Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hard Graft

The past few weeks I've had blog posts lined up for Monday morning, but the past two weeks have taken their toll with illness for the kids and myself, so this week I've had to start from scratch.  

I'm still feeling drained, but I'm still pushing through with the work: writing, editing and submitting. That last poem for my Scottish collection is still lingering, though I'm just doing small edits. Once I have a week of looking at it every day and making no changes I'll consider it done. 

I'm steadily rewriting my second novel. I submit about 1500 words a week to my writing group and then rewrite it according to their feedback. It's a slow process, but because of the haphazard way I wrote the first draft it's the best way. I'm having to stitch the various threads of the story together, expand a lot and figure out the motivation for some of the characters. It's coming together slowly. 

I've submitted my first novel to two competitions, a publisher and an agency so far this year. It's my goal to get it published in 2018. I'm getting a bit frustrated at the amount of entry fees I've paid for this novel over the past years so am trying to find publishers with calls for submissions or competitions with no entry fees. When you're not currently earning much it seems a waste to keep paying £15-£25 an entry. I've also been submitting a chapbook of poems from my Finnish collection to free competitions and calls. 

I fall between many categories in competitions. I'm a woman, but am not in any other minority grouping, I'm not even considered an immigrant by most standards. I'm over 45 so often am excluded from a lot of competitions aimed at younger writers, but I'm not old enough for the senior competions. I am not resident of an English-speaking country so that often goes against me as well. Finding a free competition for a novel or poetry collection/chapbook that is open for non-residents, over 40s and not a member of any minority bar women is really difficult. Especially if I add the wish of being published in the UK rather than the US. I just feel my writing is a better fit for the UK and I have more of an audience there, though I have tried a few poetry chapbook competitions in the US recently. So my choices are limited which is why I still pay for the occasional competition. 

Trying to get published is an uphill battle, hours spent writing, rewriting, editing and submitting, but as it's only part of the goal of writing it's worth all the hard work. My ultimate goal is to write something I'm proud of, that I want to share with others and that they will hopefully enjoy. Fingers crossed this will happen soon. 

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