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Calendar of upcoming events

10th February: #WMChat with NM Browne
14th February: Mentor Applications close (Summer Programme)
16th February: WriteMaster MG and YA starts
24th February: #WMChat with Hannah Gold
25th February: *NEW COURSE* WriteCharacter with Emma Read starts
4th March: Book Club with Louie Stowell (for hub members)
10th March: #WMChat with Louise Gooding
24th March: #WMChat with Bethan Evans

Success Stories

Becky Wilson was a mentee on WriteMentor's 2020 summer mentoring programme, where she received writing and editorial support on her Picture Book from author Jon Cox.

Becky shares her experience of the programme, what she learned along the way, and it how it encouraged her to get her work out there - resulting in her signing with a literary agent.

What made you apply for the WriteMentor programme?

I'm forever re-writing picture book stories from different angles to find the best version. This means I dither around without really getting my work out there. My confidence has waned over the years and the mentoring programme seemed like an amazing opportunity to help me move forward with my writing. So, I hastily re-wrote a picture book story from yet another angle and whizzed it off.

What was your experience like?

Jon was unbelievably kind and encouraging all the way through the process. His super-speedy feedback helped me shape three picture book stories in all (he has since helped with more!). Plus, he was on hand throughout the exciting process of submitting to agents. He was the best mentor I could have hoped for!

Tell us about your writing journey from start until now.

I started writing, aged eight, after penning a (terrible) pop song in the playground. After that, I scribbled (terrible) stories about ghosts and guinea pigs, before moving into (really terrible) poetry.

While studying to be a primary school teacher, I fell in love with picture books. I hastily wrote and illustrated* my first ever PB and sent it off to a publisher. *By 'illustrated', I mean drew horrendously! 

It was rejected (obviously) but I liked the idea of working with words and pictures. So, I changed universities, completed an MA in Publishing and spent many wonderful years editing children's books and licensed magazines, in London and Bath.

After my children started school, I freelanced as a children's writer and editor. I tried to write picture books again but soon found myself in the slush pile. So, I dived into lots of writing courses and workshops...and here we are!

Read the rest here.

WriteMentor Summer Programme 2021

MENTOR APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!
 
We are now accepting applications from those would like to mentor this summer. Link on the page below.

For more information and full dates, click here.

Community Learning Hub

We are now officially open! We are already getting stuck into wonderful craft videos from our Writers in Residence, Clare Helen Welsh and Vashti Hardy, set up our online critique groups (which you can join any time), have booked Louise Stowell in to chat at our first book club and live analysis workshops coming up later this month.

There's so much to be gained from the Learning Hub (and we haven't even mentioned our extensive library of Hub Modules!)

Come join us; writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.

More information on the hub here

Online Courses

We have a new page for all our online courses! 

We hope it's much easier to navigate now. Read below to see how you can be the very first to sign up for newly published courses.
*NEW COURSE*
WRITECHARACTER - EMMA READ
Dates: Thursday 25th February to Thursday 25th March (8pm-9pm)
Price: £79

WRITEMASTER YOUNG ADULT COURSE WITH ALEXANDRA SHEPPARD
Dates: Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 23rd March 2021
With agent Jo Williamson
Price: £99

WRITEMASTER MIDDLE GRADE COURSE WITH LINDSAY GALVIN
Dates: Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 23rd March 2021
With agent Chloe Seager
Price: £99

WRITEWORDS WITH LINDSAY GALVIN
Dates: Tuesday 27th April – Tuesday 25th May 2021
Price: £79

Children's Novel-In-Development Award

Entries are open until 16th May, 2021.

Read more about the award and it's eligibility criteria and rules here.

WriteMentor Magazine Issue 5 is coming soon!

Other Opportunities

Spark Mentoring

WriteMentor Spark is a monthly, online one-to-one mentoring service. Working with a children’s author, you will receive ongoing developmental editing, writing advice, publishing insights, and direct feedback on your manuscript to help you elevate your writing craft to the next level.

Spark Mentoring is always available if you need extra help or support each month.

 
Spark mentor Emma Read has offered to give ongoing free critiques to BAME writers - one free package per month of synopsis and 1st page.
Sign up here and she will work through the list, at a rate of 1 a month, so the quicker you sign up, the quicker you'll get some feedback.
https://forms.gle/g9fWLovv7oGxozYV9
Quick Spark editing is available for all ms from PB to YA.

Check out this superb post from Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Carolyn Ward on what to expect from Quick Spark here.
A fantastic opportunity with this long running novel competition run by Chicken House Books. They are looking for completed manuscripts and it's £18 to enter.

The competition will close for entries on 14 May 2021 at 11.59pm GMT.

For more details and to enter, look here: https://www.chickenhousebooks.com/submissions/
VIRTUAL EVENT: OH MG! A Weekend of Middle Grade

Date/Time
Date(s) - 27/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
10:00 am - 3:30 pm

More details and booking here: https://britishisles.scbwi.org/events/oh-mg-a-weekend-of-middle-grade/
We also have a whole page on our website with links to competitions and mentorship programmes. Click here.

Final word from...


Krystal Snead
The Happy Writer: A collection of theories 
by Krystal Snead
 
This writing game is hard! But since you’re here I’m guessing you already know that. 
 
I consider myself to be a fairly positive person who doesn’t dwell too much on the negative sides of this industry, and for the most part that is true. So, how do I stay positive in the face of so much disappointment?
 
To understand my approach you first need to know a little about me. I’m a qualified Social Worker and for the past 13 years I’ve worked in Adult Services. I’m also a trained coach and Practice Educator, which means I work with uncertainty on a daily basis and know how to get the best out of others. So when the call came for readers to participate in the weekly newsletter I wanted to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and apply it to this crazy world of writing.
 
Task Centred Practice: (Reid and Epstein, 1972)
This is a very popular model amongst Social Workers because it’s practical and can be applied to most situations. Basically, TCP is about taking a big problem, which can often feel overwhelming and impossible to solve, and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. 
 
The steps are:
1 - Identify: What is the problem? What is your overall goal?
2 - Contract: (great for accountability!) Set small, time limited tasks that move you closer to achieving your goal
3 - Implement: Do it!
4 - Review: Did you achieve what you set out to? If not, why not?
 
The great thing is that once you’ve completed the 4 steps you can go straight back to the beginning, taking what you’ve learned and drawing up a new contract each time with a new set of tasks (or the same if you didn’t achieve them all first time round). Eventually, as you move through the steps the goal doesn’t seem so impossible, and you get a great sense of satisfaction at the review stage when you see what you’ve already achieved. I do this every month and find it really empowering to know that I’m not just standing still waiting for an agent to find me. I am in control of how I spend my time, and so are you!
 
Back in 2018 I made the decision to start taking writing more seriously and like any good Social Worker would, I sat down to write my goals. But in my excitement I forgot to take my own advice. This is what I wrote:
 
1 - Sign with an agent by 1/1/19 (after 6 months!!!)
2 - Sign a publishing deal by 1/6/19 (after 12 months!!!)
3 - Write full time by 1/9/21 (well we aren’t there yet but it seems unlikely)
 
Spot the common mistake here? 
 
Grief and loss
Firstly, if you are grieving at the moment then I want to say that I am truly sorry for your loss. I’m not just talking about bereavements here but any kind of loss. 
 
Fahlberg (1991) defines grief as “the process through which one passes in order to recover from a loss.”
 
This got me thinking, what is the process for a writer to pass through in order to recover? It’s not something that is often talked about, or at least not publically. From the moment I decided to follow this career path I was told that I would need a ‘thick skin’, so maybe I should just get on with it, right? Well in my experience, both personally and professionally, trying to shut out the pain and just move on rarely helps. 
 
So what do we do? Maybe you already have a ritual (I’d love to know what it is), but if not then I invite you to invent your own:
 
Contract fell through at the last minute =  Light a candle.
Letting go of your book baby = Tear up that manuscript into tiny pieces and throw it in the bin (keep a digital copy, of course.)
Had to cancel your launch party = Let a balloon go in the garden (maybe choose biodegradable ones though, I don’t want to be held responsible for causing an environmental disaster when you all go out on mass.)
 
Whatever you choose to do, remember you are allowed to feel upset when you lose something important and there is a community out there that you can turn to if you need to let out all of those feelings. Not found your tribe yet? Well, now you know at least one.
 
 
Happy writing!
 
 
Krystal Snead is a picture book writer based in the North of England. When she doesn’t have her head in a book she is encouraging her two budding authors to create magical adventures of their own.
Find her on twitter: @krysphk
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