Authentication; proof; endorsement; corroboration; justification; substantiation; confirmation; support. These are synonyms for validation.
When I ask my creative writing students what their ambitions are for their writing, there is invariably an awkward hush while they work out what will be inferred from their response. It’s un–British to expose our ambitions, it’s seen as cocky. In my experience self–belief is frequently in short supply and often writing exposes our deepest fears. It is only when I suggest that seeking publication is a legitimate outcome and that there is nothing inherently wrong in seeking validation for their creative endeavours that they admit to having been winners; long-listed, short-listed and/or published. They generally go on to say that it was only a small local/regional competition or an obscure publication that no one ever reads; they do an excellent job of undermining their achievement.
When I look at that list of words above those that give me most comfort are authentication, proof, endorsement and particularly support, support matters most to me. Support bolsters, has solidity about it and gives us the confidence to push on. I don’t have a lucky gene but I am tenacious, thicker skinned than I used to be, and I am not a quitter. Sticking at it and not buckling under the weight of rejection are all attributes any writer with ambition needs to hone. Entering competitions and submitting must become an unbreakable habit.
Before Christmas a poet friend told me that she had significantly upped the amount of competitions/journals that she enters since she had a session with a writing coach. Since then she has been published more than in any other year. So this wasn’t luck either it was the poet expressing her intention to the universe. By actively courting success and using her talent and ability, and having the guts to put it out there, brought about the increase in publication success.
Here is the link to the Mslexia competition 2016 closing date 14th March.
The Bridport Prize closed Tuesday 31st May 2016
Exeter Writing Competitions closing date 28th February 2016
I see that gene-editing, or embryo manipulation has been given the go ahead. This (and donor children) was a subject that fascinated me as long ago as 1999 when I wrote Gene Genie. It was a novel that was ahead of its time, which actually did it no favours. Its chequered history began with an agent at Curtis Brown falling in love with it, and then mysteriously disappearing from the agency. After that (2005) it was picked up by a writer turned publisher, it did reasonably well for a novel from a small press with no marketing budget. When the rights reverted to me I was able to publish it as an e-book. How’s that for writer tenacity?
You can download the second addition of Gene Genie to your kindle for the bargain price of £5.23
WRITING WITH IMAGES, WRITING WITH OBJECTS: STUDY EVENNG AND WORKSHOP 26th February 2016
I am one of the guest speakers at a seminar at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts on 26th February from 4.30-7pm. I will be bringing in artwork that I created for my novel Casting Shadows and discussing the way imagery and artefacts stimulate my short story writing. It is an interesting panel (luminary people) and there will be Q&A afterwards. For full details and booking information please follow this link. The poet, Andrea Holland, is running a linked workshop and you can purchase a joint ticket at a reduced rate.
Words and Women: Three
Words And Women: Three will be launched on the 7th March 2016 at the Norwich Arts Centre. The anthology includes the fiction and non-fiction winners from our 2015 prose writing competition. The competition was judged by Words & Women and Emma Healey, the author of the best-selling novel Elizabeth Is Missing. All Words And Women anthologies can be bought from Unthank Books.
Follow the link for writers biographies and full details of the launch.