Short Story Contest launched
As a result of the ongoing
success of the International
Poetry Competition (now in its third year), firstwriter.com
has now launched its First
International Short Story Contest. The contest is open to
writers all over the world and is looking for quality fiction in
any style or genre, and on any subject, up to 3000 words. There
is a first prize of £200 (over $300) for the winner, and ten
special commendations will also win an annual subscription to firstwriter.com,
granting unrestricted access to our databases of literary
publishers, and all other areas of the site for up to a
We asked Managing Editor, J. Paul
Dyson, what the judges would be looking for:
know it seems like an obvious thing to say, but "good
writing". We're really not concerned with genre –
we're happy to consider straight literary fiction, romance,
science fiction, magic realism, surrealism, horror, ghost
stories – anything. We're not literary snobs –
we know that
genre pieces can be written every bit as well as traditional 'literary' pieces – but your writing does have to be
good. Whatever it is you've written about, you have to make us
want to read it. We have to believe in your settings, your
characters, and your voices; and the story has to live with us
after we put it down. There are short stories I read years ago
that I still think about occasionally. It can be funny, sad, or
just plain puzzling, but it has to have that impact."
you think you have or could write a short story that could
impress the judges you can enter online in seconds by visiting
You can enter stories for as little as $4 / £2.70 each, and
because you enter and pay online by credit card there's no
need to mess around with manuscripts, envelopes, and SAEs.
firstwriter.com Third International Poetry Competition is
also currently underway; you can enter your poems at https://www.firstwriter.com/competitions/poetry_competition.shtml.
You can also find the details of over 150 other competitions
by searching our database at https://www.firstwriter.com/competitions
By Pamela S.
excuses, excuses. We've heard them all, used a few. Well, it's
time to stop and get a revelation: you can't find time to
write – you have to make time to write!
are numerous opportunities afforded to us in any given day, we
just have to know what they are. One of the best things a busy
wife, mother, employee, writer, etc. can invest in is a lesson
on time management. You don't need to read a book or take a
course, just sit down and examine your day. Evaluate how you
spend your time, where you can shave off a few minutes (or
couple of hours) and use that time to write. Budget your time
just like you budget your money.
thing to keep in mind is this: writing doesn't always mean
sitting in front of the computer and pounding away on the keys.
Writing is a state of mind. Even in the midst of mundane,
everyday challenges, writers are writing; storing up information
for future use.
(11 to be exact) I wrote in five subject notebooks. I always had
a notebook handy or used a cassette recorder to keep track of my
ideas. Here are a few other tricks-of-the-trade I've learned
during my twenty-plus years as a housewife, mother, bookkeeper
- Washing dishes while you
cook instead of letting them pile up until afterwards will
create more free time when your meal is over.
- Take care of laundry while
cooking supper (the experts call this multi-tasking). Doing
the laundry daily or every other day (instead of letting it
accumulate until you have to spend hours or a whole day
catching up) will save you loads of time. Wash items that
don't need hanging or ironing, that way you can write while
waiting for the washer or dryer to go off and you can always
fold them later –
like tomorrow while you're cooking supper, watching that
favourite TV show, or helping the children with their
- Write, edit or do
research while sitting with the children when they do
homework. You're there if they need help and they are more
likely to sit still and get it done without goofing off as
much, again saving you time by not having to fuss at them.
Oh, by the way, don't think that
when the kids are all grown and gone you'll have more time. It
just doesn't work that way, something will always come up if you
let it. Believe me, I know!
Once again: evaluate your day and
see when you can squeeze in time to write. Do you watch TV?
Listen to the radio? Exercise? We all need recreation, but can
you set aside some of that time to write or combine those
activities with writing? Here are some examples of what I'm
- Exercise for 20 or 30 minutes
on six days instead of one to two hours on three days, or
carry a tape recorder while walking. People rightly put a
lot of store in exercising, but it's been proven that
frequent ten minute walks are just as beneficial physically
as longer walks two or three times a week. In the same way,
frequent ten minute writing sprees can be just as beneficial
as longer blocks of time two or three days a week.
- Write or edit during
commercials. Some people can't focus on two things at a
time, but you would be amazed at how easy it becomes once
you get used to it. I usually watch only three hours of TV a
week. On those days, I allow myself the privilege of taking
a break. The other evenings and during re-runs I'm either
writing, revising, editing or reading.
Have small children?
- Squeeze in a sentence or two
or a scene or chapter during their nap and/or play time.
- Hire a babysitter or swap
babysitting with another stay-home mom one or two days a
- Have older children do the
dishes or laundry and help clean the house so that you will
have time to write.
- Ask your spouse or other
family members to take the children out for pizza or a movie
one or two evenings a week so you can write.
- Some of these
suggestions may require spending a little money, but if you
can afford to, it will allow you hours of writing time.
Many of us spend our
hard-earned-cash on various forms of entertainment, why not
invest it in your writing career instead?
Have children, husband, and a job?
- Carry around a notepad and
pencil, a pack of index cards, a tape recorder or one of
those new-fangled word processors that are designed to save
up to 100 pages of text and work with your computer; that
way you can jot down thoughts, ideas or a scene that's
giving you trouble. You never know when time will present
you with a few moments; waiting in line at the bank or the
grocery store, waiting at a doctor or dentist office,
waiting at the car wash or mechanic for your car to be
ready, or at a ball game waiting for your child to come up
to bat or dance or perform with the band.
- Consider your lunch hour. Do
you really need an hour to eat?
- Combine activities that will
allow time to write like grocery shopping or getting your
oil changed or hair cut. Again, think: multi-tasking.
- Eat at your desk while writing
or how about noontime exercise followed by yoghurt and fruit
instead of that huge sit-down lunch? Think about it, a
slimmer waistline (or hips) and a finished chapter or two!
Have two jobs? Do shift-work or
- Write during slow times or
during your 15 minutes and/or lunch breaks. Again, this is
where the notebook, tape recorder, index cards or portable
word processor comes in handy.
Go to church 2 or 3 times a week?
- Will your relationship with
God really suffer if you spend some of that time writing?
After all, writing is a talent, a gift from Him. Don't you
think He wants you to develop that talent and use that gift?
Now don't go getting judgmental, it's just a suggestion.
A writer friend of mine made the
comment "even if you write one or two sentences, or a
paragraph each day, it all adds up." Not only did that make
sense but her words inspired me to give it a try. By adhering to
this advice I wrote an entire 70,000-word novel in four months.
Not a big deal, you say? Try this one on for size: I did it
while working two part time jobs (averaging 48 hrs per week) and
right smack-dab in the middle of tax season! (Remember, I'm a
bookkeeper.) Of course, during that last month other things went
by the wayside – like exercising and sleep – but the
book got finished.
Another idea would be to figure
out how many pages a day you need to write and then figure out
how/where/when you can do it. For example, let's say you want to
write a 100,000-word novel. How much time do you need or how
many pages a day do you need to accomplish your goal?
Let's find out. Be reasonable and
be realistic. Give yourself ample time (say six months). Okay:
100,000 words divided by six months = 16,670 words per month.
Divide that by 24 days (six days x four wks) = 694 words per
day. Divide that by 250 (average words per page) and you have
2.75 pages per day.
Now that you have a word count or
page goal in mind, think: how long does it take you to write 2–3
pages? Are there times when you can write more to compensate for
those days when you can't write at all?
Again, be reasonable and be
realistic. So what if it ends up taking nine months instead of
six? At least you're writing! And remember, just one page per
day equals a 365 page (or 91,250 word) novel at the end of a
One more thing I've found that
helped immensely was to stop spending so much time on the
Internet. Online lists and groups, Instant Messengers, etc. are wonderful,
but just plain take up too much time.
My point is, you have to make
the time to write. Write whenever, wherever, and however you
can. It takes discipline, dedication and hard work. I'm sure you
exhibit these attributes in other areas of your life, why not in
My husband's favourite saying is
"depends on how bad you want it."
How bad do you want it?
Me too, so c'mon: quit making
excuses (or using the same old, tired, worn-out ones) and start
Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the
co-founder and a member of the Bayou Writers Group in Lake
Charles, Louisiana and ACRW (American Christian Romance
Writers). Multi-published in fiction and creative non-fiction,
her writing has been tagged as "Inspirational with an
Edge!" Author's Website: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Author's Email: email@example.com
writers at firstwriter.com
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Ambitions magazine recently
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recently submitted material to Ambitions
by email please submit your work again
New, short fiction ePublisher is
looking for quality submissions now.
21st of each month.
fiction, science fiction, historical
fiction, articles, reviews, interviews,
puzzles and art wanted.
submission guidelines page at www.Seismicfish.com.
The Dabbling Mum is currently
dealing with Christianity. Articles
are sought that have a conversational
tone, share insight through anecdotes
and scripture references, and teach a
life lesson without the reader realising
that they have been taught something.
will be $15–$20 per original
complete writers' guidelines and needs
please visit: thedabblingmum.com.
money from your website
If you're one of the increasing
numbers of writers with their own
website you can now use it to not only
promote your writing but also make
affiliate program at firstwriter.com has
already been running for several years,
allowing website owners to earn money
simply by placing links to our poetry
competition on their website, but has
recently been expanded to include the
literary agents section of the site.
can now put literary agent links,
banners, and even search boxes on their
websites. This offers their users a
great feature and also offers them a
commission whenever anyone subscribes.
to join the affiliate program (it's
way the world is now" submissions
The Mississippi Review is
inviting submissions for a special Fall
issue on "the way the world is
asides, remarks, poems, or any written
form up to 1000 words are invited to
contribute to this "time capsule of
this political moment". Submissions
not only from the American perspective,
but also from other nations looking in,
submissions, by July 1, to Gary
Percesepe, Guest Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.