Writing and Challenges

It was really nice to get into Manchester at the weekend and enjoy the festive atmosphere.  It was the N4 street party in the Northern Quarter.

I ate a burger, and two soft cookies stuck together with white chocolate cream.  Yes it was as good as it sounds.  Beer in plastic cups and live music, and the weather was ace.  Bliss.

Writing wise it was a successful weekend too.  I wrote six stories, 12,500 words, which is more than I’ve written for a while.  I’m trying to link the six up thematically to form some kind of coherent collection, but with a twist.  I don’t see myself sending out a collection of stories in the long term, I think I’ll still rely on novels to get some exposure in the future, but it’s good practice to link my stories and find themes which run through them. 

Challenges wise, the 101 challenges in 1001 days now appears to be a slightly more manageble 89 challenges in 973 days.  Simple.  

I got Vistaprint to print some business cards for me (95) They were cheap and cheerful and might come in handy if I remember to carry them around with me.  Basically it’s just a good way to remember a long winded blog address.

The same company very kindly sent me a special offer (only ever buy from vistaprint if you want to recieve daily SPAM emails for the rest of your life!) to print a t-shirt, and as challenge 96 mentions blog merchandise I thought I’d be crazy to say no.

Finally Challenge 86 – Get a phone I can email from:

I got it a few weeks ago, and have been emailing like mad from it, so job done.  I’ve never ventured far beyond the old text and ring type phones, so there is a lot to take in but I’m getting there.  It comes in handy the most when I get too involved with a book on the train home and can check on the maps app and see where the heck I am, and whether I’ve missed my stop already when I return to reality.

There is another challenge I thought I’d be ticking off this week.  Number 20 write a press release about my work.  I wrote a nice email to my local newspaper a few weeks ago, since I knew I was having several pieces published for free on the internet, and in books, and I wanted to publicise the fact a bit.  I also had the month long critique of fiction (challenge 49) which I thought local writers might take advantage of.  I listed the local interest elements of my work, the fact that one LA published podcast was about local history and was free to download, the fact I go to the local university and am all about the heritage and culture of my town.  I pictured maybe page ten or eleven ‘Local boy published stories in US’ come on this is a paper which can run, as its front pages, newsworthy items like PIGEON POOS ON STATUE.  You know the type.  But to no avail.

Then one night last week I happened to be sitting in the pub talking to a twenty two piece jazz band and drinking 10.5% cider, as you do.  I asked one young lady what she did, and she said I’m a journalist for the — paper.  Oh right, I said, remembering where I knew her name from – I sent you an email about my work.  She rolled her eyes,  meh, lots of people send me emails…  What do you do? she asked, and I said, oh, this and that, I write.  She asked my influences, baring in mind I’d had a couple of ciders by this point.  I said Raymond Carver and Miranda July.  She insinuated those people didn’t exist, but in her infinite mercy said I could email her again for a second chance.  Bless.  Well next time I email her it will be to CC her into an article submitted to the TLS, or when the Guardian reviews my novel (yeh right, I can type that email tonight in my dreams).  Anyway I’m confident I’ll get a better offer in the next 2.5 years.  Talking about writing, my friend and fellow MA student Craig Pay just won a national award for one of his short stories.  I haven’t published anything for about two months I need to start sending things out again and being proactive. 

This year is rolling by too quickly.


11 thoughts on “Writing and Challenges

  1. You’re doing well with your challenges but it’s your writing promotion I really admire. I am half-hearted at best, and need to be as pro-active as you.

    Do you know about the Manchester Blog Awards? You can nominate yourself or get a friend to do it. It’s a good way to promote your writing.

    • Yep, I was reading about them, a friend nominated me, but I’m hessitant to nominate myself because I’m new at this and feel as though I haven’t found my groove yet. I started a blog just so I could have something to show when sending writing off, but I’m starting to like it for the sake of itself now. I’ve a long way to go before I want it compared to others for an award…I think anyway. Thanks for your comments. One of the things I’d like to do is blog about markets for writers now and again, being September loads of magazines have just put calls out for submissions, I’m trying to organise a few to post. See how it goes.

  2. I looked at Vistaprint for my cards because they’re cheap, but I decided to stay away & use a local printers instead when I saw some of the stories online about them billing credit cards weeks or even months after the original purchase.

    I’m sure it’s probably just a minority of cases (and perhaps a year or two ago now) but might be worth keeping an eye on your bills just in case.

    • I read that stuff, they give you an option of paring with paypal now so i did. They also have an option if you pay with card to check-payments, or something, and remove payments, they probably responded to the talk pretty quick i reckon. All I’d say is wait for the tide of SPAM before you buy lots, because by tomorrow they’ll be offering you 50% off everything.

      • I love Vista Print. I’ve bought lots of cheap deals from them just because they’re cheap (or free plus postage). I’ve never had any problems with them. My Google email thinks they’re isolates them as spam so they don’t get on my nerves.

  3. How many of your challenges have you completed now? You do know we’re only 30 days in right? Did I read on Twitter that you’ve only got 86 left to do?

  4. I am jealous that you live so near a place that values its local culture. O.K they might take the form of burgers and cookies. I got the ambience on my quick visit to the northern 1/4 of genteel bohemia.
    I have found that a good contact at the local paper is invaluable especially if it is not blatant self promotion and aspires to the cohesion of the community. The marketing value of local newspaper articles is limited I have found but looks good on websites and sounds good in conversations.
    Most of my work has come through word of mouth, handing out the odd card and a pleasant demeanor.
    I am apprehensive on commenting to this blog as writing is not my forte but its great to see it alive and kicking.

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