Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Friday, 27 March 2009

NOT such a nice surprise!

Oh dear! I spied the postman through the window carrying what looked suspiciously like one of my SAEs towards my house this morning. As the envelope plopped gloomily onto the mat I saw that I was right. It was two short stories I sent a month ago to one of the women's magazines and they'd been declined! (We are never to use the word rejected on this blog again! Far too negative a word for our writerly ears!)

I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I was, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But it wasn't as painful as when I had my first short story declined. There will be many more of my short stories returned, declined in the future I'm sure. But if I don't keep sending them out I will never get an acceptance. As I said yesterday, I have other short stories out there, so it's not such a blow when some have been declined.

What did I do when I saw they'd been declined? I put them to one side and carried on with another short story I was editing when I saw the postman. (The postman is living in fear because he knows if I get an acceptance I shall be chasing the poor boy up the road for a kiss! My husband lives in fear that I will actually do this - what will the neighbours think?! They're not shocked by anything anymore! Maybe I'll just get him a six pack of beer instead. A reward for lugging my many manuscripts over the last year!)

I will get the stories out next week and do the usual, why were they declined? How can I improve them? And where shall I send them next, routine. But for this weekend I'll be editing the five short stories I've got up to their final edit stage and send them out next week.

I know it sounds as though I have a lot of short stories written, but they are not all at the same stage of completion. As I mentioned yesterday, I like to have some ready to go immediately for when some come back declined. It helps keep me motivated. I think it's harder to write a story from scratch when you've had some declined and I'm not sure if I didn't have other stories on the go that I'd bother writing new ones, and that is not the attitude to have!

Hearing about other successes, like Churchmouse's books and talks, and those my friends at Wrekin Writers achieve is such a boost to me and such an inspiration - there's no way I could ever give up, no matter how many times my work is declined! I wouldn't dare because they wouldn't let me! I won't let me!

Happy writing, everyone, and hold on to the belief that you can and will do it, whatever your own personal goals are.

Julie. xx


The Buddhist Conservative said...

Hi Julie,

One cannot help but be inspired by the attitude you place on your goals. I have never met anyone who enjoys rejection but in writing, it is a part of life. Your energy is infectious.

When I started writing, I sent out several dozen sample columns to a list I bought of every journal and newspaper editor on America's west coast. I never heard back from most and the rest sent back the response card I included in the package with the box checked "no thanks".

After wallowing in self pity for a few weeks I decided to redo the samples and pay a visit to the evil editors close enough to drive to. It took a few weeks for the first one to get back to me and I still am writing 9 years later. I have added two more publications since and a few freelance projects.

Someday, perhaps, I can quit my day job and dedicate myself full time to writing but that seems a long way off. I by no means consider myself a great writer but have such a good time doing it.

I write the column together with my wife who is one of the toughest editors I have run into. :) It has allowed us to travel to places and attend events that would have been closed to us previously.

Sorry for rambling on so long but your story is such a positive influence I could not help it.
I may even start working on the book I have been noodling for the last several years.


Julie P said...

Thanks Roger. I'm glad my positive attitude is spreading! It's hard to stay sane and enthusiastic when most of the writing you do is not accepted by editors, but as you know yourself, it's perseverance, determination and the development of a thick skin and nerves of steel that will get us closer to achieving our writing goals and not anger, denial or tears!

Mind you I have felt like crying and indeed have cried and vowed never to write or send anything out again on numerous occassions! But, on balance, I know most writers get their work declined at some point. I am fairly new to this writing game and cannot expect to get results overnight. Writing is a profession and must be learned and practised, the same as any other job.

You are so lucky having your wife's support and understanding. I have the encouragement and support of my family and friends (non writers) and of my writing group and everyone on blogspot who follow my blog - and the blogs I follow. Thank you everyone for that. I hope that people feel encouraged by my blog, and thank you, Roger, for your kind comments.

Good luck with your book. I shall be first in the queue to purchase it.

Take care and happy writing. Julie.

Churchmouse said...

Hi, Julie, I've had short stories published and I've found that being accepted is just editing and editing and editing and editing.....provided of course you have a good story that will interest your target market, and I'm sure you have. If I can help in the slightest way......two heads are sometimes better than one...
Hugs and love and keep going...Carole xx

ps it is beginning to rain, it's cold out there and I'm just off to Berrington to sit in the dairy.......but the forecast for tomorrow is better...hurray!

Julie P said...

Thanks Carole. I might bring a couple of stories to the next meeting for people to look at - all comments good or bad will ne gratefully recieved!
I hope the rain passes off. And good luck at Berrington.

Diane Perry said...

Julie - just remember - if it was easy everyone would be doing it. As real writers - which we have to accept the knocks and then think about another story. I know what you are going, after 8 years I am struggling so much to get my novel even looked at and like you I have had loads of those awful things beginning with 'R' that we won't mention. But it's because we love doing it we don't give in. Please do bring a story to the next meeting, and if you don't get time to read it, I would love to.
Keep going - one day it will be worth it - You are good enough. You have proved that in Wrekin Writers aleady

Churchmouse said...

The rain DID hold off - I used NLP advice - say a prayer to the universe and asked for sunshine over the bit of the earth you're on and it always seems to work :-) Mind, I should have said a prayer for more children, very few showed up, but we can't have everything...hugs..

womagwriter said...

That's a great positive post, Julie, and I love the idea of having a few ready-to-go stories in hand for submitting when rejections, oops, declines arrive. Renewed hope is definitely the best way to get over them.

And my favourite writing quote: There's a word for a writer who never gives up - Published.

Julie P said...

Thanks Diane! How are your beautiful chickens today?! There's a small holding that I pass every morning walking my daughter to school and they have such lovely chickens and ducks waddling about their yard! They also have five horses in the next field and we just have to stop and stroke them all! One's a tiny ginger shetland pony who Isobel adores.

I'm going through more of a poetry stage at the moment and have just had another poem accepted on Poetry Street that will be on there 1st April. I do love that site as I know you do too. Aren't Wrekin Writers just fabulous too?! I wouldn't be writing so much if it wasn't for them. And as for the retreat, well .......!!

Julie P said...

Hi Womagwriter! I totally agree, if you have stories 'out there' there's always hope of acceptance. But if you wait until all the short stories you sent out have come back before submitting more, or if you never send anything out because all your other work has been rej... I mean declined then the only thing that's certain is you won't get published!!

Long may we write - never mind the publication bit - if it happens, good, if it doesn't? Keep writing anyway! Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

Hi Julie

I completely re-iterate Womagwriter's comments and everyone else's positivity. Daydreamers don't get rejected, only real writers get rejected. Therefore, only real writers get published, and you are most definitely a real writer.

Try the useful 'visioning technique'. Get a copy of a magazine that you want to see one of your short stories in and then imagine your short story title on the front cover. It all helps!

Julie P said...

Thanks Simon! It's just so hard sometimes to keep going but we do! You've said many times that the trick is to keep going and I agree. It's all very well people saying they're going to write something and get published, but if they don't sit down and actually do it - it's never going to happen!

You've done exceptionally well,though, and you are an inspiration to us newbies! I do that sometimes - imagine my work in a magazine! It worked with the Link! Maybe I need to think big!Back to the grindstone!