Category Archives: Pitching

June Review


 __________            June            _______________

Such a busy wonderful month filled with glorious opportunities!

Blogs and Projects

I signed up for Writing 101 Blogging University Daily Post challenge this month, it stretched ideas with writing and lead to some interesting blog posts – I struggled to post daily as I have been offline busy, but I did manage to complete each task for the first half. After which I became heavily involved in performances and events in the WLF LitFest.

I continued to write poems for 52.

I applied to be part of a collaborative project with Naked Lungs for BLF Birmingham Literature Festival. I had an interview mid-month.

The blog now has 765 followers, an extra 23 people joined in June.

The most popular post this month continues to be;

Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367

Submission and Publishing

I submitted poems and was published by Hark.

My poem Clench – will appear in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press

and entered a poem for GBWO – Great British Write Off.


Performing Poetry

I took a 12 day break from performing poetry at the end of May/June and enjoyed watching others at events instead.

It felt strange to get back up on stage at Mouth and Music – but I was armed with some freshly written -on theme – poems and a great audience who laughed in all the right places.

It was also good to back to Birmingham- performing at York’s Bakery.

It was 10 days of WLF this month – Worcester Litfest, I was asked to take part in a few events that clashed with other plans, including a guest spot for the Decadent Diva gig – Divas and Football, it was my friend’s Woodstock themed party which I was going to (a 50th birthday) and I had already turned down Foxy and Wild – Droitwich Arts Network/ Festival poetry event.

I did perform as a POP UP POET at an event I was asked to take part in.

I managed to get to Tim Cranmore’s Book Launch the week before WLF started and booked to be at the Guildhall for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate (4 of whom I knew) – I gave up a night performing to be part of the first event of the festival.

I was asked to have a guest spot at the Special Festival SpeakEasy (which I could do) and I asked to be on the 42 stage (1 of 8 performers) in addition to this I booked to watch Jonny Fluffypunk Man Up – show and was asked to perform at this event too.

I missed several workshops I wanted to do – because I was also working full time this week – with Summer being so close!

It was my first WLF – but the city’s 4th – I was aware of both this and the Droitwich Festival last year, it was before I started poetry writing again and at the time I was resigning from work after quite a struggle and wasn’t really submerged in the writing world as I am now.

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Hollie McNish

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod

Mouth & Music – BHG: Adjectives

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)

Writing West Midlands This month not only did I have a chance to use my drama background to help support material for the Worcester group with Ian MacaLeod, I also had a chance to cover as an Assistant Writer for the group in Kidderminster – run by Jean Atkin. It is great to experience working with Young Adults – teenagers were slightly older than my group and a different Lead Writer, Jonathan Davidson recommended we swapped groups once in a while to get a better breadth and understanding. For a writer who hopes to become a Lead Writer in 2016 it is great to take on board different approaches and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed the group and look forward to going back next month.

Performing at Dave’s 50th Woodstock Party including a poem written especially for him! My first Private Function too!

Pop up Poets – WLF

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

With Jonny Fluffypunk – WLF

Meeting Naked Lungs – Project BLF

Special WLF 42 – WLF Lou Morgan

Special SpeakEasy – WLF – Old Recifying House: Emma Purhouse & Scott Tyrrell

Carol Ann Duffy – National Poet Laureate in a joint venture between Ledbury Poetry festival & WLF

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Atys Centre

Poetry Workshop – Jean Atkin, Acton Scott farm.


Mr G and I also saw the Voodoo Rooms (Hendrix/ Cream), celebrated Dave’s 50th Woodstock style, mum’s birthday and he continued to re-landscape the garden, building a pond.

Next month I am looking forward to a workshop and some Literature Festivals, my performance with BrainFruit, Special weekend groups associated with writing I have been involved with this year, Book launches – Restless Bones and seeing my work in print in Hark Magazine.

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit


The Disorganised Muddle: My Life


imagesCAWTNYTO Today my writing day has been reduced to a morning (one which included fraught calls to estate agents and management companies, as the tale of selling my apartment takes another twist!) and also a search for my lost purse, which along with some cash and bankcards has my driving license which needs to be sent to the DVLA for renewal! Life! It’s never easy – I envy the organisers amongst you – try as I might, I am a messy, muddle, piles of things kind of person. A difficult mould to break.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in solitude in my sunny garden (with new summerhouse roof – the reason I accepted work on my writing days this week) catching up with reading my writing magazines. I made notes in my writing diary and a list of things to do in the next 24hours, which included looking at websites of upcoming submissions.

One of the opportunities I found earlier this year which I hoped to try was an application to be a festival poet at Glastonbury. This year I am really learning when you find out – apply and submit – don’t sit on it for months and wait for the deadline inked in the writing diary!
Well the deadline was the 7th! I thought it was the 17th… must screw my head on better next year. They have 100s of applicants and it wouldn’t have necessarily led to anything – I have friends on the circuit who have poetry personas and are SLAM champions and I think this is probably more the sort of style they are looking for to entertain the masses, not that fringe tents get masses. It is something I would like to do – will get my material prepared before Christmas ready to send in the New Year!

I feel so deflated when I miss opportunities, but as I have said before it would be impossible for me to hit all the targets I pen out in the diary, unless I win the lottery and have the pleasure of writing full time. Now where is that Lottery Scratch card Mr G bought me…only joking, I may be disorganised but I know where that is!

AWF circleOne thing I HAVE started organising is this year’s writing retreat. In February I asked some writers to be involved, fully preparing myself for rejection… and to my delight everyone responded within a day or two confirming their involvement. 2013 was a pretty awesome online retreat, but 2014 looks to be even better! Pencil it in your diary, the last weekend of OCTOBER.


My Writing Life vs Sleep! A Tale of Spontaneity


The trouble with adrenalin is it is the nemesis of sleep. Half past midnight, Mr G has spent the day without me, he is tired and I am lying there in the dark, willing sleep to come. In the end I am up and downstairs again and I have to write – write it all out of my system!

This alone is not conducive to sleep. I am stimulating my brain with thoughts and technology, a bright screen in a dark, quiet room. I could blame the Americano I had at 7pm at Park’s Café. Or the Indian meal I have just shared with 23 other hungry poets.

Park's cafe 2

I know the cause.

My creative spirit has had a date with herself today and she is as excited as a child on Christmas morning. I have spent the entire day and night with like-minded souls and have pushed my own writing life and plan up into 5th gear.

I still cannot believe how strange it is that when you set your heart and mind onto something, everything falls into place – as if it was meant to be. Happily ever after (for now!)

I have so much to share from today! inkspill tiny dancer

Like all good stories (this one is true) I shall start at the beginning…

Mr G and I had plans for today as the weather was sunny and tomorrow is forecast heavy rain across the whole country. He bought me/us/ our garden some tulip bulbs last week and we were going to plant them and then go to the allotment to pick beans and sweetcorn. allotment

We were awake early. We had breakfast and then chilled out. A while later the post arrived. We both had a white envelope and I was convinced the bank had mailed us both. I was wrong! AND I LOVE GETTING POST! inkspill heartMine was the latest programme of events from a mailing list I am on. I discovered Writing West Midlands back in February and was gutted I had missed so much good input (in January) – I think I may have made up for it since!

I had already checked out the new programme online, some of it went in and some of it didn’t. So I read through the pamphlet and came across a Network Meeting held today. The last one I went to was back in the Spring and it led to meeting a fair few writers and signing up to a scriptwriting workshop/ course. That meeting was about an hour away.

This one was close to the boarder of Wales, I used a route finder and found out it was only 1.5 hours away. (My sciatica often kicks in after an hour of driving, but I thought I would be okay.) It was 11:30 when I decided to go and it took me an hour to sort directions (no sat nav as yet!) Inkspill biroI had to write them out by hand as we are also not hooked up to any printer! (What kind of writer am I?!) I had to get up properly (we were in PJ chill mode) by the time I told Mr G of my plans I literally had time to kiss him and run out of the door!

Here is where the adventure begins…

For starters I had forgotten the rule of adding 30minutes onto the estimated time a route finder provides. Then the ‘country’ traffic was half the speed it should have been. Plus I was navigating myself from a scribbled A4 sheet and road signs. I reached the point when I thought this 70 mile journey was a waste of time and decided to find a nice tea room and then head home before the book launch tonight.

Then the writer inside me pinched me hard and said … Ian Billings and SIMON THIRSK! And I put my foot down and drove on!

I reached the stage I knew I would be late, I tried not to panic. I had been driving for over an hour and a half and I was still a good 20 miles away.

I began to get concerned once I arrived at my destination and got trapped in the one way system of the town centre with the name of a street for parking and no idea how to get there or what road I was on.

This had been advertised online (yes I checked the parking too!) as cheap rate parking for the day. I didn’t get close to a ticket machine to find out, some angel walked past me (and interpreting my harassed I am late for the writers’ meeting face to be oh my – I haven’t got any change for the meter) she offered me her ticket that had plenty of hours left on it. This isn’t usually possible in my part of the world as we have to type in our registration plates.

So now not only is my parking sorted, but due to the mini detour I had already seen the roads I needed to take to get to the library and it was less than a 5 minute walk. The only mistake I made was trying to get into the Council House building – which is not open at weekends – the library was next door! inkspill books

And what a swish place it was (all our libraries have been redesigned as hubs for the 21st century.) I felt sad I wasn’t early, would have loved a mooch around, the children’s section was an actual castle! WOW!

(Real pictures of today will be uploaded and added tomorrow.)

alarm-clockI was late … Ian Billings (Children’s writer) who I also wanted to hear, was close to the end of his talk when I arrived and quietly squeezed into the back row. To make me feel better there were at least 4 others who all arrived even later than me (we had obviously all used the same route advisor!) 😉 I caught the gist of Ian’s projects and the end of the talk. (Later after the event – in the ‘networking’ part, I was able to speak to him at length about what he was doing/ working on.)

It was Simon Thirsk (joint-founder and Chairman of Bloodaxe Books) that caught my post-breakfast attention. They are a specialist poetry publisher that I recognise from my first time round, having been published throughout the nineties and early noughties. Most of the small presses and publishers I worked with are no longer in existence or have been gobbled up by main players, or lost there funding and disappeared.

motivation best I have also taken 2013 as my YEAR OF LEARNING. A lot has changed in the past 13 years, and I knew that listening to what Simon had to say would save me a days research at least!

In addition to all of this post-breakfast thought (and I hadn’t even had porridge!) I marvelled at the fact that less than 2 weeks ago I made the decision to stop sticking my fingers in all the genre writing pies and focus on one – poetry – get out there again as a poet and reclaim my space on the circuit. (I had established a name for myself before but in places that were 70 miles North and 200 miles South) I have never really existed as a poet in the Shire. That is what today has been about, but I hadn’t planned it starting with such a BANG!

I wrote pages of notes and picked up a little gold-dust too. The room was packed and some good questions were asked, lots of conversations were born out of them.

When it came to a close, I started to feel awkward as I often do before the mingle. I need to get some business cards made. (Next mission!) I knew I wanted to speak to everyone on the panel as well as some fellow writers and poets.

I met lots of interesting people and exchanged details with a few of them.

wb I met other teachers who (like me) have made the same decision to upgrade the creativity dream and downgrade the day job… by the end of today the total was 3. I wish us all luck and success with this one.

I also got to speak to both Simon  and Ian. image2 Ian Billings

I then spoke to Jonathan, the Chief Executive who I have met and spoken with about 4 times this year (5 months), I wanted him to know my plan and make some offers. I will be following up emails on Monday and keep my fingers crossed for some very exciting opportunities. I was thinking of years to come (in my Olympian Mission/Dream) but basically ‘why wait?’ was his response! I can start now. Obviously as far as paid opportunities they will (hopefully) come later. Experience is something I yearn for as much as learning and I know all too well that catch 22 – of this is what I can do -this is what I want = ‘Lovely dear, where is your proof? What have you done?’ CV’s need to start somewhere.

motivation make I look forward to new horizons on the near future front.

I was having such a good time mingling that I nearly forgot I was 2 hours drive away from the Book Launch and a quick glance of the clock confirmed I had 2 hours. I said my goodbyes and exchanged details with people before hot footing it out of the library and back to my car!

I did look for someone to gift the ticket to (which still had 1.5 hours on it!) I saw that they had recycle bins. The back of my car has been full of shoes to recycle since the end of July. Now I have space behind my seat again to stuff everything I take out with me.

imagesCAMNY23K One important thing I took from today (other than getting rid of old shoes taking up valuable handbag space!) is something I hadn’t considered before. It is Jonathan Davidson’s advice;

SUPPORT FELLOW WRITERS’ – WHEREVER IT IS POSSIBLE, this includes BUYING their books. We all know how important those sales are post publishing. Offer more than a congratulations if you can.

PART 2 Link to follow

A Whole Day with Poets and Writers!


And I feel great! Just have no time or energy to blog it after 12hrs and 140miles… Will treat you tomorrow!

stay tuned.

My soul has been nourished today and my heart has connected with words, with thoughts, with hopes, with shared ambition and with happiness!

TOP TIPS for Freelancing



Today I am mainly enjoying a good book in a sunny garden, I popped into Blogland and thought it only fair to leave you with something!


This advice is aimed at the freelance writer, specifically article writing, you may find that some of the tips could be useful for other projects and of course, it’s worth a read no matter what sort of writer you are!

pencil paper freestock

1. The Personal Touch 

When addressing people by email or letter KNOW their names, with Google (and other search engines) this has become increasingly easier to find out, a quick call to the office asking for the name of the editor will do no harm.

2. Size Matters

Remember small press magazines and e-zines may not have the budget to pay as much as national papers and larger magazine companies, however they can be a good way in.

3. Reveal Yourself

Have a marketing plan in place, you need to spread the word that you can offer results on a freelance basis. This may be as simple as a website where you advertise your services, or a pack of business cards that you have on you (at all times!) the world is a networking platform, don’t just pack them when you are at ‘Writing’ functions. How much social media will you marketing plan involve?

4. Wicked Webs We Weave

How will you build your website? Who will you get to build your website? Keep in mind the experience the users of your website are going to have. Use expertise if you can. You want it to look professional and be easy to use.

5. Work It!

Plan, plan, plan! Planning is the easy bit, most writers love to plan. Next you have to DO.

An easy way to take action and make sure it happens is to set yourself small daily goals. Set a target action on a calendar. Make sure you are doing something EVERYDAY to work towards your goal. This will also support you in optimising your ‘social network/promotion’ time on certain sites – you know the ones I’m talking about! ‘Oh my, it’s 3 and I have to pick the kids up, it was lunchtime when I logged on!’

A calendar will enable you to have a structured approach and when life gets in the way – forgive yourself and doodle an arrow into the next day and work doubly as hard to promote yourself. You will know which days you are researching, which days you are actively seeking opportunities for work, when you have time to blog and promote your services and celebrate your successes.

If you have problems with all the marketing – that is the stage that you may consider bringing someone in (maybe another ‘out of work writer’ to help you with the marketing. Collaboration is such a sparkly key to success!

6. Starting Points

Make a list of your expertise. Which fields are you able to write about, what are you a specialist in? Then research these markets, find opportunities available for your skills. This may lead to a fruitful column or at least some published articles.

I read an article about someone who re-launched her writing career in January. She was an expert in Horticulture. Researching, she found some specialist publications and submitted ideas for articles. She had an article successfully published and this lead to a regular feature, she is already making a regular fee from this freelance work.

Proof it can be done! motivate action

awf suitcase

Reader Q&A: To pitch now or to pitch later, that is the question


A Useful Article Q & A – Pitching

Live to Write - Write to Live

Reader_QandAWhat is the best way to pitch a story to a potential publisher? What if you have access to a great interview candidate (say, a prominent local artist) – should you go ahead with the interview, write the piece, and submit it to a magazine; or should you first find a publisher who would like the piece, and then schedule the interview?

Sounds like a chicken and egg conversation, doesn’t it?

Well, we thought it was an excellent question when Brit DeLong (a graduate student who contributes a health column to the DC Examiner and writes her own blog – Busy Girl Health – while studying publishing at The George Washington University) brought it to our attention. Here’s what some of our Live to Write – Write to Live experts had to say on the subject:

Susan NyeFrom Susan Nye:

Dear Brit,
Query first; interview and write the article after you…

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