New beginnings – and a competition

I have over the years become conditioned to feel that September, the start of the academic year, is a new beginning. Although now I am a writer not a teacher, I still get a little buzz as Summer segues into Autumn.

All the fun of a fresh start – and compatible with writing, I hope.

This year even more so.

I am starting a whole new writing-related enterprise. We have bought a lovely 1950s house, one road back from the glorious beach here at The Witterings. It’s large and relaxed, and with some adaptation, it will make a superb writers’ retreat.

Just down the road from Jane Rusbridge’s old home.

I believe there is a demand out there for a peaceful place by the sea where you can be spoiled rotten and get on with your writing. A place where you don’t need to worry about meals and laundry and general busy-ness. A place where a refreshing seafront stroll is two minutes away and the loudest thing is the seagull chorus. A place where tea and coffee and cake are always at hand.

Not mine – but you get the idea.

And a jolly sight more personal, friendly and cheaper than a hotel.

But I do have a problem.

It doesn’t have a name. Number 34 Marine Drive doesn’t cut it for me. It doesn’t say ‘here is the perfect seaside venue to complete your masterpiece/write your dissertation/compose the best poems ever’. How about you?

So I am offering a two-nights-for-the-price-of-one deal for the person who comes up with the best name – and a 10% discount for everyone who enters a suggestion. We plan to be up and running by Easter 2014 – and the prize/discount will be valid for a poetical year-and-a-day from our official opening.

To enter:

  • DM @lockwoodwriter on twitter – you’ll need to follow me first if you don’t already OR
  • visit the  K.M.Lockwood page on Facebook and leave a message ( it really needs some friends) OR
  • email with your suggestions

I am so looking forward to your suggestions – for names or any other comments.

PLEASE NOTE No-one’s email or anything else will be used by anyone other than me.


The competition will close on the 30th September. There may well have to be a vote-off.


Getting it in perspective

This last weekend I went up to the wonderfully sunny (and cold) Northumberland coast. We had to leave at cough of sparrow and I spent the whole of Friday Saturday and most of Sunday away from the Internet. I sang and talked and ate and walked. Fantastic.

Seahouses Harbour, Northumberland, by Simon Swales

It all kept my mind off the Mslexia Shortlist. I made a conscious decision not to fret or attempt to find out  – my focus would be on the Seahouses weekend. My career/vocation  is important to me – but the results weren’t going to change by me looking.

When I got back, it was a different matter. I checked my emails. Nothing. My focus dissipated and I was left with voices going off in my head.

  • the mopey, whingey one – you’re useless – it was a fluke you were even long-listed
  • the high-pitched, hopelessly optimistic one – it’s an oversight – you’ll get the email on Monday
  • the quiet, sober, realistic one – pick yourself up and carry on

At the bidding of the self-pitying voice I looked on Facebook. I could punish myself seeing who else had been short listed. No one I knew, it seemed.

I went for Twitter. Again, radio silence. Whiny voice: they all knew and I didn’t and who was I to dream? You’ll look a needy idiot if you ask.
Sensible voice: calm down and get on with your writing.

So I did. I wrote about how I felt and after a lot of tears, decided I would not let this stop me.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
(Kipling, If)

I would keep on writing regardless.

The little child’s voice, the one who hopes for wishes come true, squeaked at me. I told her to shut up. She persisted. I read the Terms & Conditions Yes, I was supposed to hear ‘whether or not’ I’d been short-listed.

With every bit of emotional armour I possessed bolted round my rather giddy heart, I emailed Martha Lane at Mslexia.

She replied. Her previous email had gone to my other account and thence into the ether. I had been short-listed. I am one of twelve and I should hear in mid-to-late February.

I am surprised how much this means to me – and how unreal it still seems. Someone who knows about these things actually likes my story. Gulp.

But I still remember my vow to myself. I shall keep on going, regardless.

All wound up

This will be a short post. I am off to Seahouses, Northumberland at silly o’clock tomorrow morning.

Seahouses Harbour by Simon Swales

As you may remember*, I was long-listed for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition back in October.  In theory I should hear tomorrow if I’ve been short-listed – but I will be on a plane. Then I will be singing with the Unthanks – maybe in Bamburgh Castle if I’m lucky.

Bamburgh Castle by David Dawson

It has astonished me how nervy I’ve been about this. Jittery even. I don’t mean the singing  -I’m hoping that might help. Not the best frame of mind when attempting to edit an 86k fantasy. I am all editorial fingers-and-thumbs.

Editing is like sorting these out! (Image by Glenda Sims)

Does everyone else get all jumpy about such things – or is it just me?

*Brownie point if you did.