Law of Attraction

One of my womag writer’s group circulated a story for critique which was about the power of positive thinking. It involved the concept of the Law of Attraction, something I’d only vaguely heard of before and not Law of Attractionreally paid much attention to: I certainly hadn’t heard the actual term “Law of Attraction” before.

The story caused a little bit of debate in our emails, some people having no faith in this sort of thing, others being more positive. Me, I just liked the story.

However, I’m currently analysing the Woman’s Weekly market as I’m struggling to sell into it. I was surprised how many of their stories had an element of positivity. Me, being a glass half empty morose sort of person, I am going to struggle more to achieve that and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Can ‘positive thinking’ help, I wondered?

It’s an interesting concept, even though there is no scientific basis. Simply put, by focussing on positive or negative thoughts you bring positive or negative things into your life courtesy of the universe. For a pessimist like me it should be a no brainer.

According to Wiki how, there are 7 steps:

  1. Meditate for 5-10 minutes a day (optional)
  2. Be clear about what you want so you can send a clear message to the universe!
  3. Send a clear picture to the universe to ask for what you want
  4. Write your wish down (present tense, all positive words): imagine what you wish coming true every day
  5. Feel how you will feel after your wish has been granted
  6. Show gratitude for everything the universe has given you
  7. Trust the universe. (This bit is complicated and I don’t really understand what it’s saying TBH). Don’t stress about the how, let the universe do it for you.

So, that’s a success with Woman’s Weekly in the bag. As long as I don’t mess up on trusting the universe. Probably, however, I’ll continue to research the market as well, just as a back-up.

Last night I tried this positive thinking malarkey out by being very positive about beating my husband at scrabble and having 3 7-letter words. You know what? I had a rare victory, though only one 7-letter word.

And here is the obvious flaw – if we’d both imagined ourselves winning that game, well, one of us was always going to be disappointed.

Still, it can’t help being positive about a sale to WW. I have a sneaking suspicion that success is more in the hands of fiction editor Emma┬áthan the universe, but I won’t lose anything by visualising and trusting some intangible cosmos-based thing. I won’t be meditating, though. Every time I try that, I fall asleep.

I’ll report back in a few months (I note that there is no time limitation on success for the universe to grant your wish, but a couple of months seems a reasonable trial to me, at say one or two submissions a month.) Meanwhile, I need to find a front cover of Woman’s Weekly and pin it up somewhere I can see it.

So, how about you? Do you think some positive thinking and visualisation is going to increase your chances of writing success?








Fame at last!

It’s sunny … somewhere

It’s been a miserable week (for some anyway. Me, I love the snow) and there are various annoyances in my life right now. So it was cheering to find myself on The People’s Friend’s blog as writer of the week. Terrible photo, of course, but it’s still just a bit thrilling to see your name up there. That ‘I’ve arrived’ feeling, if only in a small way.

It made up for a daylong powercut, which forced me out of the house, and much gnashing of teeth. Why were my teeth a-gnashing? Because, after the power went off, I decided to check on the weather forecast. This is a constant thorn in my side – I’ve even written a black comedy flash about it. What I got on my mobile was ‘dry in most places (except Scotland) with some sunny intervals’. I checked the weather at the place I was thinking of spending the day (Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire) and found the forecast was for cloud all day long. Where I live? Same thing. Newcastle? Heavy rain. It was only when I got down to Birmingham that a half-hearted half-sun icon peeping from behind a cloud first appeared. In other words, mostly dry with sunny intervals in the south.

But, look on the bright side, it wasn’t actually raining (though it did start to do this about 2pm). So I set off for Fairburn Ings and hit…dense fog! 40mph on the motorway for miles. Didn’t mention that on the forecast, did it? They should move the weather centre to Manchester or Leeds, that’s my view.

Anyway, rant over. Having my serial finally published prompted me to join ALCS, or the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society, the people who keep an eye on who’s using your work and then send you a cheque every so often.

I’d heard of them and knew other womag writers were members, but with my miserly output I hadn’t seen the point. Apparently it’s very worthwhile, financially, so I downloaded the form, filled it in and can look forward to a year of struggling to find the right ISSN number for my meagre successes.

A small matter for more money in the bank.

Meanwhile, the power is back on and I’m back to writing. Happy times.




Powerful stuff

What an ego boost to find yourself on the front page

So, there I was, in the bath, reading The People’s Friend on Readly (so much cheaper than buying all the womags every month) when I turned the page and found myself staring at the start of a new serial called To St Peter’s Field.

That’s mine!

I had been told it was coming out this week but somehow slipped a cog and didn’t equate the date with the day.

So this morning I nipped over to the shop to buy a hard copy. Even better, I’m on the front page right along with the word ‘powerful’.

I like that very much indeed.

It’s the first time my name has made the front page of a womag and it feels very special. The glass half empty person says that’s the first and last time so enjoy it while it lasts. The glass half full person I’m trying to cultivate is searching around for the next serial plot. Because writers just have to keep on writing.

The email critique group I’m in for my womag writing is having a lot of success at the moment – lots of sales this week for a number of members. Yes, we all go through droughts as well but if you keep on writing and honing and keep on sending, you’ll get there.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining today – a rare thing in these parts. So I’m going to be tidying outside in the garden, hoping I get some plot inspiration along the way. And if you’ve got a great idea for a plot, you know where to find me…

Or you could just write it yourself.

That’s Life!

Just when you’re giving up hope of being a writer, when you can’t decide if you should aim at short stories or novels…or neither, out of the blue comes an acceptance!

I’d never submitted anything to That’s Life Australia before and, to be honest, had forgotten I’d even sent the story. Nor had I entered it into my submissions spreadsheet. But there it was, an email telling me my story had sold. Coming out in issue 8 and they’re going to send me a decent wad of cash as a result. Shame I won’t be able to get my hands on a copy of the finished article which will be published in Australia. A small price to pay.

It just goes to show, if you’re a writer and you’ve gone a long time with no luck – don’t despair. Chances are, like most of us, it’s only a matter of time before you get some good news. Keep writing and keep sending that work out. Work that remains on your hard drive will never get accepted.

When I went back to reread this story, it was remarkably tight. There was nothing I could criticise at all. This was the result of feedback I’d had from my writerly helpers. Every last plot point was covered with just the right words to make it clear – not easy with a word count of under 700 to play with.

And that’s another rule, one which I keep flouting myself. If you’re sending stuff out and you know there are one or two things that aren’t quite right, or are having to explain to other readers, chances are the editor will have the same feeling. Keep at it until you are 100% happy with your story or article and you will increase your chances of success.




Good Omens

What an interesting day it has been so far (and it’s still only lunchtime). First, my Facebook page has reminded me I made my first ever sale on this day 4 years ago. Then I had an email from the People’s Friend about the serial I wrote for them (my first) saying they loved it and they’d be happy for me to submit another idea. Finally I had some feedback on a story which has been rejected by my three main markets, although two of them had seriously considered buying it. So what was wrong?

With the writing? Nothing, which is more good news and, taken with the other two events of the day, I’m taking this as a good omen.

With the plotting? A few tweaks might have produced a different outcome. Which is where your writing group of people selling to the same market as you comes in: they can spot things you, as the author, don’t.

The feedback on my story was a promotional freebie offered by a new writing website Vanda and Linda’s Writespace. This is run by Vanda Inman and Linda Lewis, who are both prolific womag writers. They run monthly competitions and also a critique service. The feedback on my story was very constructive, specific and prompt.

So, if you are having trouble getting your womag stories published and aren’t sure why, it’s certainly something well worth considering.

Meanwhile I’m off to try and think up another serial. Strike while the iron is hot, as they say.

Here’s hoping you are all set for a positive 2018, too.