Tag Archive | competition

#ROW80 Check-in and Win Books!

Yes, you read that right, win books. Yesterday I celebrated my 555th blog, with a competition to win 3 books – The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell, Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay and Emma Heart LA by Keris Stainton. The competition is still open if you want to win – just click here.

Now on with the bad bit, the check-in.

It’s gone all bad again. Well, this week is bad. This week is almost terrible. Until today I had only written 50% of days. Granted there’s only been 2, but it feels bad. To be honest, I’m really stressed at work, so don’t feel too bad taking some time off. However, as I always have some kind of excuse, I probably should.

My ROW buddy Laura and I decided at the weekend to kick ourselves back into action by seeing who could write the most each day. We’re checking in at 9pm each day. So far, we stand at:

  Helen  Laura
Saturday 0 707
Sunday 350+ 500+
Monday 0 375
Tuesday 296 300+

Well, we can see who this is working for, and it’s not me. It’s great having someone to kick my ass, even if it’s not working. At least it makes me think about writing, which I wouldn’t do without her. Thanks Laura. The new round starts in a couple of weeks, I think it’s going to be our round. I think we’re both going to smash it!

Nothing else is going particularly well either.
I did my Just Dance thing on the Wii on Sunday, but haven’t done any other exercise. I am back in the habit of 20 mins walk to and 20 mins walk from work, so that’s good. I just need to push it that extra and go to the gym, or running, or more Just Dance. Just remembered I got off the tube a stop early today, so had an extra 12 minutes walking, that’s good (even if the reason was delays rather than exercise!)

Not doing great blogging either. I’ve got a great excuse though. I decided last week to celebrate my 555th blog, but I’d just posted my 554th. That meant until I did my celebration 555 blog, I couldn’t do any others. And I dragged my feet arranging it. I’ll try harder.

I’m not going to bed early, I’m not doing my daily exercises, I’m not dieting very well (today might go ok, except I’ll probably drink half a bottle of wine – not so good, but needed, see above re work!).

This time last round I gave up. I’d done so badly running up to it, that I just couldn’t be bothered with the last week. Writing this, the thought went through my mind again, but this time, I’m stronger. I’ve not been doing well, but without ROW80 (and Laura), I bet I’d be doing worse. One week to go, lets see if I can make it count!

555 Blog Competition

This is my 555th blog.
I started blogging just over 3 years ago, which means, on average, 14 blogs a month (on average, sometimes there must have been more, because sometimes there’s been a whole lot less!). That’s quite a lot. Certainly worth celebrating anyway.
A few months ago, WordPress changed. When you posted a blog, it started telling you how many you’d posted. And it started giving you goals. Rubbish goals to the next 5 above where you were (500, 505, 510 etc). I hated it. How dare WordPress tell me what MY goals were? I had my own goals.
That’s when I made a decision. I was going to get myself a massive blog goal. A really good one. 555. That was going to be it, I love repetitive numbers.
And to celebrate hitting it, a competition.
One of my favourite things to do is read, which I think is something I share with lots of the readers of this blog. It’s obvious then isn’t it, what the competition is to win. BOOKS!
It was really easy to decide which books to give away as well – ones by my favourite authors. Yes, ONES, I’m giving away more than one. More than two in fact. I’m giving away three.
Two of my favourite current books are The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell and Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay. So those two. Then another of my favourite authors – Keris Stainton – has just brought out a book, Emma Heart LA. I’ve not read it, but if it’s anything like the last two, it’s going to be great. Three. Easy! Three books, one winner.

So, fancy winning 3 books? I’m not going to make it hard, just leave a ‘pick me’ comment (leaving your email address, for my eyes only), by midnight (BST – London time) on Friday 22nd June. After that, my independent adjudicator (boyfriend) will pick a name out of a hat (or more likely a bowl, or mug, or maybe, to make it special, a champagne glass). I know a lot of people are non-UK based, so the competition is open internationally. For an extra entry, tweet about the competition – remember to let me know you’ve done it though and your twitter name if it’s not the same as your name here, either on here or directly on twitter (@new2writinggirl).
Good luck everyone.

Starting Well

ROW80 – ‘The writing Challenge that knows you have a life’ started yesterday. My goal for writing is 100 words a day, or 10 minutes editing.

Yesterday I managed over an hour editing. How awesome is that. Editing – me. Me who hates editing. It’s for a competition though, so I guess that’s the big push. I need to finish it tonight, which I will do, which means tomorrow I can start on writing. I hope.

I really want to do some reading, but I don’t trust myself. I’ve got 2 books to read for 2 book clubs, 1 to be read by 13th, the other I’m not really sure. But, this competition is more important.

I’m going away on Friday for the weekend. That’s good, because, you know fun etc, but bad because of writing, and eating well, and hey, exercise too. Hopefully I’ll still do ok. I’m going to give it my best shot anyway.

Better, But Still Not Very Good

Well, this check in, for the first time for WEEKS (I am not kidding), I can actually report that I’ve done some writing. Not, much but some. I have my buddy Laura to thank for it.

So how much is not much? A piddly amount – 791 words. I guess that’s not that few, but it was in 1 day. Just one day. Oh dear.

Laura and I were texting the other day, and she encouraged me to try to write JUST 50 words. 50? That’s nothing, I could do that. So… I… didn’t. I got home that night and just didn’t have the energy. The next night though, I did.

I’d made a decision that I was going to read the first 3000 words of the novel that night, and that would be my work on it for the day. 3000 words because Novelicious have a competition running where you have to enter that much of your chick lit novel. Prizes include novel critiques, Kindles and books. I read through it, liked some of it, hated some of it, and… nearly cried ’cause it was so sweet. Ahhhh.

I think it’s got potential. If I could just finish it and edit it…

After reading the first 3000 words, I got an idea for a scene later on (possibly the last scene). I’d already turned the laptop off, so I grabbed a bit of paper and pen, and started plotting it. Then before I’d got too far, instead of planning, I started writing it. What I wrote wasn’t as good as what I’ve got in my head for this scene (I’ve been going over it again and again in my head for the last couple of months), but it’s words, and words are editable. Brilliant.

I’m going to do some writing now, but after this I don’t really know how to decide what I should do. I want to finish writing the novel, but I need to edit the first 3000 words. I should really finish writing it before I start editing, but maybe I should just edit this bit, then go back to finishing writing it.

What I’d really like to do is stop writing, read it and start editing it. I really, really want to do that, but I think I shouldn’t. I think I should get it all finished, then read and edit. What my problem is, well what my problemS ARE, are: 1) I’ve missed out a massive side story that I need to wiggle back in, I’m going to have to change, or add a lot to add it back in, and it was a good side story, so I want it in there; and 2) that I don’t know how I’m going to finish it.

These two points make me think that I should go back, read it and start editing. I just don’t think that’s how it should be done. Of course, everyone’s different, and so maybe that way would work for me? Or maybe I’m just saying that cause it’s giving me the get out clause I need to stop writing now. I just don’t know.

What if I carry on writing it, finish it, and then when it’s time to edit it, I don’t want to? Should I just be editing now while I want to – because I’ve never actually WANTED to edit something, maybe this is a sign I should do it while I want to? I just don’t know.

Ah well, it’ll work itself out, somehow. Closing date for the Novelicious competition isn’t until the beginning of April – maybe I could finish the novel, and edit those 3k by then… You never know!

In other news, my mum is thinking about re-starting the writing course she’s got – the one I’m also doing (supposedly). That’s made me think about picking it back up (because you know, I can’t decide whether to write or edit at the moment, so why not throw another thing on the pile?). It would be good to do that, but if I’m completely honest, I don’t want her to finish it before me (even though I started it a LONG time after she did – we’re both rubbish and left it). Sigh. I don’t know.

I’ve just had a thought. When I was at school, during GCSEs, I managed to juggle 9 subjects, during A-Levels four, then at uni a few modules at once. Why now can’t I juggle two things? OK, so I admit juggling writing and editing the same project probably isn’t a great idea, but why not juggle writing/editing with the writing course? Some might suggest that if I don’t ‘have time’ to do 1, then I really shouldn’t be telling myself to do two. They might be right. AGH. Guess what? I just don’t know.

Seeing as I don’t know anything at all, I’m going to go. If anyone had a great idea about what I should do, please, let me know your thoughts.

Oh – I have 3 other goals for this ROW80 round: exercise, reading and eating well. Um… I’m walking a lot. Reading a little, and eating a lot (I know it’s supposed to be eating little, but never mind). Maybe this week will be better! Fingers crossed please guys!

July Joy

The sun is shining, the weather is hot, it’s July, nearly my birthday, and the first day for my July Goals. A day to be positive I feel.

I had a bad day yesterday, loads of glum work stuff and was feeling a bit down with lack of progress on the new job front. Thankfully a friend took me out for dinner and reminded me what I want and am trying to achieve.

I’m doing a creative writing course. I’m writing lots on the side. That’s what I want to do. I want to write. My day job is just getting me through until I can make money from writing, or I realise I can’t. Either way, it’s temporary. It’s a way of making ends meet.

When I started the course last year, I decided I’d stay in my boring, pretty poorly paid job while I do the course. I’d try to make writing a career, and make money from my JOB. Somewhere along the line I forgot that, I’ve been thinking I need a career now. I don’t – I need a job. I want to walk away at 5pm with no thoughts of work, so I can write at home. That’s what I want.

I feel so much better today realising that. I’ve already applied for one job (that actually sounds pretty good) and am aiming to apply for at least one more today, on top of writing, going to the gym and reading. See, look, when I put my mind to it, I can achieve anything. Well, I can achieve lots anyway, maybe not ANYTHING.

Today, as well as all the above, I’m going to be eavesdropping. All in the name of writing. Over at Bugged they’re holding an actual Creative Eavesdropping Day. Today participants must listen in to other people’s conversations, and create a story from something they hear. They then have until August to send it in. Good things get posted on the site, great things get put in an anthology, 10 amazing things go in a book. Wow. Right people of London, be prepared, to be heard!

As I’m mentioning competitions, it’s probably a good time to mention the Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition I’m going to be entering. 1000 words on ‘Starting Over’. I’ve got my idea. I’ve roughly written 250 words. I just need to finish it. I’m worried about getting dialogue in it. I think stories are better with dialogue, but it’s going to be hard to get any in, without giving away the twist. I will be trying though. Maybe I’ll work on that this afternoon. Or tomorrow, after Fiction Friday. Woop for Fridays!

I’m going to have to change my ‘about’ section on here, and am gutted about it. It currently reads ‘I’m a 20 something ‘new to writing girl.’ ‘ From Monday, I won’t be 20 something anymore – no, I turn 30 then. (hence the reason for my little stress yesterday). It’s going to have to change to ‘early-30s’ or ’30 yo’ or something. Eek. Oh well, I’ll think about that next week.

Right. Lunch. Ear-wigging. Excellent.

Post 200!!

Wow!  This is my 200th post.  I can’t believe it.  I’ve not really been sure what I was going to blog about today, but I guess a 200th blog is something to celebrate?!  I think I’ll have a glass of wine to me tonight!

I’ve also had 239 comments (although nearly half of those are probably mine) and, apparently, 2,076 visits.  Even if you divide that number by 3 to get a realistic number (I read somewhere that’s what you do), that’s still a lot of people reading my words. Wow.  This month already has my highest visitor numbers – by over 100 – and there’s still 4 days left. 

On 10th February I totally forgot to do a special one year blogiversary post.  I’m annoyed about that as I was really looking forward to looking back over my first year of blogging.  Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow, I don’t think I can do it today.  Way too much nothing-ness to do today. 

On Monday my (at home with a week off work) boyfriend sent me some links to some competitions to win books.  I seriously have the best boyfriend in the world!  That’s what I’ve been doing this week.  The latest competition I have entered is on the lovely So Little Time for Books blog.  It’s to win a copy of The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.  Yes, I said series – 3 books.  Fingers crossed for me please!

I’ve read 9 books in the last 2 months – I’m on my 10th.  That makes me laugh as I only read 19 last year (plus 2 children’s).  What was I doing last year?!?

A Little Ahead of Myself

I’m doing something I am nowhere near ready to do.  But it could work out to be the best thing I do.  If that makes sense? 

I found a competition today on eHarlequin’s website: ‘Donna Alward’s Perfect Pitch Contest’.  The competition, would you believe, is to write a pitch for your novel.  The prize?  (if you get through the first round and send your first chapters in then win that round) is Donna being your mentor for a year.  Definitely something I could do with.  So today, I’m writing a pitch.  Or learning how to anyway. 

Luckily, another Harliquin author (Winnie Griggs) held a workshop about this last week.  Although I missed the workshop, so being able to ask her questions about mine, the workshop is still available to read here, so I’ve been going through that today.  It’s hard.  The competition ends on Friday, so that doesn’t give me much time to perfect it!  I’ll give it a go though.  It’s all good procrastination from draft 2 of the novel! 

I feel like I’ve not done much writing this week.  I feel like all I’ve done during work hours are work (duh!) and surf the net.  It’s not the worst thing ever, I have found that competition and lots of useful and interesting blogs, but it’s not productive.  Must try harder!

Et aujourd’hui?

Look, I remember some French!!  Actually I had to look it up – couldn’t remember how to spell it, at least I can say it though 🙂

My dreams of joining the Romantic Novelist’s Association in 2010 have been shattered.  Their New Writer’s Scheme (which is the only way you can join if you’re not published) is full for new members this year.  On 13th Jan, they’re full – that’s 250 places.  Full.  Wow.  It said on the website they don’t usually fill until mid February.  There must be a lot more wannabes out there this year!  I guess I’ll wait until next year.  Unless I’m published by then… I can dream…

I’m not going to get published until I make a start on this second draft.  I’ve still not started it.  I’m making the excuse that I need to get Microsoft Word on my home laptop so when I transfer from work to home (which I will do daily probably) the layout stays the same.  At home I’ve got another type of word document, which the words are compatible with, but not the layout.  It’s just an excuse not to start though.  I think I’m going to print it and work from a hard copy, then correct it on the computer after.  That’s how I used to write essays at university and it worked then, so hopefully will work now.  I just need to get my printer wired up to my laptop, change the ink and get some paper.  Not asking too much?

I’m a little disappointed with the book I’m reading.  I thought it was a real novel, but it’s turned out to be a collection of short stories.  I’m not a fan of short stories, I must prefer something longer you can really get your teeth into.  With short stories, I find as soon as I start liking or sympathising with the characters, it’s over.  Although there are advantages:I can read to the end of a story then go to sleep, rather than a novel where I say I’ll read to the end of the chapter, but something exciting happens, so I read on and say I’ll read to the next… and so on until it’s 1am and I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.  They’re good stories though. 

I’ve just realised it’s probably my slight dislike (that seems to harsh of a word) of short stories must be the reason I find it hard to WRITE short stories too. 

While surfing the net yesterday for Romance writers, I found a competition being run by Kaye Dacus.  To enter you have to write a short scene involving a lawyer proving love exists.  I have a couple of ideas floating round my head for that one.  It’s open until 29th Jan so I’ve got a little while to get my thinking cap on! 

Which is exactly what I’m going to do now.


I’m a poet and I don’t know-it.  I’m not really.  I’ve been running away from poetry since school when I was forced to do it.  I thought I didn’t like it.  But, someone sent me a link to a Haiku competition going on in London (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/18/poetry-twitter).  Haiku for those who, like me, don’t know is a simple Japanese poem.  Just three lines long with the syllable structure 5/7/5.  I thought I’d give it a go (what else would I do at work?) and am quite pleased with my little poem. 

I find it quite hard to get my head around these.  They’re so short that before you can even start to get into it, it’s over.  Someone also said it’s hard to be deep and meaningful in such a short piece of writing which I agree with.  I also find syllables hard to get my head around sometimes, especially -ed words.  Luckily, I found a website dedicated to just this (http://www.howmanysyllables.com/).  Genus. 

If anyone reading this could please let me know how to set up the links I’m posting as a one word link as I’ve seen other people do, I would be eternally grateful.  I’m sure it’s quite easy, but I don’t have time to look today and keep forgetting, so please please let me know.

I started reading Mercy by Jodie Picoult again on the tube this morning.  I had started it about six months ago, but just didn’t find the time to continue.  She’s one of those authors that I think I’m not that keen on, and don’t immediately get drawn into the novels, but if I persist I really love.  I’m going to spend more of my travel time reading.  My goals for the last two months have been to read one novel a month.  One novel is not enough.  I need to read read read.  My writing course tutor said that too.  That was a couple of months ago when I was reading more than I am now.

I’m trying to take a couple of days holiday in June to try and finish this assisgnment for the course.  I always say I’ll do it at the weekend, but the weekend comes and other things come up so I never get round to it.  I hope by taking these days off I will have no distractions from other people around (they’ll all be at work) so I’ll concentrate!

Also in these two days I’m going to organise my writing.  At the moment I just write whatever into an email, then send it to myself then file it in a ‘writing’ folder.  I need more than this.  I feel like I need to get my ideas straight (especially ‘Holiday’, but all my writing bits I’m doing).

I love it when a plan comes together (I really mean starts, I just wanted to say that!).