Writing Update: Feb 2017

“We found it very compelling and well-written” but…

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerFirst, some positive news. I’ve been editing my second novel, a sci-fi adventure story for young adults, and enjoyed whipping the text into excellent shape. Only another 6,500 words to go… yippee.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerMore positive news: I’ve also been editing my short stories (a selection of the ones I wrote during my NaNoWriMo challenge #30days30shorts) and started submitting them to competitions. No news to report yet… fingers crossed.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerAnd more good news: These little signs of recognition mean a great deal.

  • The Ramblers contacted me last week, and asked me to write a blog post for their site, on the theme of footpaths. Done.
  • Last month my coastalwalker.co.uk blog was listed by Winfields as one of the best outdoor blogs of 2017.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerNow back to my main goal: I’m still trying to find a home for my first novel, a story set in 6th century China. Last month, I came up with a sub-goal: submit to 30 agents. I’d already submitted to 20, but people advised me to try harder before giving up.

typing-header-for-wordpressSubmitting is hard work. I’ve moaned about this before, but you have to:

  1. research the agencies,
  2. pick a suitable one,
  3. search that agency’s website for agents,
  4. look at their individual interests,
  5. work out if they are taking on new clients,
  6. look at the submission guidance,
  7. decide if they want a one-page synopsis or a two-page synopsis, or whatever,
  8. work out if they want three chapters, first 10,000 words, or whatever,
  9. check if they’re fussy about fonts (although why anybody chooses to read Times New Roman script on screen is beyond me!)
  10. write an enticing, personally tailored, and irresistible query letter,
  11. check everything (again) for typos and spelling mistakes,
  12. finally, shove everything into an email addressed to the RIGHT person,
  13. and hit SEND!

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that agents are supposed to be working for the writer, and not the other way round.

Anyway, I’ve achieved my goal of 30 submissions. I’ve had 17 rejections, including some very nice ones with encouraging comments, and a few requests to see the whole manuscript. Now waiting to see if any more responses trickle in.

Brickbats and Bouquets…

Sometimes good things happen when you least expect them.

Let’s start with the bouquets

Recently I received two lovely compliments.


Firstly, Winfields Outdoors contacted me. They’ve listed my coastal walking blog (coastalwalker.co.uk)  as one of the best outdoor blogs of 2017. They even gave me a nifty little badge to display.

You can see the full listing on Winfields’ website. Continue reading “Brickbats and Bouquets…”

January 2017 – writing update

There is more than one way to achieve a goal.

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published.

The novel was finished a long time ago. The sticking-point has been finding an agent.

So, last month, I came up with a sub-goal, which was to submit to 30 agents before giving up. So far my tally is 27 and that means I only have 3 left to go. Continue reading “January 2017 – writing update”

How to write an effective blog post

In this post, I’m going to share the single most important method you can use to write an effective blog post. And, don’t worry, it’s easy to remember and quick to apply.

It involves a simple say-it-three-times structure. Continue reading “How to write an effective blog post”

FOUR things a Twitter beginner MUST do.

Get off to a great start on Twitter with my 4 simple tips.

(1) Get rid of the egg

Seriously.  Who wants to interact with an unborn chicken?

Keeping the Twitter egg as your profile photo will make you look like a complete beginner or, even worse, give the impression you are a scammer or a troll.

Replace the egg with a personal profile picture. It’s simple to do and will make a huge difference to the number of followers you collect.

What photo should you upload?  If you absolutely cannot bear the thought of having your face on Twitter, you could choose your pet, a favourite view, a flower, or something that represents you. I give some examples below: Continue reading “FOUR things a Twitter beginner MUST do.”