April's instalment of Sacha Black's newsletter
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Fear & Self Loathing in Las Blackas

Self loathing has always been the national anthem for writers. It's something I've been struggling with over the last couple of months too. I've taken a blogging hiatus just so I stop putting so much pressure on myself, because pressure leads to self loathing when I unsurprisingly fail to meet my own absurd targets. So in the name of fluffy teddy bears and glittery love hearts, I thought I would make it the theme of this months newsletter.

This month we have loads in store, including:

  • A quick trick to beat writers low self esteem
  • The writing tool every laptop-writer needs
  • Three writing competitions ending in May
  • A full round up of posts you might have missed
  • Don't forget to nominate your fave bloggers in this years Bloggers Bash Awards. Nominations open till May 10th. Nominate here.
Did you know, that if you ever miss a post of mine I have pages on my blog where I log each post. Check out this page for my Monday writing tips, or this page for my weekly wonders.

It has become apparent that I made a booboo in the last newsletter... I need to ask you to add me to your address book to prevent these emails ending up in your junk folder... so if you can spare a tick to do that, I'd love you long time!

Fancy saying hello? Drop me a line, I don't bite, unless asked! (sachablack (AT) sachablack (DOT) co (DOT) uk

Book Updates

I've re written another 15K words on Keepers this month, so I am now sitting at 35K. I've had two ridiculously talented writers have a look at the first chunk and both have given me amazingly helpful feedback. So whilst it physically pains me not to charge ahead, I am going to take stock and edit their feedback in before I move on.

13 Steps to Evil, my non-fiction book took a bit of a back seat this month, in that I did precisely fuck all on it. Right then, might need to sort that out this month!
Competition Time

Have you entered competitions this month? If not, TUT. Here's three ending in May, so no excuses. 

May Competition Closers:

WritersReign Short Story Competition 1000-1500 words- Entry Fee £3.50, prizes: £100; £50; £25 (Closes 31st May)
Frome Festival Short Story 1000-2200 word - Entry Fee £5.00, Prizes £300; £150; £75; (Closes 31st May)
100 Word and/or 1000 Word Competition (This is my lovely writing tutors comp, so if you enter any, enter these ones!) see link for more details, £2 entry. 1000 word story is themed 'treasure' money prizes for both. Ends 31st May

Monthly Round Up

Need a bit of writing inspiration? Try this month's Writespiration challenges:
It's All in the Title
Flash in a Flash - 120 second challenge

For some strange and unusual wonderings that never fail to inspire stories, check these posts out:

Ancient Flyer - The Mystery of Ancient Aircraft
In Search of Immortality - Gold, Panacea or Placebo?

and just for shits and giggles, here is an insight into my life, with a post from my toddler:

Teaching Your Parents About Bedtime - Lessons From a Terror Tot

Problem Corner 101  - Self Confidence

Self Confidence is a bitch. Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with us writers? We just love writhing in a vat of our own self loathing. It's like we're obsessed with smothering our own brand of Fake Bake 'self loathing' tan cream ALL OVER OUR BODIES.

There's a word for this: Atelphobia - it's the fear of not being good enough or thinking everything you do is wrong. Ring true for anyone? Or is that just me?

I'm bored of beating myself up and hating every word i've inked. I could sculpt Michelangelo's David with the number of times I've carved a tally mark because I decided I can't write and need to quit.

Then my weary grey cells remember. No one became a best seller by quitting. But just because I soldier on, doesn't mean I have a bag of magic pixie dust that gives me self esteem or confidence in my work.

So here's my trick for this month:

Create a new folder on your computer. Label it 'Rainy Day Confidence Fund' Or whatever.

Fill it.

Every time someone leaves you a positive comment on your blog about your blog or words, screen shot it, save pictures of tweets that praise you or say nice things. Fill it with positive feedback, story love, competition wins, anything, Just fill it with positivity.

Look at it. Often. But especially when you feel like quitting. 
This month the tool of the month is the Laptop Stand

Don't raise that eyebrow at me - trust me, this has saved my life.

I used to bitch and moan CONSTANTLY about neck ache. I'd be in pain almost daily and it wasn't until my wife suggested getting a laptop stand, that I realised it was the writing that was doing the damage.

If you didn't know - the top of your laptop or computer screen should be at your eye level. If it isn't then over time you will damage your back and neck.

Since purchasing a laptop stand, key board and mouse, the neck ache has completely disappeared. Check the one out I use on Amazon. They are all a much of a muchness but if you haven't got one, GET ONE. Immediately.
Writespiration of the Month: Flash in a Flash
Got no time? Short on inspiration?
Then try this 120 second challenge.

Anacampserote describes something that can bring back a lost love. It sent my mind reeling with story ideas. It's kind of a bizarre concept - what if they come back and you realise it was a mistake!
Wonder of the Month: Giant Skeletons
This month, I am taking you back into the weekly wonder archives again, to explore giant skeletons and their surprising role in America's history.
April Writing Challenge

This month's challenge is to use the photo and write about what happened at the end of the tunnel.

This photo reminded me of one of the fiction novels I am writing called Adultland. One of the scenes is set in a tunnel a just like this!

Here's an excerpt from when they are in the tunnels:

As we stepped down into the abandoned underground tunnels we were plunged into darkness. Lights were sparsely dotted down the tunnel and where they did give off light, it was dim at best. For several seconds every twenty feet or so, we were in total darkness. My only other guide in the gloom, was the heat from Hawk’s body piercing the icy temperature around me. 

“Let’s run,” Hawk said, breaking into a sprint.

My breath streaked passed me as I jogged as close to Hawk’s back as I could without stumbling under his feet. He was so tall I had to take three strides to one of his. I dug hard to keep up. Partly because of all the training I’d been doing, but mostly because I wasn’t going to let him think he was fitter than me

Hawk halted suddenly making me slam into his back and collapse onto a disused railway sleeper.

“What the hells wrong with you?” I snapped, pulling myself off the floor.

“Shh. Someone’s coming.”

My stomach rolled as a chill made its way down my back. Blood drained from my face. We’d run so far I was sure we would make it to the station without being seen. The thud thud of footsteps against the railway track made goose pimples race up my arms. I stopped breathing. Blood drained from my face. Thirty feet. Twenty. Ten. Five... 

Read Later
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."
Terry Pratchett 
Copyright © 2015 Sacha Black, All rights reserved. 

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Sacha Black Author · Hertford · Hertfordshire, sg13 8by · United Kingdom

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