national flash fiction day

Writing Spreadsheets: 7 Ways a Simple Spreadsheet Keeps You Organised and Motivated

In June 2014 I had my first piece of writing published. It was a piece of flash fiction called ‘What We Do In Our Sleep’ published in the 2014 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology Eating My Words, and I was absolutely thrilled to have my first taste of publication. I had another piece, ‘Me, But From The Future’, published in FlashFlood as a part of National Flash-Fiction Day in June too. You can find the details of both of these stories in the Publications section.

That was a year ago, and now I have 15 pieces of writing published or scheduled for publication. Now I don’t know if this number is good or not, but I’m very proud of myself and very happy with my current rate of success, mainly because 13 of these pieces of writing have been published or accepted for publication in 2015. That’s an average of two pieces of writing a month.

There are lots of things that have helped me to achieve this: reading publications to assess what they like to publish, writing, rewriting, editing, reading, reading, reading, and more reading. That, of course, contributes, but over Christmas of 2014 I made a spreadsheet to keep tabs of my submissions. I’d heard that one of my creative writing tutors did this and thought, hey, if I want to get more of my writing published then this must be something that can help me.

There are 7 ways keeping a simple spreadsheet has helped me with my writing, and if it can help me then hopefully it can help you too:

  1. I know what writing I have sent out for consideration and where I sent it. This is important to know because many competitions and calls for submissions do not like simultaneous submissions.
  2. I know when I should hear back from the editor of the journal or magazine, or when the competition results should be announced. This is good to know in case I need to chase up publications where I haven’t had an email of acceptance or rejection.
  3. In the case of a rejection I put a little red box by the story but this is a great thing – it means I know that this piece of writing is available to submit somewhere else, and I usually have somewhere else lined up. This means I can get the rejected piece, after another once over, back out there.
  4. In the case of an acceptance I put a yellow box by the story and a little star and this makes me feel fantastic every time I check out my spreadsheet. It’s also pretty motivational – it makes me want more little stars on my spreadsheet.
  5. If the submission is active then there’s a little green box, and this means I’m waiting to find out if the piece of writing has been accepted or rejected, but also tells me I cannot (in most cases) send it out to someplace else.
  6. My spreadsheet can shame me into submitting writing. That sounds weird, but basically, as I record the date I send submissions, I can see if I haven’t submitted something for a while. Now of course life and studies and other things get in the way, but when I see I haven’t submitted something for a while it inspires me to do so. If it’s a case where I don’t have any writing “ready” to submit, it encourages me to review my writing, or write more!
  7. By recording where I’ve sent writing I can see what I have sent to places before. I tend not to resend the same story to a publication; they’ve read it once, and didn’t like it, so they’re not likely to want to read it again.

Now it doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t need to be able to do anything incredible – it just needs to be simple for you to use and contains whatever information works best for you.

I’m really intrigued to know if any of you writers also keep a spreadsheet to track your submissions, or, if you don’t use a spreadsheet, what do you use? Is it helpful? Is this helpful to you?

‘Everything She Wanted’ Published in ‘The Write-In’ for National Flash Fiction Day!

The Write-In for National Flash Fiction Day is an online journal which is open for submissions for 24 hours only. You’re required to select a prompt (and there are plenty to choose from) and write a story up to 500 words.

I’ve just done so this morning and here is the result: ‘Everything She Wanted’, which you can read by following this link.

I hope you enjoy it, and feel inspired to submit your own piece of writing!

‘Miss/Hit’ Published in FlashFlood – and Happy National Flash Fiction Day Everyone!

My very short flash fiction ‘Miss/Hit’ has been published in FlashFlood as a part of National Flash Fiction Day, which is today! You can read my story by following this link here. There’s already a really nice comment on there about it! Thrilled!

There’s so much going on today! There are free events in Bristol, as well as other places, and we also have The Write In where you’re required to write a piece of flash fiction from one of the prompts featured on the website.

So get involved!

You can check out details of what’s happening today on the National Flash-Fiction Day website and blog.
You can join The Write In if you’re up for the challenge! The link is here –> The Write In.

Happy National Flash Fiction Day everyone! I’ll be heading to this event in Bristol tonight and I’m so excited! 11249098_994592180574437_6512978828450806443_n

Landmarks: 2015 National Flash-Fiction Day – Out Now!

Landmarks, the 2015 National Flash-Fiction Anthology (pictured below) is now available from Amazon in paperback by following this link. It will feature my flash fiction ‘Saharan Shades’.

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There are over 60 flash fictions in this anthology, which is based on the theme of Geography, and having volunteered behind-the-scenes to help put this anthology together I can tell you now that it is a great anthology of flash fiction. There are hugely talented flash fiction writers included in this collection and a vast array of stories.

My flash, ‘Saharan Shades’, is a tale of fear, beauty, and thought captured during six thoughts in the Sahara desert. I won’t give away the rest! I’m looking forward to receiving my copy so I can read these brilliant stories on the page.

Congratulations to everyone who has been published in this year’s anthology! I’m looking forward to the official National Flash-Fiction Day event, which is at Foyles Bookstore in Bristol on Saturday 27th June. Entry is free!

11249098_994592180574437_6512978828450806443_nIf you’re free make sure you come! Last year’s event was incredible and I’m really looking forward to hearing great flash fiction being read by these writers.

Upcoming Publication in FlashFlood!

I’m thrilled to announce that my flash fiction ‘Miss / Hit’ will be published in Issue 7 of FlashFlood Journal.

It will be published at around 06:00 BST on Saturday June 27th, which is National Flash-Fiction Day. I’ll post a link to the story in the publications page on the day.

The good news is – you could get your flash fiction published in FlashFlood too! Submissions are open until 23:59 BST on Wednesday 24th 2015, and submissions are free!

The only stipulation is that the flash fiction is 500 words or less. So if you want to submit you can do so by following this link.

There are lots of things I love about this journal. Firstly, they publish flash fiction throughout the day, hence the name; they intention is to flood the internet with flash fiction, so they publish one every ten minutes (or thereabouts). Secondly, on the three occasions I have submitted writing for this journal it has always been the story I least expected to be accepted for publication that does – this is always a nice surprise for me! Finally, it is run by Calum Kerr and his team of editors who all do a fantastic job with this journal every time it runs, and Calum works incredibly hard to ensure National Flash Fiction Day happens each year.

I’m delighted to be included in this journal again, and I urge you all to submit your own writing to this great journal! I hope you’ll all enjoy reading ‘Hit / Miss’ when it’s published – it’s very short!

Upcoming Publication in the 2015 National Flash Fiction Anthology!

I’m delighted to announce that my flash fiction ‘Saharan Shades’ will be published in this year’s National Flash Fiction Day anthology! Links will be added to the publications page in due course.

You can see the full list of stories accepted for this year’s anthology, which is on the theme of Geography by following this link here ——> this one.

What is also wonderful is that I am a part of a writer’s group called ‘Company of Writers’ and five of our members (myself included) will have stories published in this anthology! So a warm well done also to Diane (who won 3rd place in this year’s Micro Competition), Chris, Jenny, and Mazzy! Well done guys! (I said ‘also’ a lot there!)

I adore National Flash Fiction Day – a day dedicated to this wonderfully short but powerful form of writing. I was first published in the 2014 anthology (details of which are on the publications page) so be included in this year’s anthology feels great because it reminds me of my very first publication.

There are so many incredible events running this year, details of which can be found HERE. I’ll be going to some of these in Bristol – it will be great to see you there too!

Without wanting to give too much away, my flash fiction is based on my night spent in the Sahara desert, but the tale is more sinister than it sounds…

National Flash Fiction Day is directed by Calum Kerr, a man who works incredibly hard to make this day happen every year. He’s published numerous flash fiction collections, all of which are excellent, and I encourage you all to read them if you haven’t already done so.