Thursday, 29 August 2019

Unusual Writing Competition For a Short Story

Owl Canyon Press Short Story Hackathon #3

This is a free-to-enter short story competition with a difference.

All the publisher is looking for is a short story consisting of exactly 50 paragraphs. Each paragraph has to be a minimum of 40 words, but there is no maximum word count for the story overall.

Not only that, but you are already provided with the first and twentieth paragraphs and you have to write all the others yourself.

This writing competition is open to writers from all over the world, but entries must be in English. And you can write in any genre.

The 3 top entries will win the first prize of $3,000, second prize of $2,000 plus the third prize of $1,000.

And the top 24 entries will also be included in an anthology.

The closing date for entries is 30th September 2019.

Find out more and how to enter at the website,


What If... Short Story Competition

This is another free-to-enter short story competition.

It's run by Cook Publishing who are looking for submissions of short stories from 3,000 to 10,000 words.

The theme of the story must be "What If...?" and it's open to your own interpretation.

The overall winner will receive $250 and finalists each receive $50. 

All winning entries will be published on the company's website.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Debunking the Myths of Writing Fast or Slow

I've just finished reading (and making copious notes) from the book written by Steven Manning called "How to Write a Book on Anything In 14 Days or Less." I'd like to give you a link to this book so that you can read it for yourself, but it seems to be out of print.

Anyway, it got me thinking about fast writing compared to slow writing and how some authors seem to think that writing a book slowly and taking maybe a year or two to write it, means that their book will be better than someone else who wrote their book in a couple of days or even weeks.

Reading Steven Mannings book showed that writing quickly AND writing well is possible because it has 5-minute writing exercises in it. And when I did the exercises, I was surprised at how well I can write with so little time to write and practically no time to think. Yet my brain kicked into gear each time and I was really pleased with how well I did.

I then looked up what author Dean Wesley Smith had to say about it because he is currently one of the MOST prolific writers I know. He knocks out a novel every single month plus several short stories, copious blog posts, holds writing workshops and runs his own publishing company. He is a rock star when it comes to writing and publishing.

And according to Dean, he says that he is not a fast writer and the only reason his writing output is so high is because he spends a lot of time writing every day.

He even broke down his writing speed like this:

He can easily write 250 words in 15 minutes. So that means that if he only wrote for 15 minutes a day, he could write a 90,000-word novel in a year.

So if he wrote for 30 minutes a day he could write 2 novels a year and if he wrote for an hour, 4 novels a year... and so forth.

As it is, he writes 12 novels a year and does all his other writing besides. Most months he writes over 100,000 words including his short stories, blog posts, and emails.

Which means that with his speed of 1,000 words an hour, he must be writing over 3,300 words a day which is around 3 hours a day.

And he says (and I totally agree) that writing fast doesn't mean writing badly and writing slowly doesn't mean writing well.

This is because every writer is different and we each have different amounts of time each day when we can sit and write. Plus every project is different. Sometimes it's possible to knock out a book in just a week or two and other times it can take months.

There is also state-of-mind to consider. Sometimes, if I'm tired or ill and I don't feel like writing, I tend to think that my writing will be suffering. But later, when I'm feeling better, I'll check my work and find out that it didn't make any difference. The only difference was that it probably took me longer than usual to write, but the quality of my work is still the same.

Dean Wesley Smith also says, and he is completely correct, that writing too slowly can hurt your writing because that is when the critical part of the brain takes over and tries to stop you from writing. Writing quickly with only the creative brain is better than slowing down and letting your inner critic in.

And because there is no need to wait for a traditional publisher to publish your book, it frees you up to write as many books as you want to in a year and publish them all.

Read more about this at Dean Wesley Smith's 'Writing In Public' series.

Learn how to write any book in 28 days or less.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

How Much Money Do Bloggers Make?

People always want to know how much money can be made from blogging.

We hear it all the time about someone who starts a blog and suddenly - WHAM! They're making a fortune. Or so it seems.

But we all know that these type of people are the exception to the rule rather than the norm. So, for the average person, the question is, how much money can you earn from a blog?

Well, you might be disappointed to hear that the answer to that is that there is no answer. That's because there are too many variables like

how well the blogger can write
what their blog is about
what ways they make money from their blog
how popular their blog topic is
how useful the information is that they write about
who their audience is
how well they market their blog
whether or not they know how to reach their targeted audience.

And there are other factors as well that can make or break blogging income, so no one can accurately predict how much or how little someone will make from their blog. Even people who open brick and mortar businesses, never really know if it's going to be successful or not, and again, it all depends on too many different factors.

The good thing about starting a blog is that unlike opening a physical business, there are very little or no upfront costs. So if it doesn't work out, you haven't lost much.

I've been working online for almost 20 years now and I've always earned money. I used to have quite a few websites and blogs that I'd regularly write for and I've also written many books. Over the years I've cut back on how many websites I have, but I still earn money from the ones I do have.

I believe that anyone can earn money online from just their laptop computer and an internet connection. You don't even need to have anything to sell. You just need to know what to do and how to do it. Then you need to take action to make it work.

And as I've said, everyone is different and every blog is different, so I can't guarantee you'll be rich overnight, but I can tell you that it is possible to make money online. I know because I've been doing it for years.

And in my newly updated book, Living the Laptop Lifestyle, I show you how easy it is, even if you don't know where to start and you don't have any money.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Why Ruth Is NOT Writing

It seems that it's been well over a month since I last wrote an article or blog post or published anything online. And the irony of this hasn't escaped my notice that my website is called "Ruth Is Writing."

Yet for about 6 weeks now I haven't been writing at all.

I did update and re-publish my latest book, Living the Laptop Lifestyle, but that is about all.

I haven't even done any journalling or writing in my notebooks, which is usually something that I do often.

I could blame my lack of writing on visiting relatives who came to stay or the fact that I've had some kind of flu virus for the past 3 weeks, but that still doesn't explain it, even though both did happen.

And the truth is that I can't explain it at all. I have absolutely no idea why I took an unexpected break from writing.

I feel as though I've been busy and rushed off my feet for the last few weeks, and yet I couldn't even tell you what I've been doing.

I know it has been quite cold here recently (it's still winter in Australia) and I did have family come to stay and I have been quite ill and I have had a short break in the city, and I have done a lot of cooking and canning food and I've caught up with quite a few household chores... but not writing at all is just something that I've never done before.

But now it has to stop. In fact, it has stopped. Last night I was sat making notes in one of my notebooks and came up with lots of ideas for my writing. I also subscribed to Writing Magazine to give me inspiration and to provide writing markets and writing competitions.

I even went to the library and had a read through the Writers and Artists Year Book, but it didn't inspire me. In fact, I was surprised at how fewer markets that book contains now. It used to be full of writing markets accompanied by articles about writing. Now it seems to be a book of articles about writing accompanied by a few writing markets. My how things have changed.

But I do plan on spending more time in the library. It used to be one of my favorite hangouts, but somehow I've gotten in the habit of not going there anymore at all.

So although I don't know why Ruth is not writing anymore, I do know that she has begun again by writing this blog post, making written writing plans, and subscribing to a writing magazine.

And I have to say that it feels good to be back. I also have an epic and inspirational article planned for my writing website so I'll be working on that next. I also have a couple of free writing competitions that I'll be letting you know about real soon too.

There will be much more than that to come too now that my bum is back in my writing chair and my fingers are once again on my keyboard.

In the meantime, find more ways to make money from your own writing AND download free writing ebooks at