A writing to-do list for… January 2020

Welcome to my new monthly feature: a monthly to-do list of what I am going to try to achieve in the next month and you could be thinking about achieving in the next month too, every month, on the fourth Thursday of the month, month after month, monthly, never missing a month, every single month, month the month month month, month month month, month. I was thinking six targets a month? That’s a decent-ish level of ambition, I think. Yeah. We’ll say six. Right. Let’s do this. New Year, new me, new you. Boom!

  • Get Organised

    Are you a spreadsheet or a paper person? I’ve always felt that squared paper was the thinking man’s spreadsheet. I am probably wrong. Anyway, this year I have bought a diary with a calendar at the front, lined paper at the back set-up. I’m thinking, use the calendar for deadlines and the lined paper for making notes, keeping track of progress, that sort of thing. Does that sound like a good idea? I think it does.

  • Subscribe to a magazine you would like to be published in

    I know we can’t all afford to do this, but if you are lucky enough to have a bit of Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket why not treat yourself to a subscription to something a bit nice. It could be something you are hoping to get published in this year, next year, or one day in the distant future. It doesn’t matter. You will see it on your doormat and think, “me soon.” You will also be reading great stories, discovering new writers, and helping to keep the magazine you love financially viable until you are ready to send them a story that will blow their fancy socks off.

  • The Northern Writers’ Awards

    Sorry, everyone not in the North, I’ll try to make most of these targets universal but this thing is mostly about me and I do live in the North so, you know, here we are. The Northern Writers’ Awards are kind of a big deal. If you live in the North and do the writing, you should probably enter. Having said that, I haven’t entered for the last five years. Why? Partly because I am an idiot, partly because I haven’t been very organised, partly due to a period of crippling self doubt that I don’t really want or need to talk about but that I am pretty much at the tail end of. Cool. This year I will be entering to the maximum and you should too. The deadline is the 6th of February.

  • Test Signal

    Again, sorry, because this is also a Northern thing. The very wonderful Dead Ink Books, working in collaboration with New Writing North, Bloomsbury Publishing, and C&W Literary Agency, are going to publish a collection of fiction highlighting the best of the North. I want to read it, I have already bought it, and I would very much love to be in it. I am prepared to settle for two out of three, sure I am, but I’m definitely going to give getting in it a go. And you should to. We can be book buddies or something. Page friends. The details on how to enter are on The Northern Writers’ Awards page. The deadline is the 6th of February.


  • National Flash Fiction Day

    I was in the very first National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, which was nice. Then (due to reasons which I have already established I don’t really want to talk about) I stopped sending stuff out. So, this year I will be sending them a story or two and hoping for the best. And if I don’t get in? Well, at least I sent something out. Baby steps and all that. And you? Oh you definitely should send them something to National Flash Fiction Day. The deadline is the 15th of February.


  • One other submission

    It doesn’t matter where. I just want to send at least one more thing out in January. I do have an idea where but I’m not telling you in case you send them something too and yours is better. Mate, I’ve already told you loads of stuff. I’m not your mother.