A year ago, I posted here about having lost my beautiful mare, Cracker, how hard I was finding adjusting to life without her – and how difficult it was to focus on anything, even writing.
Since then, a lot has happened (including a house move), and while I’ve been horse-less, I’ve definitely had more time for writing-related activities. On the non-fiction front, I’ve had my first full-length article published in a national magazine (equine-related, of course). And on the fiction front, most excitingly, I achieved my aim to release an eBook short story collection on Amazon. (Two, in fact!)
I’m quietly proud of “Beyond Words” (the second of the two collections) as it brings together some of my favourite short stories, all of which have achieved competition success. There’s so much to be gained from entering competitions – the discipline of meeting deadlines, word counts and themes can only help improve your writing, especially when it takes you away from your comfort-zone, and being short-listed, placed or commended can only increase your writing confidence. If you’ve never entered a writing competition before but would be interested in having a go, there’s a reference list at the back of “Beyond Words” which gives each of the competitions in which the stories were entered.
And a year on… Well, I finally decided it was time to take on a new equine partner. This is Deemon Whirlwind, my new part-Arab gelding:
After 15 educational years with Cracker, I’m looking forward to an equally long and inspirational partnership with this handsome chap. And of course, I’ll keep you posted!
My beautiful girl – much missed x
Competing at our last dressage event, only a few days before she fell ill. She won her first class and came 4th in the next.
At the start of 2016, I had lots of plans, both writing and horse related. Unfortunately, as so often in life, everything came to a shuddering halt when I lost my beautiful mare, Cracker, in early February. We’d had her for 15 years, so she was a big part of the family, and her death came as a horrible shock – a shock I’m finding is taking time to deal with. Everything is just that little bit harder at the moment, even settling to write anything.
Nonetheless, I am doing my best to widen my writing horizons. In early January, I wrote to Louise Kittle, editor at Horse & Rider magazine with an idea for an article. I hadn’t been terribly optimistic about getting a positive response (I assumed that most copy would be written in-house), but Horse & Rider is the sister publication to PONY magazine, where I had my first stories published so many moons ago, and I thought it was worth a shot. I was therefore delighted (and slightly terrified) when Louise said she was interested. Now I had actually to write the article!
I’ve written one or two articles before, but not for a while, and being mainly a writer of fiction, writing a factual piece seemed quite daunting. Or rather, drafting reams and reams was easy – but editing it into the form of a finished article was trickier. I knew the magazine, so thought I had the tone right, but keeping vaguely to the word-count involved a lot of cutting (and I’m sure the editorial team will cut it further before it makes it into print). Fortunately, Louise was pleased with the finished piece, and plans to use it in either the June or July issue – and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it in print.
Hopefully this will be the first step towards broadening my writing skill set. Being successful as a writer nowadays involves widening your potential markets and thinking about all sorts of opportunities available to you. If you’d like to turn your creative hand to something different, think about your own skills and unique experiences – there’s probably a magazine, webpage or other outlet which might be looking for articles in just your area. As I’ve just found, it’s certainly worth a try.