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Why do we doubt ourselves? Tags: author readings author responsibilities Ad Hoc Morgen Bailey

photo credit V. Conrad


I was all set to write a blog about the benefits of reading our work in public. Note the pic of me seriously reading Love on a Wednesday Afternoon, the one about the bouncy 4-poster bed and the trombone lessons, from my Ad Hoc collection to an appreciative coffeehouse gathering recently.


But then this topic drizzled out of a couple of our recent blog posts - and it won’t give up:


Why do we doubt ourselves?


You made the resolution this year to just keep sending your writing out - and to keep track of what you’ve sent where and when to expect results. Many of these lit-mag-comps only tell you if you’ve been placed - so when results day arrives, you trawl the sites to read long lists, short lists, and finally the selected work. To find that you’re not there.


You swallow hard, tell yourself you can’t win them all - but you ‘tip-toe’ away from the websites thinking - ‘again - not good enough’ and it can leave you with a feeling of giving up, doing something completely different, stop banging your head against quite a high brick wall. Consider signing up for donkey rearing for beginners instead.


Because standards change. You want the standards to be high. You don’t want it, ever, to be a piece of cake. But you work so hard at the writing game and you begin to wonder if you are ‘edgy’ enough. If you should break more grammatical rules, chop your well-constructed sentences into fragments, forget about well-place commas, and if you should write more about the current world problems. e.g. The annual Canada Reads CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Awards novel contenders this year needed to be books that ‘Canadians need to read now’ - in other words, novels that centre around current issues, immigration, the environment, world peace (or torment), politics, etc and so forth. A little dictatorial on the part of the CBC - in your honest opinion.


None are novels that you are desperate to read - for those reasons above. You can explore those issues via other means. Can’t you? For you, isn’t a novel a means for you to lose yourself, travel to another world? It is fiction. After all. (please note the chopped unstructured sentences here.)


So, you ask, is this the reason your work does not hit the mark right now? Are you too fictitious, or do you dwell too much in another era, when dialogue was different, when street talk was polite and grammatically correct?


You have, this past week, been in correspondence with a British TV producer regarding a shocking storyline on Coronation Street (always known for its quality writing.) You received a reply telling you that the drama uses ‘real life’ situations that people can relate to. You tell them that their writers should be fired for total lack of insensitivity and that cancer is no joke. The upset this story line caused btw was all over the UK tabloids that week.


Writing is a responsibility for sure; your dilemma is this - do you want to be published and to hell with the consequences? Or do you take your responsibility more seriously?


Footnote - after writing this, your sweet little greyhound story was placed 3rd in the 100-word comp run by Morgen Bailey - so maybe, just maybe, all is not lost.


And this is Nelly (RIP old gal), who never won a race and inspired the story. 

This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: writing group news

Writers Abroad has had an action packed and exciting week.


First, a whole raft of Successes and Achievements:


Alyson’s Writing Magazine winning story, Last Summer, is impressively in April’s issue. The prize is a place at the Iceland Writers Retreat and we will all look forward to hearing about her experiences when she gets back 


Jo’s (writing as Louise Charles) book All Will be Well is now O.U.T. you can grab a copy here on Amazon I'm already part way through my kindle copy and loving every syllable.


Nicola’s (writing as Nina Croft) new one, Falling for the Bad Girl is now released and here for your enjoyment again on Amazon


Ad Hoc - three of us in this week’s e-book: Laura, Chris N and yours truly (my 53rd week without a break) the prompt word is ‘mint’ so you have until midnight UK time Tuesday to submit a 150-worder. Bath is turning out to be inspirational for me, after receiving my copy of To Carry Her Home, Vol. 1 Bath Flash Fiction, I blogged about how it made me feel, and tweeted the link. Bath have been writing to me... what more can I say?


Now, more about last Sunday's meeting:


I know Jo already covered this in last week’s this week, but the minutes are now posted, for all to catch up. In the main the subject of the WA Mag was discussed, so slots are now filling up. Deadline April 1st.


Still on the topic of the mag; it looks like things are hot to trot with authors’ interviews for this and the next issue. Well done Lesley and Angela for beavering away on that. It’s all looking very exciting.


Blog - Dianne has posted the blog this week - Managing Your Social Media - lots of food for thought there, and we all know how it can run away with our time


Monday Muse for this week is posted by Nicola - with delish words to inspire and a very appropriate image of 4 leafed clovers...


Much going on in Works in Progress, take a gander - enjoy the read. And consider this, many of these works are the beginnings of wondrous things, what an opportunity it is for members to read (and help) seeds of work grow and become successful.


And the March Writing Challenges Opportunities forum is up and running. The more you do, the more you can do...



Forget Your Perfect Offering Tags: copyright lyrics truth

YouTube video posted for informative purposes only. If it doesn't display for you use this link.


This is the song that began my foray into the pitfalls of using music lyrics in my writing.



I began this blog intending to lift the lid and take a peek at music lyrics and copyright issues in our writing. This first cropped up for me last year when I, in my innocence, used threads of lyrics from Carole King’s Will You Still Love Me in my short memoirish story, Tonight’s the Night, soon to be released (minus the song lyrics) in an anthology by Bath Flash Fiction.


But you know me, I begin with one train of thought and then I begin to wander, and wonder. So I wondered how other authors, well known authors especially, deal with the issue.


The author who comes immediately to mind is Louise Penny, successful crime writer of the Inspector Gamache novels. Her 9th novel in the Gamache series is titled: ‘How the Light Gets In.’ Such a familiar line from the Leonard Cohen song, Anthem.


Knowing that a few snatches of lyrics in my 300 word story would have cost in the region $500, I scratched my head and wondered how much it cost for Ms Penny’s publisher to obtain permission to use lines from Cohen’s lyrics as her title and more lines from the song within the novel itself. Listen. Just like I did in 2013 - just 10 rows from the stage. The thought provoking and inspiring lyrics are provided with this YouTube clip: 

YouTube video posted for informative purposes only - if it doesn't display for you use this link


It turns out our late dear clever poetic Mr. Cohen used lines from a very ancient Arabic poem for these lyrics (or so I understand) and, as the original words were written centuries ago, Ms Penny probably didn’t need to get permission to use them (although I suspect her publisher did anyway.)


Thanks to Cohen, Penny and an Arabic poet, because of the lines: ‘forget your perfect offering, there is, there is, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’, my blog about copyright and music lyrics has gone its own way and turned into the topic of perfection in our writing - in fact perfection in all we do and why we think we need to strive for it.


So why don’t we forget about our perfect offerings, be true to ourselves, and let the light get in - for isn’t that what we really seek through our writing? Through imperfections won't we find the truth?


Music and lyrics will still follow me through my life and remind me of my times and experiences through the decades. But using them in my writing now has that extra level of challenge.


These might be useful links for you:


public domain listing

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Monday, May 29, 2017
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Break Out
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