G. L. Rees

Writer. Reader. Aspiring memory.


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Cheap Confidence!

On July 22nd I posted about the Writer Unboxed flash fiction contest, and the inspiration it gave me to write and submit a short-short. Well, I’m a winner! I was quite surprised to see my name up there, and grateful too! Not only did the competition give me the opportunity to craft something I might not have – I have to admit that the win is a bit of a confidence boost, too. Here’s my entry:

Understanding

I run my finger down his tubby little arm, following the contours of the rolls of baby fat. It’s been seven months now, since he was born.

He’s got my eyes. I knew it. I knew it from the moment I saw Jenny waddling through town in August. It was eight months after the Christmas party. Oh, she denied it when I asked. Told me the baby wasn’t mine. Said it was her husband’s. Said: “Get the hell away from me, Chris. Jesus. I told you it was over at the New Year party.”

I understand though. I’ll forgive her, in time.

My son stirs a little, and gurgles. He’s going to be a man’s man. We’ll play football together. I’ll grin when he mimics me and makes old man faces. We’ll look back at pictures of the pink blanket and laugh. I’ll say it was the best I could do, and he’ll understand.

A strobe of blue flashes over the wall, illuminating a splatter of red. It looks dark purple. I should have thought of that color for this room. A loudspeaker crackles into life.

“Christopher. We’ve posted a phone through the letterbox. Pick it up, buddy.”

I snort and look down at Jenny. Her eyes are wide over the duck tape, but she’ll come around. She’s already recoiled from her husband.

I look at him. Cold. Still. Leaking.

My hand relaxes on the gun resting on my knee, and I make soothing shushing sounds into the crib.

I hope you enjoyed it. And don’t forget to check out this week’s competition over at Writer Unboxed and give it a go. Even my dad’s entering this week!

My next post will be about the daunting task of identifying markets for your creative writing, and some resources I’ve found. Why not subscribe so you can get it first?!


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iWriting

So I haven’t posted in a couple of days. That’s because I’ve been researching freelance writing online, finding sites, making accounts, etc.

It’s more exhausting than it sounds! I currently have full profile on 5 sites, with another 25 to sign up to. Still, I must keep telling myself that it’s all for a good cause, and that it’ll be worth it once I’m done and rolling in work. Please let me be rolling in work!!

One site I happened upon while I was looking around was iWriter.com – a site where you can sign up and write one article at a time. It’s a great place for beginners who want to get some experience of writing-for-cash under their belts before heading off to the more hardcore projects hosted at the larger freelancer sites.

Once you’ve signed up, you can start writing – just browse and find an article you can write, then click to write it. If you click it first, you get to write it. If you do a good job, the article will be accepted by the employer. You’ll be rated by the employer on what you provide.

Initially it’s a little frustrating. Prior to having five ratings, you have to wait 40 minutes after submitting an article before you can submit another. It’s not too bad though, and if you really want to write for cash it’s worth putting the effort in over the course of a day to get your five ratings so that you can write as much as you like. When you’ve written 30 articles, your price per article goes up, and if your rating is high enough it goes up again. I’ve found employers to be fast and fair with accepting and rating articles. If and when you decide to move on to bigger projects as a freelancer, iWriter can be a good way to make a little extra cash by putting out short articles between jobs.

If you do decide to give it a try – and I recommend that you do – I strongly advise watching the into video for writers. It’s just over 8 minutes long, and well worth it to help you find your way around the site and feel at home quickly.

Good luck, and happy writing!


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Opportunity Knocks

So after a month of taking it easy post-finals, I’m well and truly back on the wagon. I’ve been gorging on blogs and tweets and articles from writers, about writers, about novels, short stories and marketing.

This morning, the first post on my feed was this one; the announcement of week four of the Writer Unboxed flash fiction contest. I entered today’s competition, and you can find my entry in the comments section of that post. I can’t help but feel like I’ve cheated myself out of the other three weeks! Maybe I’ll write them anyway and post them here.

But it got me thinking.

During my degree, the inspiration for stories, poems, flash fiction and the like was handed to me on a plate by tutors. It flowed constantly in the form of ideas, discussion about previously published pieces and workshopping with other students. I took it almost for granted, I suppose. And yet something as logically infinite as inspiration can seem so sparse. Staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page can be soul-destroying, and inspiration can seem as a hazy mirage in a desert of white.

So it’s important to realise when the opportunity for inspiration knocks, and to open the door and let it in. I tend to carry a notebook with me, so that I can jot down ideas when they come up. Small phrases people say, the way someone inflects a word, an interesting mannerism, a scene, a story idea, a word coupling… the list goes on. I also found scrap-booking helpful while I was working on ideas in uni, too. Cutting and pasting interesting pictures, writing a few words to go with them, that sort of thing.

I’m not advocating dropping everything and writing the moment an idea comes into your head. If only life were so conveniently carefree! But taking a few seconds to jot down an idea can save a grat deal of frustration when you do have time to sit down and write. And before you know it your white desert will be a landscape of creativity!

If you haven’t checked out Writer Unboxed yet, please do. And hey! There are still three weeks of the competition left. Give it a go!


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Hello World!

Welcome to my blog!

As my tagline suggests I’m a writer and aspiring author. I recently graduated with a first class BA (Hons) English. I started out on the course thinking I’d leave my options open and study a little language, a little literature and a little creative writing, but the work-shopping process and creative writing department at my university sucked me in and won me over.

I know many people don’t believe that you can teach someone to write well – that a flair for creative writing is innate – and to a certain extent I agree. But what my classes gave me was the style advice and support of published and experienced writers and a huge confidence boost. I was sharing classes with people who were entering story competitions, writing novels and sharing stories and poems they’d written. I got to see how pieces of work changed over the drafting process. I learned that it was okay to scrap 90% of a first draft, and that even when you do that you may still have a little nugget of something that will end up a satisfying story or poem. So if someone asked me if it was worth it? I’d say “hell yes!”

During my degree I built up a decent portfolio of work. While some of it was marked as reaching a high standard, I now begin the process of revisiting each piece and redrafting. I begin my journey into the scary world of trying to make a living out of writing – and I invite you to come along with me.

This blog will be my little (or maybe not-so-little) record of all I find interesting, useful and even amusing about the world of writing. I will blog about writing competitions, magazine submissions, freelancing, my inspiration, helpful links and articles by others, writer’s block, the drafting process, that irritating typo you always miss, and of course, the all-important first novel I’m trying to finish.

I hope you’ll enjoy my ramblings and articles, links and brain-splats. I would be honoured to have your readership, and if you want to get in touch please do so. You can click the email link, leave a comment, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for reading!