Flu’ & Free Writing Competitions

Aagh, we have been a poorly household this week. To give you an idea of the strength of the illness… it’s been FOUR Harry Potter films’ worth (four still left to watch).

Now, we just feel like we’ve got bad colds, which is a big improvement. Hopefully, things will get back to normal next week.

Being ill is such a waste of time, isn’t it? It makes you appreciate your good heath, though. If any of you are poorly bad out there, you have my sympathies.

Yesterday we felt a tiny bit better and we yearned for McDonald’s (I think it was actually just a yearning for salt), so we hobbled out to the car and set off across the border into Worcestershire, where there is a drive-thru McDonald’s. It was soooo exciting.

But (you knew that was coming, right?), it was Saturday, it was lunchtime, there was a huge queue. And although the cheeseburgers were good, the chips were luke-warm, soggy and seriously lacking in salt. It was very disappointing.

Anyway, to cheer myself up, I checked my forecast for the new Chinese Year of the Pig, which starts on 5th February. I am a rabbit and this is what it said:

“You are the luckiest of 2019’s lucky ones, Rabbit! You are a friend to the pig, so your luck is in your friend’s and your network. This year, whatever you desire can become a reality.”

So, that’s good.


Let’s cheer ourselves up a little more now with news of FOUR free writing competitions:

1. Here, first off, you can win a week’s writing retreat in BALI in October. How good does that sound? OK, there’s a bit of a catch – there are no flights or transfers included. But still worth a look, if only to dream….

2. Harpers Bazaar have announced details of their annual free-to-enter short story competition. The theme this time is ‘liberty’. Originally, the rules stated that the magazine publishers would take copyright in all entries (not just the winner) but after an outcry on Twitter, they’ve clearly been shamed into removing that.
Closing date: 15th March 2019.

Prize: The winner will receive a two-night stay at Brownber Hall, Yorkshire, and the chance to see their work published.

3. There’s no theme for the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook short story competition but you’ve only got until 13th February to get your entry in. It’s also free to enter but you have to register on the website before you can enter. You can win an Arvon writing retreat.

4. You’ve got until 28th Feb to enter this short story competition, which is free to enter and has a theme of ‘A New Home’.

This one isn’t free to enter (unless you’re entering the published novelist category – otherwise it’s £10) but I thought it was worth mentioning.

The Comedy Women In Print (CWIP) prize is a new literary award to “bring female comedy writing the exposure and recognition it deserves.” If you’ve written a funny novel of up to 85,000 words (or, ahem, you can write one between now and 28th Feb, when submissions close), this could be the competition for you. Full details here.

Good luck if you decide to enter any of these competitions. And stay healthy….!

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16 Responses to Flu’ & Free Writing Competitions

  1. LadyCristobel says:

    Well, my week’s about as satisfying as yours, Helen. I’m sitting in front of the computer, to the detriment of my neck, which is propped up in a brace because the spine is apparently pinching a nerve. Ye gods, as my husband says, and the pain is mine, not his. I have to be seated primly and carefully with fingers on keyboard as the dastardly tax form requirer takes no prisoners. Or perhaps they do if you fail to submit. Keeping downward glances to a minimum and avoiding sudden head movements, an hour ago I managed to scramble some eggs, gently shake basil and screw black pepper into them. Then I slowly cut open a small pack of smoked salmon from Tesco. Duly nourished I took up my pose at the laptop and submitted the form with tears of relief. And I won the jackpot. THEY owe ME six hundred quid. Unless in my fragile state I made a typographical numerical error…

    • Ouch, that all sounds very painful. I hope it’s better now? But well done on your tax return jackpot! I managed to do mine last week but sadly they don’t owe me a bean – probably because I hardly earn anything these days!

      • LadyCristobel says:

        Thank you, and apologies for hijacking your blog to whinge. There’s a lot of encouragement from your readers, so I am grateful to them. I gave myself a new year resolution to write a poem (or flash) a day for a month. Just passed the half way mark (a January 16th start!) So that’s been like Pilates to me! Brain exercise.

  2. Maria Smith says:

    Wishing you a speedy recovery Helen, the nasty virus did the rounds just after Christmas here.
    I felt like a bag of poo, so started on a course of iron as soon as I got rid of the symptoms and I’ve been filling up on lots of citrus this last week.

  3. colettecoen says:

    Just had a look at the Solutions Loans competition: it appears to be free to enter.

  4. Helen Lowry says:

    It struck me down the Sunday before Christmas and I’m still not fully right! Didn’t eat for about four days. On the plus side, I lost half a stone and my liver had never felt better! Don’t recommend it though. Hope you feel better very soon.

    • Oh dear, Helen, yours sounds like a nasty strain! Must admit, I haven’t touched any alcohol for a week and have definitely been eating less, so, as you say, it’s not all bad..! Seems like there’s a lot of it about. My OH and I are mostly now coughing in unison, (much to the dog’s confusion). Hope you feel fully recovered soon too!

  5. juliathorley says:

    With these lingering colds, there comes a time when you have to just say, ‘Right, I’m better now’ even if it’s not true! (I am the world’s worst nurse.)

    • Julia, wise words! I thought about what you’d said when I was at Pilates yesterday (bit of a struggle but I managed it) and I agree – it’s a bit like mind over matter, once you get to a certain level of recovery, isn’t it? I could go on saying ‘I still feel a bit cr*p’ for weeks but that’s not going to help, so I’m going to take your advice and declare myself ‘better’!

  6. The Word Dog says:

    Hello, Thanks so much for mentioning Writing Retreat Bali in your blog. Thanks so much. Can we ask how you found us? 😛

  7. Hope you’re feeling better now. My husband was ill for 2 weeks with a horrible ‘not-quite-flu-but-much-worse-than-a-cold’ bug. Don’t know how I managed not to catch it unless it’s because, like you, I’m a rabbit in Chinese astrology and it’s true – this is going to be our lucky year!

    • thanks Linda and apologies that your comment got stuck in ‘needing approval’ (and I’ve only just seen it!). Feeling much better now thanks. I think I had the same thing as your husband! Definitely wasn’t a cold but perhaps not full-blown flu!

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