Yes, I know, this is a really easy one, so it feels like a bit of a cheat, BUT I’m only allowed to count it once in the year, so that’s it now and there really was something I wanted to comment on in the April issue, (which I received through the post on 3rd March).
The magazine’s columnist, Lorraine Mace, wrote a really funny article (page 70, right at the back), about meeting a woman at a social event and being delighted to discover that the woman ran a writers’ group.
Lorraine lives in France and works as a freelance writer, which is probably a rather lonely existence. Although she has lots of web contact with other writers, she yearns, quite understandably, to mix with real-life writers, so she assumed she’d be able to join this lady’s writing group and was delighted to have met her! I’m not really doing the article justice here but suffice to say, all did not go well and Lorraine was well and truly snubbed by ‘Sally’, who clearly had no intention of letting her join her elite group! I suspect it was all just really a cover for something much more sinister (wife-swapping? You know what these ex-pat types are like! That would make a good story, wouldn’t it?!).
Anyway, it reminded me of a couple of my own disastrous attempts to join writing groups in the past, so I wrote about that.
If you want to write to Writing Magazine (the star letter gets a prize but nothing for the others. This month’s star prize was a copy of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2011), then here are the details:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Writing Magazine, Letters to The Editor, Warners Group Publications plc, 5th Floor, 31-32 Park Row, Leeds LS1 5JD. Include your name and address and ensure all letters are a maximum of 250 words and are exclusive to Writing Magazine.
2. Gardeners’ World £3.70 monthly
email: email@example.com or write to: Gardeners World Magazine, Media Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TQ
The star letter gets £100 of National Garden Gift Vouchers, all other letters £10 or £25 for a letter with a photo (so it’s worth a quick snap if you’ve got a digital camera!).
They also have a slot for a ‘before and after’ picture – say, for example, if you’re restored a dilapidated garden or pond. They pay £100 for that!
I wrote about slugs (ugh!), the bane of my life, until I got more blackbirds, thrushes and hedgehogs in my garden. The hedgehogs are still hibernating but I’m hoping that, in early April, when they should emerge from their sleep, they will come back to my garden each night and continue the good work of eating the slimy things! I encouraged them by leaving out hedgehog food and water each night and I’ve also helped the blackbirds along by leaving out windfall apples/pears and a birdbath.
3. Chat magazine (82p weekly)
Chat is a bit of an eye-opener! It’s probably best described as a ‘tabloid’ magazine. It’s full of (mostly) grim ‘real-life’ stories (no fiction, unfortunately), which range from the unbelievable to the downright stomach-turning! Not everyone’s cuppa, although it does have lots of puzzles and competitions too and they pay well for tips, letters and photos.
There’s £25 for each letter published on their ‘We’ve Got Mail’ page and about half of them are comments on articles from previous issues, so if you want to write to Chat it’s probably worth buying a copy of the magazine.
I wrote a letter commenting on an inspirational story they’d featured about a woman born with no arms or legs, who hadn’t let her disabilities stop her from doing anything. But every time I emailed (and the address was right – I checked and double-checked), the message just kept bouncing back, so in the end I had to resort to snail mail. I hope you have better luck if you try to email them. Otherwise, write to: Chat, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. National Trust Magazine (quarterly)
I’m a member of the National Trust, so I get this magazine through the post as part of my subscription, but it does have a cover price of £3.95, so I’d imagine that you can probably buy it at their properties too.
There were 7 letters on the letters page of the Spring issue, mostly with fairly strong views on the National Trust and whether it’s doing a good job but also letters about visits to various National Trust properties.
I had to wrack my brain a bit for this one but managed to come up with something about being ‘pounced’ on by National Trust volunteers when we visited a stately home last year. You know, those people who sit or stand on duty in the rooms and can’t seem to abide silence. It’s very off-putting! (and annoying!). Some of us just want to wander around a house, enjoying the atmosphere and the artefacts and paintings, without being bombarded with an unrequested history lecture!
Let’s see if they put that in! (tee hee). All letters published received a pair of binoculars worth £35.
Write to: The Editor, National Trust Magazine, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire SN2 2NA
Or email: email@example.com