This one or that one?

An extra post today. Lucky you lot! ūüôā

There are currently 2 competitions or “opportunities” for writers of short stories who would like to write for radio. The BBC Opening Lines details can be found here; the BBC National Short Story Competition with Booktrust details can be found here. The bright-eyed and bushy-tailed will notice that both of these competitions are in association with the BBC.

Opening Lines is free entry and 3¬†successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to London to see their winning stories recorded. There is no other payment for this “opportunity”.

The BBC National Short Story Competition is also free entry, but the 5 winning entries (that’s FIVE), will receive ¬£15,000 1st prize, ¬£3,000 runner up, and ¬£500 each for the 3 further shortlisted entries. Interviews with the shortlisted writers will be broadcast over 5 weekdays and each story will also be broadcast.

Now then, as an advocate of writers being paid, which one do you think I’d recommend you go for? Of course, it’s entirely up to you, but if you have any doubt, please check out these usual rates of pay from the BBC first, via the Society of Authors.

I continue to argue that if a slot is already paid for, then it should be paid for. Organisations and companies should not exploit beginning writers by encouraging them to submit something and then not pay them what they’d normally pay. “For the glory” doesn’t really pay the rent, does it? Or perhaps we should try something similar when the gas board come calling: “Sorry, although I do usually pay my utility bills, why don’t¬†you accept having the glory of being my energy supplier this time?” Or how about when our TV licence becomes due for payment …?

In my opinion, the BBC can afford to pay its contributors. End of.

Let me know if you enter either competition or “opportunity”, and how you get along. (I love how they’re calling it an opportunity … not.)

It worked!

blog thumbnailYesterday was a do diddle day and, this time, it seems to have worked quite well.

For a start, I did diddley squat all day, or for much of the day, which is the whole point. I had a nice lie in, but not too late. I pootled around the house doing bits and bobs. I bobbed into town for an hour and walked the dog. Then I read (World Without End, Ken Follett) and watched a teensy bit of telly (Death in Paradise, BBC1).

By half ten I was in bed.¬†I had a proper, good night’s sleep too, and only woke when the dark barked at 6:15am.

Then I got up at a reasonable time, did some yoga, had breakfast at breakfast time instead of 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and was at my desk by starting work time. I’ll have my first break at 11am, dinner at 1pm, afternoon break at 3pm, and dog walk at 5pm.¬†Hopefully, in between, I’ll finish today’s scheduled work and have a column of lovely ticks down the side of my diary page.

Today I’m editing a novel. I’m also updating the gig list, and doing some writing work. I¬†have¬†my 1,000 words a day, plus drafts of a filler and a short story to write.

For the next 10 days I’m tracking my food intake and activity. When I set the CCTV up and recorded myself (to test it) I was astonished at how overweight I look. I don’t really do diets any more, as I think they’re an expensive waste of money and the only people to properly benefit are those who make money from the industry. Also, as soon as I start a diet, I start to feel starving hungry all the time.

Instead, I just cut my food intake down to 3 meals per day – breakfast, dinner, tea – with just an afternoon snack of maybe a banana and an evening snack of maybe an apple. I usually have cake, chocolate, biscuits or sweeties. But I’ve stopped eating chocolates and sweeties for Lent and I need to cut out those cakes and biccies.

For the tracking I’ve joined Spark People because it’s free. It also is supposed to have one of the largest databases for the purpose. But the gadget I particularly like is where you can plot a route that you walk, run or cycle on a map, save it, and share it if you wish. Anywhere in the world.

I’ve only lost 2lb in the 3 weeks since I registered, but I was poorly for some of that time and didn’t concentrate properly. However, jeans straight out of the wash on Saturday didn’t cut me in two and I’m sitting around the house in them before realising I haven’t had to change into something a bit more comfortable.

Later today, then, when I walk the dog, I’ll be doing one of my pre-saved routes. And this evening, if there’s nothing on the telly, I’ll choose a fitness DVD. I won’t be buying any more fitness DVDs, but I may as well use the ones I have.

So, to work …