Five Reasons I Stopped Reading Your Story


In the past six months I’ve been a first reader for two major writing competitions and a first reader for a lit mag. I also organise my own writing competition so believe me when I say I’ve read a lot of submitted stories.

This blog post isn’t intended to put you off or put you down, I’ve written it because I want you to do well, I want your story to get past the first reader and through to the next round. What happens next is out of my control, but I really hope that these tips will help you. Continue reading “Five Reasons I Stopped Reading Your Story”

Money and writing part two: resources

I’ve decided to stop writing this blog now. While I hope it was been useful I don’t really have much more to say!

So my parting gift is this list, collated as best as I can, of people / places / organisations who offer freebies or reduced rates for writers based on a twitter call out. Please share widely and please add any more you know of, or any updates in the comments. The tweet asking for info had dozens of replies so I’m bound to have missed something!

I’ve done my best using a ton of recommendations and research but if you spot any errors, please email me at with correct information and I’ll do my best to correct.

Also for any organisations reading this, life would be SO much easier if you all just had a ‘financial support’ or ‘free’ option on your drop down menus with a link to all the relevant information – having to search is another barrier that we don’t need! I’ve rootled around some of your websites for ages and have still come up stumped.

Thank you for engaging with me through this blog, you can still find me on twitter @jonzeywriter or at my website

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a productive New Year! Continue reading “Money and writing part two: resources”

Money and writing: part one. Do you need to spend money to be a good writer?

What is your instinct to that opening question? I imagine it’s something that people will feel quite strongly about. Of course, you can be an excellent writer, naturally gifted, with a talent that will ensure your success. Of course you can. So let me rephrase it. Can it be helpful to spend money to become a better writer? In my experience, yes, it can. Continue reading “Money and writing: part one. Do you need to spend money to be a good writer?”

This is (not about) Freya Morris


Bowie gave me permission to do what I had wanted to do – to be experimental 

Today I’m thrilled to have my first ever author interview on the blog with the fantastic Freya Morris

Her new book, This is (not about) David Bowie has been called ‘as inimitable and immersive as Bowie himself’

Here we chat about writing (of course) but also wild camping, personal revelations and…Jedward

Continue reading “This is (not about) Freya Morris”

Resetting Your Writing Mind

I am very fortunate in some ways. I have only experienced true ‘writer’s block’ once and for a very short time. I am however, often afflicted with a term I’ve labelled ‘writer’s bleurgh’. Sometimes, when I’m feeling ‘bleurgh’ I just cannot be bothered to write. I want to walk, meditate…Sorry, I’m lying, I want to watch telly or binge on the Internet for a few hours a night. Continue reading “Resetting Your Writing Mind”

Feel the Fear and Write it Anyway

I am very familiar with the correlation between fear and writing. And I don’t mean writing horror stories (which I’m still not very good at, as per my last post). I mean the hugely courageous thing that we do every time we send our work into the world. We know that we’re inevitably going to face rejections and criticisms and even accusations, but the fear can also come with writing success, with people reading and reacting to our words.

Continue reading “Feel the Fear and Write it Anyway”

A Helping Hand With Horror

Recently one of my favourite lit mags, Ellipsis, put out a special call for something ‘creepy or unsettling’. Brilliant! I grew up on Clive Barker, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Nightmare on Elm Street. Even now I like to be scared and watch Supernatural religiously every week. I did a module at Uni way back in the 90s on ‘the literature of terror’ covering everything from The Castle of Otranto to The Shining. And yet…my notebook remains empty. I cannot think of a story to fit this theme and I am baffled and disappointed.

So this blog is a bit of a selfish one really, I’m going to head through some of my favourite creepy and unsettling stories and some of the things holding me back and hopefully, by the end of it I might have a rough idea for something to submit…and hopefully you might too. Continue reading “A Helping Hand With Horror”

Go Weird or Go Home

Successfully bringing the strange into your stories

A year ago I was asked on a writing course to consider the difference between magical realism and fabulism, to which my response was… ‘eh?’

But nowadays I love writing about strange things and writing in strange ways. I don’t worry about the labels, I just enjoy the creativity.

This post isn’t about genre fiction – which I don’t have a lot of experience of – it’s more about bringing weird elements into contemporary or literary fiction in ways that can help your work stand out. Continue reading “Go Weird or Go Home”