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

Monday, 20 April 2009

Those pre posting nerves

You've finished your short story/novel/article/poem. You've edited it to within an inch of its life. You've read and re-read the submission guidelines ten times already and the words are blurring into one big, indecipherable blurb on the page. You've read the target magazine, or books your target publisher/agent publishes. You're ready to go! Or are you?

You walk (if you don't drive, or you do drive and you want to be good and get some exercise/save the polar bears, and you actually have a post office within walking distance) to the post office/box, clutching the envelope containing your lovely manuscript. You walk, nay skip to the post box with love in your heart already visualising your novel/short story/poem/article in print, and literally fling the envelope into the box. Or do you?

You haven't got a stamp and are unsure of the weight of your manuscript so you have to venture inside the post office. Oh horrors - it's packed out. All these terrible, clumsy people will crush my poor manuscript and it shall be ruined - you cry out and swoon in classic costume drama style. Oh the things writers have to contend with - is is any wonder we writers are all slightly unhinged?

The post lady glares at you as you saunter in. Oh no, it's you again shines in her eyes as she gives you a weak smile. The one who fancies herself as a bit of a writer! So your manuscript is weighed and measured and stamped. You turn to take it out to the post box yourself, but no! 'I'll take that my dear' she says in a Little Red Hiding Hood - 'all the better to eat you with' wolf voice.
You'd rather take it out to the box yourself - not that you don't trust the post lady with your precious baby, but you'd rather put your manuscript in the box yourself. You'll know it definately went in then. We writers are so finickity aren't we?

The post lady grabs the other end of your manuscript and you both stand there, her the other side of the plastic barrier - you have the advantage as you are closer to the door. But if one of you doesn't let go the manuscript shall tear! You glare at each other, eyebrows twitching - is that an old match stick she'd twirling around in her mouth?
The silence echoes around the post office - the crowds have dispersed. 'Save yourselves, women and children first.'

The door swings open. She looks up. You never can tell who might be coming through the door at my local shop/post office - they've been held at knife point/gun point three times over the last couple of years! (See, it is a dangerous job being a writer!)It ain't like Postman Pat in the real world you know. I can see the headlines now - Local Writer Apprehends Robber By Lobbing A Tin Of Heinz Tomato Soup At His Head! It's the postman himself - so whilst the post lady is distracted (Now there's an idea for a short story- Unrequited love between the post man and post office lady!) you grab your manuscript and hand it to the man who can. Job done. The post lady and post man are gazing lovingly into each other's eyes (well in your story they are) so they're happy
And so are you - Or are you?

All the way home questions and doubts tear at your mind. Did I find and eliminate all the typos?did I put a SAE in? Did I follow the guidelines to the letter? Will it get there before the deadline?Will the editor laugh a lot and tell me never to send anything in ever again?
Oh my sausage, what have I done? You wail, frightening the neighbours as you hurtle back to your house, pulling your hair out.

Too late now. And you've actually done something that a lot of writers never pluck up the courage to do; you've sent a piece of your writing off into the big wide world - well done. Now calm down, give yourself a pat on the back, take some time to recover, and then get back to your computer or note book and pen and write something new, or finish off something you're halfway through. Do not, under any circumstances, sit there waiting for a reply to come. You could be waiting for weeks, months, or you may hear nothing. Keep writing and sending stuff out, so if your work is declined you always have something else out there that may get accepted next time.

Yes it is hairy and scary, and it's hard work - but worth it in the end!

Happy writing! Julie xx

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