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Monday, February 28, 2011

MWC Haiku Writing Contest Winners!


I'm pleased to reveal today the winners of the myWritersCircle Prize Haiku Writing Contest.

As you may recall, the task in this contest was to write a traditional (5-7-5) haiku using at least two out of three specified words (mirror, book, river). Providing a title was optional.

The contest was judged by MWC member Rohi Shetty, the winner of the first MWC haiku-writing contest and also a winner in our recent flash fiction writing contest,

The results are now in, so I can reveal that the winner (not a fix, I promise!) was our new moderator 510bhan, otherwise known as Sio. This is her winning entry:

Don't Trust the Reflection

this river mirror
its surface moonlight silvered
ripples and distorts

Rohi said about this: "I was impressed by the original metaphors in the first and second lines and the elegant way they were linked to the 'fragment' in the third line. The visual image in the second line is exceptional. The apt title was an additional bonus."

Many congratulations to Sio, who wins a copy of WCCL's amazing Writer's Block CD. This is an audio CD using binaural beat technology which is intended not only to help writers overcome writer's block but to boost their creativity.

The second prize winner was a new member, RamaCaida, with the entry below:

Ruined book pages
soaked in a river of tears
unhappy ending

Rohi commented on this: "I liked the ambiguous twist in the third line, which could be taken as either pathos or wry humour. Also, it could mean an unhappy ending in the book or in the life of the poet or both."

Congratulations to RamaCaida, who wins a copy of WCCL's excellent PDF course by Mel McIntyre, How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days or Less.

The third prize winner was another new member, Cyndith. Here is her (I assume) entry:

Mirror to My Soul

Wild, winding river!
Refract my rhymes in ripples--
Mirror to my soul.

Rohi said of this poem: "I liked the idea of rhymes being refracted into ripples and the alliteration in the second line."

Congratulations to Cyndith, who wins a copy of MWC's poetry anthology Rogues of the Red Barren Bar in e-book form.

Rohi also selected two entries as Highly Commended. The first one was from Kate B, below:

Mascara river
Mirror smashed, case packed, door slammed
Another book closed

And the second came from Creativegal49:

Upset river roils,
Splashes, twisting, turning back,
A mirror of me.

Many congratulations to both writers. I'm only sorry we have no prizes to give you!

Rohi also commented: "Unfortunately, out of the 40 entries, 15 had to be disqualified either because they did not include two out of the three words (mirror, book, river) or did not use the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count. I recall you wrote a blog post once about the crucial importance of following the contest submission guidelines. Many of the remaining entries were excellent, and I had to read them all several times before deciding on the winners. It wasn't easy!"

He went on to say, "I am aware that my choices are subjective and others in the forum may choose other haiku as winners. On the whole, I enjoyed judging the contest. It was a fun and rewarding experience. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered the contest."

I can only echo Rohi's comments, and thank him very much for taking the time to be our judge. Thanks also to moderator Andrew Fairhurst, who kindly agreed to forward all entries to Rohi so that they could be judged anonymously, and to everyone who entered the contest, whether or not they were successful this time.

Watch out for more great prize contests on myWritersCircle.com soon!

Photo credit: wickedrice on Flickr.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Ten Top Twitter Follows for Writers

More and more writers are joining the micro-blogging service Twitter, and a question I hear repeatedly from newcomers is, "What other Twitter users should I follow?"

So I thought today I'd share ten of my top Twitter recommendations for writers. These are people whose tweets I especially look out for, as they regularly share useful, interesting and sometimes entertaining info and links. I've included their Twitter bios as well...

BubbleCow - Publishing experts tweeting links to help you get published and sell more books. BubbleCow provides professional copy editing and book proposal advice.

BookBuzzr - World's No.1 Free Online Book Marketing Technology for Authors. fReado for readers - World's Biggest Free Book-Winning Site. (Freya - Author Community Manager).

Indieauthor - April L. Hamilton. Indie author, publishing agitator, Mom, and founder of www.publetariat.com.

FreelanceWJ - FreelanceWritingJobs. Number one online community for freelance writers. Website at http://freelancewritinggigs.com

namenick - Piotr Kowalczyk - Geek fiction writer 3.0 beta, self-publisher, mobile and e-book freak. I'm also at http://ebookfriend.ly

thecreativepenn - Joanna Penn | Brisbane, Australia. Blogging on adventures in writing, publishing and book marketing. Speaker, traveler, reinventor of self. Author of thriller novel Pentecost.

WritersMistakes - A writing tutor's blog and information resource for new writers of non-fiction - news, markets, competitions, articles and mistakes (and how to put them right). Location: UK.

SHurleyHall - Sharon Hurley Hall. Web content writing consultant. Professional blogger. Polymath. Great researcher. Fanatical about deadlines.

Copyblogger - Brian Clark. Online marketing intelligence that works. From Copyblogger.com and other smart people.

Problogger - Darren Rowse | Australia. I blog about twitter and tweet about blogging. Sometimes I blog about tweeting about blogging and tweet about blogging about twitter.

Obviously, your writing interests may not correspond exactly with mine, so some of these folk may be of more interest to you than others. Still, I highly recommend checking them all out by clicking on their Twitter IDs. If you like what you see, you can then click to follow them.

And, of course, you are very welcome to follow me as well - here's a link to my Twitter homepage!

If you find this list useful, let me know and I'll publish further lists of great tweeps to follow in future.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Using Dashes and Ellipses in Dialogue


I recently edited a bunch of short stories that were submitted for the 100 Stories for Queensland fundraising anthology (due out soon!).

These were the stories we accepted from the large number submitted, so obviously all had something good to offer. But one thing that struck me was that some authors were clearly unsure how to punctuate dialogue and, in particular, how to use ellipses and dashes at the end of a speech. So here's a quick refresher on this subject...

An ellipsis (the plural is ellipses) is a row of three full stops/periods with no extra spaces between them. In dialogue, it is normally used to show a speech that trails off.

"I think we should take that road," Mark said. "Although then again..."

In contrast, a dash can be used to show a speech that breaks off suddenly or is interrupted.

"You said it would be safe here. This is all your--"

"Shut up! And stop complaining. We'll be fine."

The style the editors used for 100 Stories for Queensland was to put no space in front of an ellipsis, and one space after if it appeared in mid-sentence. For example:

"I could eat a... Say, when are we going to eat?"

This approach is pretty standard among publishers nowadays.

For dashes generally, we used unspaced em rules (the alternative, popular with UK publishers, is spaced en rules). I'm using two hyphens side by side to represent dashes in this post, because en rules and em rules don't tend to display well on web pages. If you're working in Microsoft Word and want to produce an en rule (short dash), the simplest way is to hit the Ctrl key at the same time as the minus key on the numeric keypad. For an em rule (long dash) Ctrl+Alt+the minus key will do the job.

Incidentally, on other web pages you will often read about em dashes and en dashes as though they are two different punctuation marks. I feel that this is misleading, so personally I prefer to refer to them by the typographical terms em rule and en rule. They are just different ways of representing the same punctuation mark (the dash); the distinction is therefore purely a typographical one.

If you want to use ellipses and dashes in dialogue, I hope you will do so, as correctly deployed they make speech both livelier and more life-like. Use the typography above, by all means, but bear in mind that some publishers have different house styles. One publishing house I worked with a while ago despaired of the general confusion over dashes. They therefore told their authors to use hyphens to represent dashes throughout, leaving it to the copy editors (such as me) to mark up those that should be dashes.

If you have any comments or questions about the use of dashes and ellipses in dialogue, please do post them below.

Photo Credit: Three Women Arguing on the Sidewalk by Jo Guldi on Flickr.


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Friday, February 18, 2011

PLR Week for UK Authors

If you're a UK author registered for PLR, you should have received any money due to you for the year 2009/10 this week. My own payment arrived in my bank account on 14 February - a nice Valentine's Day present!

For those who don't know, PLR stands for Public Lending Right. The UK PLR Office distributes money to UK authors based on the number of times their books have been borrowed from public libraries in Britain in the last year.

This year they are paying 6.25 pence per library loan. This money is paid to authors as compensation for their presumed lost royalties on sales.

All UK authors are eligible for PLR (even if they don't currently live in Britain), but you do have to register with the UK PLR Office first. If you're a UK author with at least one published book to your name, therefore, you should sign up immediately to get what is due to you. If you are already registered at the UK PLR Office site, you can log in to the PLR website to view your 2009/10 earnings statement.

Non-UK nationals cannot claim from the UK PLR Office, but many other countries (though not the USA as far as I know) have similar schemes in place to compensate writers for library lending. In many countries there are also reciprocal arrangements to compensate non-nationals for lending in the country concerned. In Britain this is co-ordinated by ALCS (the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society), and UK authors should also register separately with them. ALCS also pay out photocopying fees to authors, incidentally.

I always find it interesting to study my PLR statement. One message that comes across very clearly in my latest one is that public libraries are cutting back on buying new books. By far my highest-earning titles for PLR are those published 5 to 10 years ago. My recent titles have fewer loans and some none at all, suggesting that not many libraries have them in stock. But even my oldest books, published up to twenty years ago, are still being borrowed in some libraries. Those copies must be pretty dog-eared by now!

Over the years I have made literally thousands of pounds from PLR payments; in the case of some books I have earned more from PLR than I have in publisher fees or royalties. So if you're a UK author it really is well worth taking the few minutes needed to register yourself and your book/s at the UK PLR Office site. Otherwise, you really are leaving money on the table.

Finally, you may have heard that the UK PLR Office is one of the organisations the government is closing as part of its comprehensive spending review. That is true, but the PLR scheme itself will continue. Responsibility for administering it will be transferred to another existing publicly-funded body during 2011/12, although as far as I know the agency concerned has not yet been announced. In the meantime it's business as usual at the UK PLR Office website, and if you're a published author and not yet registered with them you can (and should) do so there.

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver on Flickr.


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Five Top Resources for Romantic Fiction Writers


Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you got at least one card :-)

In view of the occasion, I thought I'd share some top resources for romance writers. I'm not a romance writer myself, though I've had my moments. For example, my first published book was a guide for singletons called How to Find Your Ideal Partner, while my first published short story was a teenage romance.

There's no doubt that there is a huge appetite for romantic fiction, and with electronic publishing now taking off in this field as well, the prospects for romance authors have seldom looked brighter.

First up then is Charlotte Dillon's Resources for Romance Writers. Charlotte's site is beautifully written and designed. As well as links to many useful resources, it includes lots of practical advice for budding romance authors. Highly recommended.

Also well worth a visit is the Coffee and Roses blog of chick-lit author Miranda Dickinson (also, incidentally, a member of my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com).

In the last two years Miranda has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and - hopefully - fortune, including becoming a Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author. This year she is keeping a video blog of everything that goes into writing her third novel, It Started With a Kiss. Not only is her blog worth reading for tips on romance writing, it's very entertaining as well!

My next site is eHarlequin. This is the website of Harlequin, Silhouette, Spice and various other romantic fiction imprints operated by the world's largest romantic fiction publisher, Harlequin Mills & Boon. I'd particularly direct you to their Writing Tips page. This includes writing guidelines and submission samples for many of their imprints, as well as writing articles, updated monthly, from editors and authors.

The Passionate Pen is another top site for budding romance writers. Written by Avon Books historical romance author Jenna Petersen (who also writes erotic romance as Jess Michaels), this site features link to publishers and agents who accept all kinds of romantic fiction, along with links to other resources and websites for writers at all levels. There are also articles by Jenna herself on a variety of writing-related topics.

Finally, if you are interested in writing the more explicit type of romance, you should visit the Erotica Readers and Writers Association website. This does include some "adult" material, so please read the warning before you click through to the main part of the site. Inside, you'll find all manner of information and resources for writers of this type of fiction, along with pages of calls for submissions from publishers.

Good luck, and enjoy your romance writing!

* If you know of any other good resources for romantic fiction writers, please do post them as comments below.

Photo Credit: Candid Shot Version II by Nestor Galina on Flickr.


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Friday, February 11, 2011

How Do You Use Facebook as a Writer? [Open Thread]

Nick Daws Facebook Page
I'm looking for feedback from readers today on how you use Facebook to help promote your books and yourself as a writer.

From correspondence received, I know that many writers are unsure how best to use Facebook.

And it doesn't help that Facebook, while being the world's most popular social networking platform, is not particularly intuitive or user-friendly, and is also constantly changing the way it works.

For those who don't know, there are basically three types of Facebook page you can have. The first is your Profile. This is the page everyone has to have to be a Facebook member. Your Profile is where you post your personal details and view your newsfeed. If you post on other people's Facebook pages, the image that appears beside your posts is the one you put on your Profile.

You can also have an official or business Page (note the capital 'P'). These used to be called Fan Pages, but many people didn't like the connotations of that term, so they are now just called Pages. That removed the awkwardness factor of referring to your followers as 'fans', whilst adding significantly to the confusion potential.

Many businesses have Pages, and many freelance writers (including me) as well (see image above). Pages have various advantages, high among which is the fact that they can be viewed by anyone even if they don't have a Facebook account themselves. They are therefore much more visible to search engines.

You don't 'friend' a Page - rather, you 'like' it, and updates from that Page will then appear in your newsfeed. However, the owner of the Page won't see your personal updates on his or her own newsfeed. A Page is rather like a blogging tool, therefore. It's good for getting your message out, but not as good as your Profile for actually networking with people.

Finally, there are Facebook Groups. As the name indicates, these are for groups of people who share a common interest. I set up a small, open group a while ago for readers of my guide How to Win Contests. I am also currently a member of a closed (invitation-only) Group for people involved in editing the charity anthology 100 Stories for Queensland.

My own approach to Facebook was, initially, to keep my Profile for personal updates to and from family and close friends, and use my Page (Fan Page as it was then) for writing-related info. This has worked to some extent, but recently I've been adding more and more writing colleagues to my roster of friends, so in my newsfeed it's getting harder to spot family updates as they fly by! It can also be a little awkward if I want to share personal (e.g. health-related) information about family members. On the other hand, by having more fellow writers as friends (rather than just followers of my Page), I'm seeing a lot more networking opportunities opening up.

I'm aware that other writers have approached this differently. One colleague, for example, has two Profiles, one for 'family and friends' and another for her writing colleagues. She also has a Group for people who wish to read and discuss her current work in progress. It's an interesting approach, though it does get confusing at times, and she often ends up posting the same update two or three times, to be sure everyone receives it.

So, I'd love to know how you use Facebook. Do you think a single Profile is enough, or do you have two (or more)? Do you have a Page (or Group) as well? And how do you distinguish between them, to make the most of the opportunities they present while (hopefully) protecting your privacy and avoiding being swamped by so many updates you miss the ones you were most interested in?

Please post your comments, ideas and suggestions below!

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Prize Haiku Writing Contest


I'm pleased to announce another free-to-enter prize contest on my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com.

For this contest, entrants are required to write a haiku including at least two of the following three words: mirror, book, river (these words only - no derivative forms).

Most haiku (it's written the same way in the plural) do not have titles, but you can give yours a title of up to 10 words if you wish. Haiku do not have to rhyme; again, most do not.

Our judge for this contest is MWC member Rohi Shetty. Rohi was the winner of the first MWC haiku-writing contest and was also a winner in our recent flash fiction writing contest, so he clearly excels in short-form writing!

Rohi will be looking for correctly written haiku, which follow the rules of this poetic form (as well as the rules of this contest). You can read all about haiku in this article, and there are some good modern examples here (with a Valentine's Day theme!).

Briefly, a haiku is a three-line poem, where the first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables, and the third 5 syllables again. Haiku are traditionally connected with nature and the passing of the seasons, but for the purposes of this contest they don't have to be. A true haiku is meant to evoke 'a sudden, sharp response of wonder and understanding from the reader'. Anyone who achieves this in their haiku will have done very well indeed!

We have not one but TWO prizes to give away in this contest. The first prize is a copy of WCCL's amazing Writer's Block CD, which is intended not only to help writers overcome writer's block but also to boost their creativity. And the second prize is WCCL's excellent PDF course by Mel McIntyre, How to Write a Children's Book in 14 Days or Less.

If the winning writers already have the product in question or don't want it for some reason, they can choose another product from WCCL's writing range to the same value or less. You can view all the products in WCCL's writing range by clicking here.

You will need to be a member of myWritersCircle and logged in to submit an entry. Send your poem by PM (Personal Message) to moderator Andrewf, who will forward all entries anonymously to the judge. You can send Andrew a PM by clicking here to go to his profile page and clicking on the link 'Send this member a personal message' near the bottom. Please do not include your name or any other identifying information with your entry - we will know who you are from your forum ID. As haiku are very short, we will allow up to three to be submitted per person.

Naturally, copyright in all entries will be retained by the writer. However, we reserve the right to publish the winning entries, and any runners-up, once only on the forum and once only on this blog. Anyone submitting an entry for this contest will be deemed to have agreed to these rules.

The closing date for this contest is 9 am GMT on Friday 25 February 2011. Any entries received after this time will unfortunately have to be disqualified.

I will post the results of the contest here and on the forum, along with the judge's comments, as soon as possible once it has been judged.

Good luck, and happy haiku writing!

Photo Credit: Magic Garden by Randy Robertson on Flickr.


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Interview with Children's Author Lorraine Hellier

Lorraine Hellier - The Wayward WagonToday I'm welcoming to my blog UK children's author Lorraine Hellier.

I've known Lorraine for some years, as we both belonged to the same local writers circle. Lorraine was also one of the first people to buy my course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. She now has three children's books published, and more on the way.

Let's get straight on to the interview then...

ND: Welcome to my blog, Lorraine. What made you decide to become a children's author?

LH: Thanks, Nick, it's good to be here.

My experience and rapport with children has probably influenced my writing. I have worked with children for many years in dentistry, clinically one-to-one, and in schools with all ages and ability levels.

Apart from that, the ideas that fired my imagination suited this genre. My style of writing is visual and full of colour and images. I walk in the footsteps of my characters.

ND: Were there any particular books or resources you found helpful or inspiring as a new children's author?

LH: There are many resources available for aspiring authors, which in my experience vary considerably in standard.

Those I found especially useful were Writing a Children's Book by Pamela Cleaver and your own Write Any Book in Under 28 Days CD-ROM.

Winchester and other writers' conferences and the London Book Fair seminars are excellent for getting advice from agents and publishers, and also for meeting other authors.

I must also mention my local writers circle, Lichfield & District Writers, from which I have gained invaluable advice and support.

And, of course, the Internet for researching absolutely anything!

ND: Could you say a bit about your existing children's books - for example, what age group are they aimed at, and what sort of topics do they explore?

LH: The books have been written as individual stories but they will become a series. They would suit the 7-10 age range, but I have had feedback from adults who have read and enjoyed them too!

The first four books introduce a different child with a problem. Their visits to the fantasy land of Serendipity help them. In book five they will all meet together.

The Other End of the Rainbow is Zoe's adventure. She is unhappy at her new school and finding it hard to make friends. She starts a part-time job in an antiques shop, where she enters the Grandfather Clock, which is a doorway to the land of Serendipity. Assisting new friends there who are facing a crisis helps her gain self-confidence.

Pirates...and a Piglet is Matthew's story. He is staying at his grandmother's during the school holidays. He visits the fantasy world through the Grandfather Clock at her house. The time he spends in Serendipity, his adventures and experiences, help him to mature into a fine young man.

The Wayward Wagon is Ellen's turn to visit the fantasy land. The Grandfather Clock has now moved to the village school. Ellen has problems at school with bullying. In Serendipity she learns to work in a team, and also help them find a lost child. The bullying problem is addressed by Ellen and her friends producing a project to help other children.

The Boy who Tricked Trolls, currently awaiting publication, will be Alex's story. He has responsibilities beyond the normal teenage boy, helping his mother, who has had an accident and is confined to a wheelchair. He has an encounter with trolls and assists with a rescue. In book five, the four children will be meeting together!

The books are available from Amazon, W. H. Smith's and Waterstones, and signed copies from my website at www.lorrainehellier.com

ND: Have you any tips for other would-be children's authors?

LH: Certainly. Here are four...

1. Join a critique group. Share with a small group of other writers - they don't have to be the same genre.
2. Read aloud - it helps distinguish repeated words or vocabulary which doesn't sound right. Remember, some children's books are read out to children by their parents.
3. Try to write from the point of view of a child and visualise events through the characters' eyes.
4. Read other authors in the genre.

ND: You have already mentioned using the Internet to help research your books. Could you say a litle more about this?

LH: I plan to use the Internet more in the future as I begin new projects. At present I mainly use search engines such as Google and see where the links take me. For example, For Pirates...and a Piglet I had to find out about Blackbeard and his ship The Queen Anne's Revenge. For The Wayward Wagon there was the issue of bullying to research. For my latest book I have had to find out about trolls and the legends that surround them.

For personal use I keep up to date with friends, including other writers, through Facebook. On Amazon I read children's book reviews to see what is popular. Also, I like to travel, so when I have holidays booked, I'll look at websites associated with the places I'm visiting.

ND: I notice you say on your website that you are available for book signings, school/library visits, writers/readers groups, etc. Is this something you enjoy?

LH: I love meeting people and hope to have more time for this in future. I did a book signing in W. H. Smith's, Sutton Coldfield, when my first book was published. I have led workshops at Lichfield District Writers, which I enjoy. Writers can support each other with our various experiences, and offer advice and encouragement.

ND: Finally, are there any projects you're working on right now that you'd like to tell my readers about?

LH: As I mentioned, I have completed book four in the Serendipity series, The Boy who Tricked Trolls, which is Alex's story, and I have begun the fifth book, which will bring the four characters together. I have also written a series for younger children about a cat.

I also have some ideas to research when I 'retire' from my 'day job' later this year.

* * *

Thank you to Lorraine for some interesting answers, and for throwing a little light on the life of a children's author. If you want to find out more about Lorraine and her books (and maybe even order a signed copy for a young person of your acquaintance), a good starting point would be Lorraine's homepage at www.lorrainehellier.com.

And, of course, if you have any comments or questions for Lorraine, please post them below and she will be happy to answer them.

Book cover image and publicity photo provided by the author.


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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How to Work Through Writer's Block Without Getting Too Distracted

writer's block
Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post by author Gerard Harris from the Tuppence Magazine UK entertainment news and reviews website. Gerard shares some thoughts on how he combats the dreaded writer's block...

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When you're writing a significant project like a novel or a collection of poems, it's sort of inevitable that at some point you're going to be hit with writer's block. When it strikes, one of the worst things to do is to sit staring at your screen in complete frustration. This can result in feeling resentment towards the project because of the frustration of writer's block, so it's important to take a break to let your mind unwind.

A good diversion is to write something else, either related to the project or completely different to give your thoughts the time they need to unclog. However, speaking from experience, the danger here is that the new project takes on a life of its own that leaves the original project largely ignored.

I'm writing this post safe in the knowledge that I have actually been fairly unsuccessful at living up to the aspiration that the title implies. However, I hope that the experience I've had as a result of my failings will help you to take on small writing projects as short-term inspiration pieces as opposed to a total distraction.

Firstly, it's important to make sure that the new piece of writing is small enough to take you just a day or so to complete. If your mini-distraction will take anything more than a week to finish, then it could turn into a whole new beast of its own. Although, by far the biggest mistake would be to take on writing something large scale in the midst of writer's block on your main project. This could kill off any chances you might have had of getting it back on track.

Luckily, we now have social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, so it's easy to vent frustration with small snippets of writing whenever you feel like it. While it's probably not much different to Ernest Hemingway writing a diary entry, the biggest point in favor of a Twitter or Facebook account is that other people get to see your woes and give you a bit of support. Getting feedback on a few ideas could also be a good way to use social media sites to get over writer's block.

There are lots of other options online to help you get through the block. For example, there is a myriad of short writing competitions to choose from, though steer clear of the ones you have to pay for the privilege of entering. Writing reviews is another good option, especially if you focus on something related to your main project. If you're writing a crime story, reviewing a recently published crime novel might be a good way to get some inspiration, as well as giving you more insight into what makes a book publishable.

However, there's no reason to confine your writing to online options. There are plenty of writing and literature opportunities to look into. Writing a haiku or two might be a good way to get past the block, or maybe a letter to your favorite newspaper or magazine. Getting your name published might give you the head rush you need to jump-start your project once again.

The most important thing, though, is to keep on writing. Don't fight it. It's probably what you love to do anyway.

About the author: Gerard Harris writes the entertainment news and reviews website, Tuppence Magazine.

The site features a monthly writing competition to encourage its readers to submit their own take on the latest entertainment releases. Anything from a review of a new album to an old book would be considered. For more information, click here to visit the competition info page. Prizes are usually books, CDs and DVDs, but who knows what will find its way in there in the future? It's like the jumble sale of prize giveaway competitions.

* * *

Many thanks to Gerard for an interesting article. Don't forget to check out his website as well!

And if writer's block is a problem, you might also like to consider investing in The Writer's Block CD, from my sponsors, The WCCL Network. This is an audio CD which uses 'binaural beat' technology to help entrain your brain to its most creative frequencies.

Finally, if you have any comments on Gerard's article, or suggestions of your own for combating writer's block, please do post them below!

Photo Credit: Steve Nelson by Marco Arment on Flickr.


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