97. My Writing Year

Personally I don’t make resolutions, but that may not be true of you. It may be important to resolve, for example, to make time to write every day, or to complete what you’ve started, or to edit more, or any number of things.

I do plan, though, what I can realistically achieve this year as a writer. Luckily, most of those decisions are already taken for me in 2018.

January 1 Make plans

I have a first draft of a novel, The Tears of Boabdil, that I’m really excited about AND that I believe has commercial possibilities. The year is book-ended by the opening and closing of a 12-month long mentorship I’ve been awarded by Cinnamon Press. In that time, I plan to get my novel into a publishable state.

January Enter short story competitions I’m more likely to win

For several years, I’ve been unsuccessfully entering some of the biggest competitions the literary world has to offer – the Bridport, the Sunday Times EFG, the Costa, for example. I will probably enter them again this year. But with the chances of placing ranging from just over 1% to less than a quarter of a per cent, the odds are not in my favour.

So this year I am also entering competitions with more favourable odds. I have sent stories to competitions where the odds of placing are around 4% to 5%:

·         Exeter, which closes on 28 February

·         Bath, which closes on 23 April

·         Yeovil, which closes on 31 May

I have entered all of these, as well as the BBC National Short Story Competition, which closes on 12 March and the Winchester Writers Festival short story competition, which closes on 11 April.

February – December Rework the novel

Comments from my mentor should be back by the end of February. If I enter the Bridport Novel Competition, I may want to concentrate in the first half of the year on the initial 15,000 words.

April – May Bridport Competition

This closes 31 May. I ‘m thinking of entering the novel competition rather than the short story.

June – August Sunday Times EFG Competition

Details not yet announced. But will probably open in June and close in September.

Winchester Writers’ Festival

15-17 June.

Costa Short Story Award

Details not yet announced. But will probably open in July and close in August.

September – November Farnham Short Story Competition

Not one to enter, but to run.

Writers’ Retreat

Ty’n y Coed, November, run by Cinnamon Press

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