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

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I'm Gobsmacked! If you'll pardon the expression ......

Well. Seeing as I'm in to throwing all caution to the wind at the moment with my writing. I thought I'd better start thinking bigger. I'd been asked by an editor to rework an article I'd sent to them and to be honest, I was feeling deflated about the whole thing. I know I've blogged about how I get once the 'I can't, I can't, I can't' monster descends upon me, and I can't write. Well, it happened with this article and I was seriously thinking I'd got myself into a right pickle with it and I had no idea how I was going to get myself and it right again.

I've been thinking about it all week and it's probably why I've got a headache! But I decided if the editor was willing to give me another chance I owed it to them to give it another go. I was trawling through the Internet, as you do, when searching for inspiration, and I entered 'Authors, Quotes,' into the search engine. I came across a lot of Author websites and one in particular caught my eye. I read through their on-line diary and it was as though an electrical current had been passed through my body and I was jolted out of my lethargy and the brain fog lifted. There were quotes on there that would be perfect for my article!

But then the brain started to mist over again. Was I allowed to lift quotes from the website without falling foul of copy write laws? (I've been reading through a section on law in writing in a book and it's freaked me out.)How did I go about finding out and who could tell me? I sat there and pondered it for a while. Then I noticed a 'contact me' tag at the top of the screen. Dare I? Dare I, a newbie - a relatively unknown writer have the audacity to contact this extremely famous international best selling author and ask their permission to use the quotes? Well, yes, as I've said in previous posts, I have a devil may care attitude at the moment and I did contact them. I regretted it the moment I pressed send, of course and a wave of anxiety passed over me as I chastised myself for my stupidity! But then I consoled myself with the fact that this author wouldn't reply and at best it would be their PR rep if anyone replied at all.

But they did!! And I have their permission. I can't get over the fact that this author (God) has taken the time to read and reply to my email. They didn't have to. They don't know me from Adam and I'm in the wilds of Shropshire.

So the articles back on and I'm feeling a lot more positive, if not quaking in my boots, that I have made contact with such an eminent figure in the literary world. It just goes to show that you shouldn't be afraid to contact these authors. In this instant it was a positive experience and I know I've been lucky. I will always be cautious as I don't want to offend any of them by asking for quotes. But I guess this author thought that it would good publicity for their books and profile - another clipping to add to their file.

Think bigger and run outside your comfort zone and jump up and down on it. I'd recommend doing something completely different than you're used to with your writing. It's certainly been the rocket I needed to reach the stars! If you'll excuse the terrible cliches!

My daughter is going out with my sister, brother-in-law and her cousins today so I have five hours later to write! How brilliant is that?!

As you can tell I'm hyper today and it's only ten am. It's a Sunday morning too, and I haven't even had any caffeine, sugar, or chocolate yet! Perhaps I hadn't better have any!

Julie xx


Simon Whaley said...

Julie, if you don't ask, you don't get!

When I was 14, I wrote to three famous writers - John Sullivan (writer of Only Fools and Horses), Alan Bleasdale (writer of the plays like The Moniculed Mutineer and the Boys from the Blackstuff) and Alan Ayckbourn.

I was absolutely gobsmacked when all three wrote back to me.

That's the trouble - we have a habit of automatically assuming the worst, when in reality, the opposite is quite often what actually happens!

Good luck with the article.

Julie P said...

Thanks, Simon! You'd think I'd have learned not to be so cautious and such a scaredy Cat by now - you've told me often enough to be brave!


Carole Anne Carr said...

Know what you are going through, Julie, and a big hug for sticking with it. I have to face that sort of thing every day, so much so that last week I sent a gift to someone and forgot to change the address and today it arrived on my doorstep! grrrrrrr!
Underneath my bravado, I'm very nervous, but this morning managed to get my books into two more bookshops, and I'm slowly recovering from the ordeal! :-)

Julie P said...

Hi, Carole and thanks. That parcel thing is something I'd do as well! I sent a postcard to myself once!!

Definitely need a strong constitution and ability to climb mountains - no matter how high - and no matter how many obstacles are in the way, or how many times you fall off, you have to keep trying.

Well done on getting your book into two more book shops. You're amazing and and inspiration to us all.

Julie xx

The Buddhist Conservative said...

Run with it girl! The fact that the editor wanted you to rework the article says a lot about what they thought of your work. Editors are responsible to make articles fit into their vision of the publication they are responsible for. It is not a slap but a affirmation that they want your work.

When people become famous, we tend to elevate them to some unreachable level that prevents us from risking making contact. Most of them are human just like us and are happy help. I'm glad you took the risk.

Good luck with the project. Believe that it will turn out just the way you envision it. It will!


Julie P said...

Thanks, Roger. I'm feeling much better about the article now and will be doing my best tomorrow to re-work it. I'll let you know how it goes!

Julie xx

Olivia Ryan said...

Great stuff! :) And the thing is - that 'eminent figure in the literary world' is probably just an ordinary writer like you & me, who happened to get successful before we did (!). So is probably dead chuffed that you approached him/her, just as we would be if it happened to us - right? I was in awe of the more famous members of the RNA when I first joined, but very quickly found out they are all just as friendly and 'normal' as those of us who haven't (yet) made it big - and writers, in general, are very supportive to each other. Well done for taking the bull by the horns!

Carole Anne Carr said...

Hi Julie, sent you an invite to look at LiveJournal, but have had second thoughts about the site...hugs...Carole. xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Olivia! You're quite right, these famous writers are just like us and started out from the beginning like us - well you're a famous writer so I am definitely in awe of you but I know you are approachable and friendly and have been very supportive of me, and others in blog land!

I suppose the author I approached, Neil Gaiman recalls what it was like at the beginning of his career and so had no worries about replying to me.

I'm determined to carry on writing whether I get published or not.
Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Carole.Oh that was you was it?! It came into my spam box entitled Live Journal but because I didn't recognise it I just deleted it! So you think it's not a good site now?

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

It takes some getting used to and I've have to spend the $16 to remove the advertising, but it is the journalling site of the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators, and as I've paid a lot to join that, I shall stick with it. Anyone can post there I believe, and I can set up a friend's page. Once I've rid myself of the annoying elements I'll let you know..hugs....xx