all the firsts your and the weight of importance they held your life. Your first love, kiss, date, dance, job, sex, car, roller coaster, high dive, beer, well you get the idea.

Firsts are important and my ah-ha moment came in realizing that first encounters with my readers must, be a good first for them. No make that a great first for them. Not sure my writing can compete with sex and beer, but I’m gonna try to step up my game and keep the thrill alive. I can’t think of anything scarier than putting myself out there to publish or perish. Yikes!

Here are some links to a few tips I opened. Enjoy, I did.

Choose Wise Guides

Put Passion in Your Writing 

Danger of Premature Editing

Just the Right Word

Use a Magazine to Improve

Should You Enter Contests?

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Separating the chaff

I’ve noticed more and more everyone appears to be on the same wave length. Not that I mind, because my in-box is overflowing with knowledge. However, I try and pick out the nuggets. As with all trends this one will soon fade and another take its place. So, I’m making notes and hope I won’t forget which file I’ve stashed all this wealth.

I’ve not had a lot of time to write, life happened, but I’m reading and studying. Maybe you’ll find some of these nuggets helpful too.

There are tons more, but these offered something unique. If you’ve found a post, that has helped you in your writing, let me know. Let’s pass it on.

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Do it For Pleasure

My novel stalled over the summer, but then I remembered why I’d started this book. It began as a project for my granddaughters. A recent conversation with one of them prompted me to get off my procrastinating duff and get busy. I’d allowed myself to be sidelined by many of the blogs and self-help articles on how to write, sell and publish.

 My Inbox filled to overflowing, reading one after another, soon I’m sucked in, and the day is gone. Now don’t get me wrong, nine out of ten are terrific and worth reading if that’s how I wished to spend my time, but I’ve got a novel to write.
Since that day things have been progressing much better. I’m still not moving at lightening speed but after the holidays, I plan on no excuses.
After the events in Connecticut yesterday, I’m reminded once more how precious time is and if I’m to finish my novel before my grandkids have kids of their own, I will keep my goal in sight. So, I’ll do my best to remember the only accolades I want or need for this book are the ones coming from five adoring fans who think I’m great no matter how many copies I’ll sell. They are my target audience.
Should anyone else enjoy the words I put between the first page and last, well that’ll be icing on the cake. Now I’ve some writing to do for the love of some young readers and the pure pleasure of writing.
Stay motivated.
          Jean
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