There are a multitude of writing competitions available, whether locally or internationally. When submitting to a competition there are a few common ground rules to adhere to.
Tip #1: Be clear on your goals before entering any contest. Why do you want to enter in the first place?
Tip #2: Follow the rules and submission guidelines – each contest is different. This includes keeping to the submission deadline. ( A day earlier is best)
Tip #3: Proofread – this is absolutely vital. Make sure you read and re-read your entry before submitting.
Tip #4: Enter writing that is appropriate for the contests’ stated theme or topic. Familiarize yourself with the press or journal hosting the contest. Take note of their style and content.
Tip #5: Enter numerous contests to improve your chances of winning.
Tip #6: Don’t ignore lesser well-known contests, it could mean winning it gains you exposure and connections for your writing career. And of course, there is always the prize money! Not only does submitting to a range of contests maximize the likelihood that you may win, but it is a great way to improve and expand your writing skills.
Tip #7: Exploit your genre, your niche when researching the range of contests, there are always specialized creative writing contests out there that suit your style. Make the most of the opportunity to showcase your writing.
Tip #8: Create a story with an emotional impact, and topic. Make it memorable, new, fresh and focus on clarity. Choose a brilliant first line and action. Give your character a goal, a choice and ensure there is a change of personality, status or situation. And above all nail the ending.
Do you have any tips for entering contests? Care to share?
I am honoured and thrilled (excuse the pun!) to be included in this celebration of women’s lives. We all have such varied experiences, but share so much at the same time. I wrote about my thrill of sensation, something that remains with me even today. And yes, given the change I will sit on a swing to enjoy the pendulum sensation.
As usual King delivers captivating stories. I loved the author notes are the back as he described how the story ideas formed. This is such an enlightening tool for any writer to see how a well established author comes up with their ideas. Each story weaves a spell as only King can. Highly recommended to all readers, its not ‘horror’
My current book is Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay – it gripped from the first page.
At the beginning of every year, we decide on what goals we want to achieve. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not, but it is the thrill of a new year that engages us in this ritual. I make a goal board to help my focus and motivation. It is not just for my writing goals but other personal ones too. As you can see from the image, I have four sections to my board this year – writing, family & friends, finances and health and relaxation.
Interestingly, this board is the most complex one I have ever made. Maybe because there is a stronger motivation this year due to the restrictions we have all encountered. And that is my word for 2021 as well – MOTIVATION.
Do you have a word for 2021?
I have already submitted to several writing contests and began a six week writing course too, so I am on my way. I am also determined to have the first book of my detective novel trilogy, edited and revised by the end of the year, so it can be published. To this end, members of my writing group will be swapping chapters of our current work in progress for suggestions, editing and review over several months. This is such a useful tool, as each person will ‘read’ the story, allowing me (and them) a preview of our novels.
I am engaged in a six week writing course and thought, I could share my submissions with you. The first week is the sense of SIGHT. This was my story using the image.
The Jungle Wall
Lush greenery clings to a rocky reddish brown mock cliff face. A sheen of a waterfall cascades onto a flat hard surface, in a splashing burst. Sunlight shimmers in the veil of water, creating a band of rainbow colours. To the side are smooth, burnt sienna stones and pebbles, piled atop each other. Lighter green foliage creeps among them mimicking rivets of a stream. Large fern like leaves in glossy dark greens surround the liquid of the waterfall and quench their thirst. The throng of office workers pass by without a care or indeed interest. The mock jungle wall has become commonplace, a background feature. Too familiar to see anymore.
That is until, Sandy enters the building for an appointment. She initially enjoys the cool air so pleasant after the hot humid summer day outside. As she’d entered the building, she noticed the glass façade created stripes of light on the grey sidewalk, in stark contrast to her comfortable red soft leather shoes. She pulled at her indigo jeans, wishing she had taken time to hem them properly instead of folding the fabric at her ankles, where it now bunched and folded.
Sandy heard the water falling before seeing the green and brown jungle wall. A smile grew on her face at the joy and thrill that came over her as she looked at it. She was drawn to the lush greenery, the sparkling water and how the sunlight, funneled from an overhead skylight, danced on the surfaces. She walked to the edge of the installation and the noise of traffic, voices and footsteps fell away. It was as though she had traveled to an exotic location – a tropical forest. The falling water drew her eyes from top to bottom and around again – pulling her forward ever closer. Unconsciously, she leaned over the glass panels, reaching out to touch the delightfulness of the scene. She was within the installation in her mind’s eye – the russet browns and verdant greens grew in richness and intensity. She looked at every leaf, every rock and plant – committing to memory the sights.
Suddenly, her dream was broken, a hand gripping and pulling her backwards. Her purse tumbled from her shoulder to the ground, its contents spilling across the tiled floor. A woman’s voice muffled in Sandy’s ears, a stranger’s face full of concern.
“You nearly fell over, my dear. You need to take care. Here let me help you with your belongings.”
Sandy struggled from her daze and thanked the woman, as they gathered her possessions. With all the items gathered Sandy thank you woman and watched her walk away, unsure how she could have been so absorbed in the jungle of her imagination. Glancing at her watch she gasped to see she was almost late for her appointment. Without another look, she hurried away.
In the depths of the rock wall, eyes shone out. The treasure was just inside the glass panels. As the building emptied later on that evening, a small creature crept to retrieve the pink and black vial. It put it with all the other treasures and grinned. Another susceptible human drawn in.
Let me know what you think of this story.
I have once again entered the Goodreads Reading Challenge – I am committing to read a minimum of 15 books in 2021. I hope I can make this goal, as I missed my goal by two books last year, mainly because I was busy completing my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift and promoting it once it was published and participating in NaNoWriMo. This year I will edit and revise my manuscript for the first book in my crime/detective trilogy, so decreased my reading goal slightly. Have you signed up?
My current read is If It Bleeds by Stephen King. It will not take much longer!
What are you reading? What was your favorite book of 2020?
I wrote this book as a way to help people beyond what I share in a one-hour seminar or coaching session. The book takes a deeper dive into so many areas of nutrition and wellness. I have been a dietitian for over 24 years, and have a lot of nutrition tips and stories to share. Other books have motivated me to write my own. The Blue Zones books by Dan Buettner give wellness tips, along with vivid stories of his visits to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. I am fascinated by longevity, and when I read my first Blue Zones book, I loved that the book wasn’t just telling you what to do. The helpful wellness tips were woven into the stories that were shared. In my book, I wrote about a 102 year old man who is still driving and enjoying life. Another story is about a man I met who is now 98 and is still cooking for his daughter. When I first met him after a seminar I presented at a senior center, he appeared to be in his low 80’s, if not younger. I found out he was 95 at the time, and it was a surreal moment. I was just finishing up doing a presentation on the Mediterranean diet, and here in front of me was a living example of how this way of eating and living surely does lend itself to longevity. We have become friends. I’ve called him periodically during the Covid shutdowns to make sure he is okay, and we have exchanged fun gifts for holidays and birthdays. His friendship is the best gift of all. My mission is to learn and then share what I’ve learned in fun and meaningful ways to help others improve their lives. My book is one way to do this.
Is there a specific age group the book is geared towards?
I had adults in mind when I wrote the book. I have noticed that the book especially resonates for those 50 and up.
Do you feel nutrition should be taught in all grades of schools?
The first review of my book that came in mentioned how the information should be shared in schools. I wholeheartedly agree that nutrition should be taught in schools and for all grades. When I worked in school food service, I applied for grants that provided nutrition education in creative ways. One way was that I arranged for an entire elementary school grade to go on a hike, with healthy lunch provided, plus a nutrition talk for the kids during the day. Another way was to have a chef join the school food service staff to promote healthy meals to teenagers. I think that nutrition can be fun and taught in creative ways that appeal to all ages. I always liked show-and-tell as a kid, and my model of teaching for adults is show-and-tell model. I use lots of props and fun demonstrations. My virtual seminars have been a hit, as I have shown a lot of shocking things that make people think about their food consumption, such as all the sugar in one seasonal frozen coffee drink. It has more sugar than an entire container of ice cream!
Can you share a tip on how to eat a balanced diet?
I developed a plate to emphasize balance. It’s based on studying what people eat across the world to stay healthy. I call it the NuTricia’s Plate. See the graphic below. Half of the plate is vegetables. A great way to mimic this plate is to make sure that you vegetables cover half of your plate at lunch and dinner, and hopefully some vegetables during snacks, and maybe even breakfast, too. A quarter of your plate should be a small portion of healthy starchy carbohydrates such as whole grains (for example, brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta), or potatoes, or corn. A quarter of the plate should be a protein rich food such as beans, fish, chicken, or turkey. People should consider having at least 3 small servings of fruit a day, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil as parts of meals and snacks. Water should be consumed throughout the day.
How can someone with physical restrictions improve their movement?
If you have physical restrictions, then focus on what you can do. Ask your doctor for guidance, and see a physical therapist. Physical therapists can help solve or lessen many pain problems. They are such a great resource. I have gone through many rounds of physical therapy over the years for different injuries and conditions, and some of the results have been pretty miraculous! Focusing on what you can do can have huge positive mental and physical benefits. Many fantastic exercises stretching and strengthening exercises can be done from a chair.
6. Did your parents encourage your healthy lifestyle? Somewhat. There was the good the bad, and the downright ugly. The good was that there were lots of health books and magazines around the house, and my mom made very balanced dinners. The bad was that the lunches I brought to school were often cold cut sandwiches on white rolls with no veggies or fruit. The ugly was that my family would have weekend “pig-outs” (junk food binges) that I think was at the root of my overweight status as a kid.
7. Who are your health gurus? I have several. Deepak Chopra kicked off my love of meditation. He periodically offers free 21-day meditation programs that are a fantastic way to implement or sustain a meditation habit. Dr. Andrew Weil’s book 8 Weeks to Optimum Health was very eye-opening to me. Elian Haan is a mind/body/trauma coach who teaches yoga and tai-chi at an addiction facility. I met her at an SCW Fitness Conference and have learned so much from her about the healing effects of mindfulness and mindful movement. Dr. Walt Willet is one of my favorite nutritionists. I love what I learned in the books, Healthy at 100 by John Robbins, and the China Study by T. Colin Campbell. These books have become guiding lights for me.
8. What part of your background do you feel had the biggest impact on your life? My dad’s work ethic and the Mediterranean way of living that my grandparents role modeled. My dad is an entrepreneur and a serial hard worker. My dad has been working long hours each day, mostly 7 days a week for over 50 years. Through his example, I learned that hard work pays off. I also learned key business skills that have helped me in my own entrepreneurial journey. My grandparents grew fruit in their yard, and went shopping almost daily for fresh vegetables. There were salads and raw veggies on the table at the beginning of the meal followed by tasty meals that included greens such as spinach and broccoli rabe sautéed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
9. Is there an age limit to creating a healthy lifestyle?
Never. it’s never too late to change your habits. Life is one long learning opportunity. There’s always room for learning and change.
10. What do you do to relax?
During the times of the Covid shutdowns, meditation has helped me tremendously. My favorite meditation app is Insight Timer. I use it a lot. It has helped me gain focus and improve my productivity, as well as helped me enhance my mood, and deal with stress. I have been working on earning my yoga certification over the last year, and learning new-to-me yoga poses has been invaluable. Two of my favorite poses are corpse pose (also known as shavasana—it’s when you are lying down at the end of a yoga session) or legs up the wall. Legs up the wall is what is sounds like. You are lying down on the floor, and your legs are resting up against a wall. I feel especially relaxed after doing this pose, and that effect lasts for hours.
11. Are you planning on writing anther book?
Yes, I have a lot of books in me, and will be focusing on the creative process over the next few weeks to get the next book moving along. It’s important to schedule creative days in your calendar. I have a few coming up, and am looking forward to it.
12. Is there a message you would like to send to your readers? Put the past behind you and make healthy choices going forward. Ruminating about the past can get in your way. Dream about your future, and create a vision of where you want to be, then live in the NOW. Make good choices in the NOW, to achieve your vision of the future
13. Where can readers find your book? My book, Healthy Dividends: Investments in Nutrition, Movement, and Healthy Habits that Pay Off can be found on Amazon.
Tricia has been a fitness and nutrition enthusiast, since she was a child. She is a registered and licensed dietitian, certified wellness coach, fitness instructor (certified as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor), and smoking cessation facilitator.She graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University of New York and completed her dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She graduated with honors from the Babson College MBA program.
She has extensive nutrition education experience including time spent as the director of nutrition for the prestigious Canyon Ranch Health Resort in the Berkshires. During her employment at Boston Public Schools, she taught nutrition and was responsible for the operations of over 20 school nutrition meal sites which employed over 100 people. Her vast school nutrition experience also includes three years as the director of food services at Watertown Public Schools where she was responsible for operations and developed and implemented innovative nutrition education opportunities for the students. She has been educating clients and groups through her business for many years.