Writing Competitions

This year Nathan and I will be entering our first writing competition. As I’ve talked about on the FB page, we’ve been learning a lot by doing short stories and we though it would be great to put some of them neck and neck with our peers and see how we fare.

From the photography world, I’ve learned how beneficial competitions can be. It gets us thinking. Makes us demand more and yes, puts us head to head with other writers work. Sometimes it’s exhilarating, sometimes disappointing. Sometimes you disagree with judges and wish you could give them a piece of your mind.

In the end however we gain experience from competition. There’s nothing like it. Instead of seeing ourselves as we imagine, we often get to see ourselves a more realistic light. I think competing really makes us buckle down and become a better writers.

We’re starting with the short story contest at the annual Write On The River conference this Spring. We’ve also started a list of conferences with competitions on the maps page. I really think that a successful writer is about more than just writing. It’s about selling and about marketing. That includes getting involved, learning and challenging yourself to raise the bar. Competition (and conferences) help you do just that.

Don’t make excuses this year. It can be daunting, but take your best, and put it out there. Win or lose you’ll learn something from that experience and you’ll walk away a better writer… Gavin Seim

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Writers Couch Maps.

We’ve added something to the site that I think will be really useful. Wc Maps is a Google map of writing conferences and workshops all over. It’s not fully fleshed out, but we’re working across the US and then beyond.

We’re also using different pin styles to indicate different events. For example conferences that include literary contests. Also you can mouse over each pin to learn more about the event such as the time of year it happens and visit it’s official website. We think this will be a simple effective way to help us all find writing events. If you know a great writing event or conference, get in touch and let Nathan and I know so we can add it to the map… Gav

You can view the map here… http://writerscouch.com/maps

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On Learning to Write Better.

by Gavin Seim:

There’s something I’ve learned from being a photographer that applies perfectly to writing and that’s learning. I’m twenty five years old and I’ve been serious about photography for about 13 of those years. Looking back on that experience, there’s one thing I can unequivocally say makes a difference. Absorbing as much relevant information as you can hold. It takes years to be a master at something, but at the early stages one can almost double their knowledge in a weekend. Podcasts, blogs, day workshops, written books, audio books whatever form tickles your knowledge bone, use it.

This may seem like basic stuff, but it occurred to me that we often assume we need expensive training to become experienced. Now if a writing school is the way you learn best, that’s great. Just don’t overlook things that are right in front of you and can boost your skills like a steam rocket in a lava flow.

Other writers have probably been through the save things you’re dealing with and they probably shared it somewhere. If you crave the knowledge it’s out there. For me the iPad is huge because I can subscribe to blogs and journals, then glance over large amounts of information whenever I have extra time. I can get Kindle books, write down sudden brainstorms. You name it. I’ve pounded out one of my best chapters on an iPad, while siting in a photography lecture.

Bottom line is this. Make a plan. Whether it’s an iPad, and MP3 player or a three ring binder. Get a plan to always have your favorite resources available so that when the knowledge craving comes, you’re ready to eat. I’ll have many more to share in the future, but for today here’s a few favorite resources I’ve found. Share your favorites in the comments. Happy learning… Gav


Writing Fiction for Dummies – The reviews say it best, but this is a solid learning tool. Even if you’re more experienced, reviewing essentials and the many tips in this one will keep you on top of things. It’s also available in Print or Kindle form.

The Elements of Style – Very few of us like reading grammar books. Holly this one is short and powerful. If you want to write better, then read it. It’s really that simple. For those like me that are on the run, there’s even and Audible version.

Techniques of the Selling Writer –¬† One of the best reviewed books you’ll find on the topic. From writing to selling.


Advanced Fiction Writing – A good blog ran by one of the guys that Brought you Fiction for Dummies.

Story Fix – Larry brooks is a fun guy and has loads of knowledge. This active blog will keep you thinking and take you from writing better prose, to marketing essentials for your work.

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Writers Couch Is Here.

This project has been in the works for awhile now, but life if busy and it’s taken more than a while to get it rolling. I’m Gavin Seim and Writers Couch is a writers journal and a short podcast. This is a place by writers for writers. I’m starting the project, but at will be headed by by brother Nathan who is my writing partner for four starting books that we have in progress.

Writers couch is about getting us thinking as writers and having a bit of fun in the process. It’s a place to look at writing, marketing and the sometimes crazy things we go thru as writers. It’s informal, so we’ll be having fun and sharing experiences. In the future we have have guests writers post content as well.

This is a work in progress. I’m an experienced podcaster and writer in the photography world that is my day job. I plan to bring that experience of sharing to Writers Couch as well. It may take a little time to refine it all, so stay tune as Nathan and I will get things rolling around here like setting up the podcast on iTunes and starting the conversation.

Finally if you’re interested in checking out the other¬† projects I have going (mainly photo related) you can visit my website…. Gavin

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