Tuesday, 16 August 2005

So you want to be a writer?

Article by Mel Moore-16-08-05

So you want to be a writer? Well that’s the first step, wanting it. Second step is ask yourself, how much do I want it, and why? Seriously, stop reading right now and think about those first two lines and what they mean, to you!

I am a Foster Carer and have been for twenty plus years. Most of my poetry comes from my own experiences and that of the children and young people I have lived and worked with (322 to date).

I feel I like to use my poetry as a voice for those who can’t or are afraid to speak out against ‘Mans inhumanity to man’. I know some find my writings a little hard to swallow and I am more careful these days not to be too abrupt but still make the message powerful. Give the reader some thing to think about.

I have written bits and pieces of poetry on and off for approximately twenty plus years; for my own pleasure mostly, and that of my family.

April-2005 this year, a friend told me of a poetry site where you could go and read poetry (a love of mine) and add your own work if you wanted too. So I registered and started to read poetry and even done some reviews for other poets (at this time I did not considered myself a poet, only a person who wrote it), which I enjoyed. I soon got to know people and they were asking where my poetry was, as they would like to return the favour and review it for me. So I picked what I considered to be two of my best, set them up and waited for the reviews, which, may I say, were fast coming. The people read them and were quite excited and enthusiastic about my work and ask me to write more, so I did. Twenty poems later I had a regular group that would read all my new work.

That gave me confidence, because now I knew it was not just my family being kind when they said they liked it, other people liked it too.

That’s why I am a firm believer that getting your work reviewed and/or critiqued is very important. Feedback is a tool we can use to our advantage, its what we all should be looking and hoping for, in forums, poetry sites, each other as poets, wherever.
Even negative feed-back is not negative if one or two are saying they don’t like your work. Well we all have different tastes and are entitled to our opinions. If more people/reviewers are saying it is good but…

Use the feedback; listen to what they are saying about your work, if they are genuine reviewers they will be constructive and not destructive, as I hope you are for other poets. Don’t however, go changing your work beyond recognition, and don’t lose the essence of what you are trying to say but be flexible.

Another thing I have found useful is joining as many forums as possible. When other forum members advertise links, look at them; if you like a particular site, link to it in your posts.

So, now I was getting brave and just by chance came across a site called
firstwriter.com. I find it an excellent site in as much as the information it supplies. Instant Alert emails keep you updated with all the new and changed entries in their databases, delivering the listings straight into your inbox, you choose which you receive!
I have found usable information about competitions, old mags, new mags
Publishers and of course; the Secret Attic Poetry Competition!
Ok, I didn’t win that one, I did get my poem chosen to be one of the best fourteen poems and put in the Secret Attic July booklet, sold on this site!

Over the last four months I have had alerts for numerous competitions, magazines etc. (entered most of them) some were useful some not so useful, I just use what suits my needs. I even had one alert come from a poetry festival being held in November, which is running a poetry competition. Would you believe, five miles down the road to where I live and they are looking for local talent for a local award, I knew nothing of it, been running three years, I ask you! That has got to be one of the biggest issues, finding the information, what, where and when, do that and your up and running. Most of these competitions are a little to pay but they are per poem so send as many or as little as you want or to suit your pocket.

To date since May, I have sent either by e-mail or post, thirty lots of poetry to different competitions/magazines, I have had three replies.
True a few of them do not close till end of August-September and quite a few October and November, two are 2006, so I wait and keep sending.
The three however that have closed and replied have made it all worthwhile. The first; runner up in comp in the USA, second; published in booklet for Secret Attic, the third, details below;

Book Tranlquil Times
Poem Title Silent Witness...
ISBN 1-84591.012-5
Author Mel Moore
Cost £ 15,99
Publication Date 28 October 2005
Editor Amanda Read

So hang in there, get your name out there and happy writing to you all,
You can do you know you can.
So you want to be a writer/poet, well that’s the first step, wanting it.
Second step is asking yourself, how much do I want it, and then the third is why?
Seriously, stop reading right now and think about those lines and what they mean, to you!
My answers to the questions were;
1) Yes
2) Absolutely loads
3) Because I love writing poetry


I wait in anticipation of my fears,
What will they bring?
The failure I assume or the pain,
What lies in wait for me?
How will I deal with the blow,
If indeed it is a blow I receive?
Am I ready for success,
Or is success naught but a word?
Will the world crash upon me, or
Tip-toe quietly passed like a ghost?
Unseen by those who painfully wait,
In anticipation of their fears.

(c) Mel Moore 2005