First Post of 2017

memory-jarSo, here we are in 2017. Happy New Year to you all! I realised that my last post was a bit miserable when someone called me ‘Scrooge’ in a text, so this is going to be more upbeat, I promise!

Yesterday, I reflected on the year by opening my ‘memory jar’ (more about that anon) and by taking stock of my writing ups and downs by perusing my spreadsheet for 2016.

For the past couple of years, I’ve set myself a target of submitting 52 stories (ie: one a week) to the women’s magazines. They don’t have to be new stories. If one’s turned down for one magazine, I’m ‘allowed’ to polish it up a bit (or change it drastically, if necessary) and send it out to another market and that counts as another story towards my 52.

In total, I sent out 31 different stories (which isn’t that many, I know, compared to some of my fellow writers!) but I was pleased to have hit my target again.

In addition to the 52 submissions, highlights of my writing year were:

* Seeing my first serial published in The People’s Friend magazine in the spring (ahem, on the downside, I still haven’t started another one..).

* Acting as ‘guest writer’ at a People’s Friend workshop in Bristol in September.

* A poem that I wrote for a local Valentine’s competition won me dinner for two and an overnight stay at Hotel Indigo in Birmingham. Very swanky!

* I spent another week in Fishguard, at Writers’ Holiday with MY FRIEND CHRIS (she says I never mention her, so there you go, Miss Cherry). The Writers Holiday weeks are always good fun and Della Galton’s course on ‘Writing with Emotion’ was excellent.

* Running a book quiz (with above-mentioned friend) for the brand new Evesham Festival of Words in June – and being asked to do it again this year! Result! (And this year I’m running a short story workshop at the Festival too).

* Helping to set up a writing group for ‘seniors’ in Stratford-on-Avon – part of the Sunny Side Up group.

* And finally, I’ve written – and self-published – the longest piece of writing I’ve ever managed (so far) – at 33,400 words, my new e-book ‘Start a Creative Writing Class’ may be of interest if you’d like to teach the craft of writing in any shape or form!


If you do buy and read it (thank you, thank you!), I’d be so grateful for a review on Amazon.

I hope it’s been a good writing year for you!

So, to the Memory Jar!

This year, for the first time, I wrote down on a scrap of paper, every time I did something nice – a night out with friends, or a weekend away or just something funny that someone said – folded it up and popped it in the jar.

They stacked up over the year and last night, as it was New Year’s Eve, voila, it was time to open them and read each one and smile…. !

This entry was posted in Competitions, E publishing, Events, Magazines, Successes, The People's Friend, West Midlands and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to First Post of 2017

  1. Wendy Clarke says:

    What a great year, Helen, and I love the idea of the memory jar.

  2. juliathorley says:

    That’s one heck of a year – congratulations. Here’s to more of the same.

    • Thanks, Julia. I didn’t do as much writing as I’d have liked, though to be honest. There was also quite a lot of ‘gadding about’ in that list! Hoping to do more writing and less ‘gadding’ this year!

  3. Linda Lewis says:

    Exactly what I expect from your blog, upbeat, positive and inspiring. Good,luck with that book. Much needed and deserves to do well.

  4. Tracy Fells says:

    Lots to celebrate about your writing year, Helen. Love the memory jar idea and a great thing to read back over at the end of the year. Best wishes for a creative and productive 2017.

    • Thank you, Tracy, same to you too. I do read your blog, by the way, so I keep up with what you’re up to. Just don’t always have time to comment – but I will try to rectify that in 2017!

  5. Jane W says:

    Gosh. You’ve been productive! I love the idea of the Memory Jar too. I’m going to create one now – thank you for the inspiration.

  6. Kate Hogan says:

    Well done on all your successes, Helen. I love the idea of the memory jar, too. Wishing you all the very best and many more successes in the year ahead. Good wishes Kate Hogan.

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