I can find time to write though, I'm not blaming my not-being-too-productive-right-now on work, it's just a more hectic time than usual.
I finally ordered these 2 books from Salt that I've had my eye on for a while
Words from a Glass Bubble by Vanessa Gebbie and Balancing on the Edge of the World by Elizabeth Baines
When I started reading writer's blogs last year ago these were two of the writers whose books I wanted to read. I also had the good fortune of meeting Vanessa at last year's Bridport prize-giving.
Bridport-speaking, it's almost time for the 2010 deadline on June 30th. I've been getting a few blog visitors who have found me by Googling 'read Bridport Prize winning stories online' and the like. My story is only available in the anthology, which you can order from the website, and I think I'd need permission to reproduce it here.
Although there are some brilliant stories in the collection, I'm not saying you'd have a better chance of winning if you bought it. To give yourself the best chance send your best story. Send the story that speaks to you, the one you loved to write. The one that has all the words spelt correctly. The one you feel close to, happy with, interested in.
Your story will be read by a volunteer first, someone who loves reading and loves stories. They are longing to be captured by your characters. Some of them are reading hundreds of stories each.
Between them, through several stages of readers, they are narrowing down and finding the 80 or so stories that stood out in the thousands (over 6000 last year) that were submitted.
This year Zoe Heller will pick her winners, and 12 or 13 writers will get a phone call in September that will make their face go numb (well that's how it affected me) and they'll suddenly be part of this thing, THE BRIDPORT PRIZE, that some of them have known about for all their writing careers so far, that they might have entered before and never got anywhere near, and it'll be unreal, and brilliant, and scary. Or maybe the scary doesn't come until the prize-giving. And then it soon goes.
So, don't be put off by the numbers. Don't search for other winning stories. Send the one you love, and let it go. Good luck.