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Why Write?

Depositphotos_2488689_original typewriter3

Well, what to say here? This is an article I wrote back in 1995 for no other reason than that it was the very first piece of writing I ever had published (3rd prize in a competition for which I was awarded the princely sum of £20). I’ve tidied it up a bit since then, but the text essentially remains the same  


                             Why Write?                                                         


Why Write? An interesting question you might agree, but one with a multitude of answers. The same question could well be asked of those who follow other creative pursuits. What compelled Van Gogh or Gaugin to paint, despite their sufferings, or Beethoven to compose even though he was profoundly deaf? Or, returning to my original question, the Bronte sisters to write when publication seemed an impossible dream? This passionate need for self-expression is in every writer who yearns to achieve authorship as their career. Many of course believe writing to be an easy job with huge financial rewards at the end of it; if money is your sole motivation then you are probably not a born writer. This isn’t to say money should not be a consideration, but its value to many writers is the freedom it allows them to work at what they most enjoy, in their own time and at their own pace. Then, a writer’s intention may merely be to entertain, which is I believe to be an excellent reason for writing; any occupation that brings light relief and enjoyment to so many people is an admirable one. To bring enjoyment to even one person can be a source of profound satisfaction:

rona“One of my greatest rewards came a year or two ago, mailed to me care of my publishers –  an envelope with a Glasgow postmark containing a scrap of paper on which was written very simply, ‘thank you for all the enjoyment your books have given me’.  It bore no address and no signature, and accompanying it was a Scottish pound note. I have never parted with either. That kindly gesture has been kept as a talisman ever since. My only regret is that I have never been able to thank that unknown reader.”

Rona Randell, (authoress)

quillIf, in your own writing, you are fortunate enough to experience such a moment you may well be well on your way to answering the above question. For many though the urge to write is born out of circumstance. One important thing to appreciate is that writing is a solitary and often lonely occupation. This works both ways: writing leads to solitude, but solitude can also lead to writing. It is this last consideration that brings me to my own reasons for writing. It would be untrue to say that I had never wanted to write before a serious accident rendered me housebound for several months, but it was little more than an unconscious desire, submerged for the most part by the many competing attractions and obligations of everyday life, emerging only rarely during moments of quiet solitude, or after having read something particularly enjoyable or inspiring. It was only then I sometimes thought, yes, I’d like to write something like that and to write as well as that! But such occasions are few and far between. For myself it had always been impossible not to allow the pressures of family and everyday life combine to make any serious attempt at writing an impractical, if not impossible dream; perhaps I used this as an excuse, for indeed there are many who overcame such obstacles to realise their dreams, but for me, the constant rationalisation that there was always tomorrow, the day after, or the weekend, to start putting pen to paper, held me back. My own fault I admit. What made me do so was, again, among other things, having read a book that I found particularly enjoyable, Nineteen Eighty-Four if I remember correctly. Upon finishing it I decided I too would like to write something similar (or at least try). Being housebound as I was I felt as trapped and imprisoned as is possible to be short of being a guest of Her Majesty. Ironically though it was those very circumstances that provided the very time and freedom I needed to write – or at least freedom from all the excuses that had fed my past procrastination. Thus finally inspired, my main obstacle was to put down that first word, a daunting prospect for any fledgeling writer. But once you have taken that first step the writing becomes easier. Word follows word, sentence follows sentence, and paragraphs take shape to form chapters until such time as that elusive first poem, article, short story, or even a novel may one day emerge. It may seem ironic, even absurd that such an incapacity might provide one with any kind of freedom, but given the right attitude and self-discipline it can be equally surprising just how conductive a temporary restriction of one’s physical freedoms and mobility can actually be to any new, or even I should imagine an experienced writer. Cut off from many of the distractions of the outside world and pursuits of ordinary life, being housebound encouraged me to call upon the resources of my imagination and experience. One only has to think of those have found themselves truly cut off from the outside world, I speak of course those writers and authors who have for whatever reason begun or continued their writing whilst in prison:  Dostoevsky, Oscar Wilde, Daniel Defoe, and, more recently, the likes of John McVicar, and Jimmy Boyle. Evidently, solitude can be developed into a valuable resource. It can enable one to get in touch with one’s deepest feelings, to form ideas, and encourage the growth of one’s creative imagination, culminating in the elusive ‘written’ word. But what of the benefits of writing? Not the obvious ones of possible fame and fortune, but the more personal, more intimate? During those months of recovery, it would be absurd to suggest that writing in any way changed the physical reality of my situation but it did provide an enjoyable and often fascinating pastime, a marvellous form of escape if you like. It was only when I was alone, with a pen, paper, and a desire to write that I finally produced my first literary efforts. The circumstances were far from ideal but with pen in hand (or fingers on a keypad these days), a few ideas, and a fair degree of imagination, I could be anywhere in the world, create any scenario – an entire world and its characters were there for me to create and immerse myself in. Often I would find myself totally absorbed in what I was trying to say and the struggle involved in trying to transform my thoughts into some form of readable prose. This was not always and indeed still isn’t an easy task. My recovery was slow but nonetheless eventually complete, and my enforced solitude came to an end. It was by no means the ideal milieu for my writing but it was the catalyst for it for which I shall always be grateful. To conclude then, there is no magic formula as to how or why people write. Only you, the writer, can answer that question. And for each of us, I suspect the answer will be different. But whatever the reason, only you can make it happen: imagination, a love of words, creativity, enthusiasm, and the desire to write – those are your tools. All you need is to take the opportunity to use them.

Publishing Sites… Pt1.

This particular post is somewhat of a diversion from my usual stories and book review posts.

Many of the bloggers on WordPress, though by no means all, are new and aspiring writers, debut & self-published authors, poets, and writers of short and flash fiction stories covering many different genres. What I’ve tried to do here is compile a list and brief resume of some of the online publishing sites I’ve come across in my reading and researches. I won’t pretend to have personal experience of any of these sites, but all of  have been reviewed in various writing magazines and other places; some of them are indeed WordPress blogs as well, and it is up to the reader to judge for themselves the individual merits of each one.

Whilst I honestly doubt publication on any of the following will automatically lead to literary fame and fortune, just as it doesn’t even with the more traditional publishing houses, but anything that leads to a wider reading audience and public awareness of one’s writing might well be a first step on the way…

I hope some of you who read this posting and look at any of the sites listed find the success you are looking for and deserve. This is just a very small sample of the publishing resources out there, and if any readers discover new ones not listed here please drop me a line so that I might add them. Likewise, the web being what it is, if any of these links should become inactive, feel free to let me know also. Thanks…

This is a simple website that runs a number of flash fiction and short story writing competitions. There are also links to a number of other useful websites for aspiring writers. Fish publishing also produces an annual anthology of winning stories, memoirs, flash fiction, and poetry. 


Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted, is US based, and is published twice yearly as a high quality print digest magazine, and is pretty much dedicated to horror and dark fantasy, including mystery, suspense, supernatural, morbid humour, and fantasy.

As well as short stories (up to 5000 words), and flash fiction (up to 1000 words), and micro-fiction (up to 200 words), shock totem also accepts non-fiction pieces (up to 2,500 words) on topics such as disease, poverty, horror, and dark fantasy.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


This is a US based small press for electronic publication via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. They invite submissions for novellas (15,000 – 40,000 words) in the following genres: horror, erotic horror, dark crime, and fantasy.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


Not So Noble Books, is, to quote them, ‘an independent publisher of e-books that don’t conform.’

They publish exclusively on Amazon. Although they mainly publish books that would not normally be accepted by mainstream publishers, books as they put it, that don’t conform or necessarily fit in with mainstream categories, they are also willing to accept unsolicited manuscripts in the mainstream genres of: romance, thriller, horror, and others (inquire with them directly).

They will also look at short stories, but generally prefer full-length fiction.

As well as fiction they also publish a few academic and philosophical titles.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


Park Publications publish a quarterly short story print magazine called SCRIBBLE, featuring short stories, competitions, writing articles, and reader feedback letters.

They accept stories of up to 3000 words in the genres of horror, humour, Sci-Fi, supernatural, contemporary stories, and ‘women’s fiction.

Submissions are free for subscribers, and an entry payable for non-subscribers.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:

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Read short fiction is an online short story magazine publishing: action/adventure, humour, literary, mainstream, romance, horror, paranormal, and Sci-Fi (but no erotica).

Submissions should be between 1,500 and 4,000 words.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


This is US based website that publishes a free Sci-Fi / Fantasy story each day.

They are looking for Sci-Fi and Fantasy stories from 100 to 10,000 words, and are especially interested in flash fiction pieces of up to 1000 words.


They do not accept stories that are already posted on the writer’s personal website or blog.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:

sporepress3 sporepress2 sporepress4

This is a US based small independent online publishing company offering books in both print and e-book formats, available via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Spore Press specializes in BioSciFi, i.e. biologically themed science fiction, genetic engineering/societies (see website for more details).

Spore Press also has a secondary imprint, namely Argenta Books

(See, which publishes in general fiction.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:

News, information and guides to independent bookstores, independent publishers, literary magazines, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative news weeklies, and host of others…

Information on this site includes links to creative writing courses, sites calling for submissions, writing contests, book review sites, writing conferences, and too many others to list here…

From Utne magazine: “, the best overall internet portal to the alternative press, independently organizes pages of links to hundreds of magazines, independent publishers and bookstores, literary magazines, newsweeklies, and review sources. also publishes unique book zine reviews, and an interesting web-log broadly covering the world of arts, publishing, and libraries.”

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This is a US based digital publisher specializing in YA (young adult), NA (new adult), and romance. They also accept Sci-Fi, fantasy, and urban fantasy providing they contain a strong romantic element to them.

They publish 3-4 titles per month.

They are looking for YA and NA submissions of between 50,000 – 90,000 words.

Other submissions of 10,000 words for novellas and 120,000 words for novels.

To see their full submission guidelines got to:

interzone1  interzone2  interzone3  interzone4  interzone5

TTA Press is a UK based publisher, and publishes Interzone, Britain’s longest running Science Fiction & Fantasy magazine, as well as two other publications, Black Static, magazine concentrating on horror, and Crimewave, which is published twice a year as an American Royal paperback

They are now accepting submissions via their webpage.

They also publish a small but growing number of books, including novels, anthologies, collections, and the ongoing TTA Novellas.

To see their full submission guidelines got to:

FM2  FM3

This is a US based company specializing in a range of online magazines sold via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and via the company’s own website.

They accept submissions of the following:

Book Reviews (800 – 1000 words)

Efiction – contemporary literary fiction

Sci-Fi & Fantasy short stories

Serial Fiction, poetry, and a various other genres…

Due to the various magazines they offer, submission guidelines vary slightly for the different magazines so it’s important to take a close look at their submission guidelines.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


Gloomcupboard is an online litzine that accepts:


Fiction (under 2,500 words preferred)

Flash fiction (up to 500 words)

Creative non-fiction (memoirs/personal essays – under 200 words preferred)

Book Reviews (of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction) .


To see their full submission guidelines go to:

This is a new journal of poetry and short prose. It publishes three times a years in both print and electronic format.

They are accepting submissions of:

Poetry (shorter poetry preferred but not essential)

Prose (up to 750 words).

To see their full submission guidelines go to:

Slice-issue14-cvr-v2b  slice2

This is a US based biannual non-profit print literary magazine.

They accept submissions from both new and established writers.

Categories for submission are:

Short fiction, non-fiction, and poetry (maximum word count of 5,000 words)

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


They are most interested in the following for submission:

Full length fiction

Short story fiction

Historical fiction and non-fiction

Informational / Business / How-to


Also take a look at the LitBits tab on their website for further details of short story submissions.

To see their full submission guidelines go to:


Note:  As well as posting this here, because I intend to update and add to these sites on a monthly basis, I shall be adding this post to a page of its own (Online Publishing Sites) on my blog as a permanent reference point –

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