The end of the beginning

The Finnish? Not yet!

Right all you hard-working Buggers, you can stop now. No really. What? You can’t stop? You can’t stop listening to people around you, and writing new material? Good. That was the point. Bugged was invented as a reminder that good writers notice the world around them. So don’t stop listening, don’t stop writing.

Give those big ears a rest

But you can stop submitting. Our deadline has passed, our inboxes are no longer overflowing, and our latest (but by no means last) selection includes new work from Lynsey May, Emma Purshouse, Sara-Jane Arbury, Marilyn Francis, Janet Rogerson, Susie Wild and lone representative of the male sex, Rob A Mackenzie. Click on the natty title August 15th to read a particularly fine selection of work to make you smile, blush or wince: and have a look here to see a colourful word cloud based on our blogs so far.

In the last six weeks, we received over 300 submissions. In the next six, we will make your work into a book that does justice to all who are included – and appeals to a wider readership. The blog has featured ‘the best of’ and the book will feature ‘the very best of’, but also will include new material from our core writers and much work that we couldn’t post on the blog for reasons of space or balance. It’s your job to help us spread the word – especially if you’re in it – and if you are, you’ll know by the end of August. You will all be itching to pre-order, and we’ll let you know how to do that soon. We’ve self-funded this project, paying commissioned writers, designers and publisher. Book sales are our only hope of making some of it back, so please buy the damn thing!

Helen and Emma - lucky girls eh?

Meanwhile, there are still prizes to be won; today, magnificent awards (left) for the first and last submissions. The first was Helen Addy, whose poem dropped on to our virtual doormat at 07.20 on 2nd July; the last was Emma Lannie, whose short story arrived three minutes before the deadline at 11.57 on Sunday. Ladies, expect something small and disturbing in the post this week.

The posts will keep coming, including work from our remaining core writers Jenn Ashworth and Stuart Maconie. We’ll be posting links, showing you the websites and publications of some of our contributors. There will be writing tips to keep you going if you’re a new writer, and to challenge you if you’re an old hack. What else do you want to see? A Top Ten overhearings? A map of Buggers across the UK? Resources for writers? Let us know in Comments. Don’t go away…. don’t leave us here in cyberspace….

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Bugged – and on it goes….

We are gobsmacked, delighted and now a little bit scared by the quantity and quality of writing coming in. Our main Bugging day was less than a week ago and we already have 70 submissions. And this is good work that’s coming in, not just any old rubbish*. So this post is just a quick one, to show you some of the work that has come in to date.

Today we bring you poetry and prose from Helen Addy, Andrew Bailey, Lucy Jeynes, Jo Field, Brenda Ray and Ruskin Brown – all in this lovely file with the catchy name of July 7th. We hoped that Bugged would bring you new material for your writings. I think we are doing so: surely, ferret theft and toilets in Norwich are amongst the things you wouldn’t normally consider as subjects. Truly, there is nothing you can’t write about.

If your name is not here, don’t panic. We haven’t been able to read all the work submitted so far, so you might yet appear in the next week or so. We’re expecting a little dip in submissions but we do hope you will prove us wrong. Some are submitting several pieces – which is fine! Don’t forget to submit via our Submission Form, and to attach it rather than paste it into your email.

If you’re dithering over whether to send us something – please do. Bugged is a community of writers creating and sharing. We know how much generosity it takes to offer it for the blog or anthology, especially if you are beginning your writing career. But it is an absolute joy to see the variety of responses we’re getting – some funny, some heartbreaking, some plain weird. All of them are original and clearly based on a real overhearing. Keep’em coming – we want 100 before our next post on Saturday.

Coming soon… our first response from one of our ten core writers, and news of book launches from others who are taking part. Keep Bugging!

*If you think your own writing does fall under the heading of ‘any old rubbish’ then ignore that nasty little self-doubting voice and submit anyway. Honestly; all writers doubt their own talent. Get on with it.

Superbugs!

Bugging aids...

Blimey. Some of you didn’t sleep last night; you were up writing your submissions for Bugged. As it happens, the earliest people to submit were all poets. We are showing you six of them – Stephen Beattie, Annie McGann, Kate Noakes, Sarah James, Paula Ward and Helen Addy.

WordPress is itself a bit of a bugger and won’t allow us to format poetry properly (now they tell us!) So these poems are just a couple of clicks away – but they are worth it. Click here on our file called (inspiringly) 2nd July to read the poems and see the quality of work we’re attracting. Some of these poets wrote directly from their overhearing, including it right in the body of the poem – others used it just as a spark or starting point. They give us a range of voices, all rather contemplative. What a fantastic start to Bugged – we are delighted, moved, and if we’re honest, a bit relieved that some of you really are sending work in. If you are thinking of writing something very different, don’t be put off – we can do funny, light, bawdy as well as serious, thoughtful, wistful!

Of course, most of you haven’t thought of submitting yet; you have till August 15th, and you can do your overhearing any time from now on. There are two common queries so far. First, how do you submit? Answer – go to the Submission Form page, downloading the form and emailing submit@bugged.org.uk. Note – it’s ORG, not CO.UK or .COM or anything like that. Second – ‘if you didn’t hear anything interesting’ or you missed yesterday for any other reason, don’t panic! You can do your overhearing at any time, so long as your work is with us by noon on August 15th. Look at FAQ for word limits and other queries. And bear in mind that we won’t be able to acknowledge every entry, or tell you when it’s up – just keep your eyes on this blog and we will tell you when the next post is coming.

There will be another post on Sunday (including a topical tennis poem) but keep listening, keep writing and keep submitting – we want to be swamped by brilliant new work. Thanks so much to the precocious Buggers who submitted so early. Keep checking back here for new writing – and keep Bugging.

Now then prose writers…. where are you?