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

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Back To Basics

With the new year just round the corner (in six weeks to be precise - scary thought I know) after I've completed the NaNo challenge, I'll be going through my three spreadsheets that I record my successes and near misses on. I like to know how many pieces of work I've had published, how many were rejected, how many I've recycled, how many rejected ones I've re-edited and sent out again, and how many are still out there awaiting a verdict.

It's the first year I've recorded my outgoings so I will be interested to know how I've done up until now. I already know that my articles have been by far my greatest success because of the 35 or so short stories I've sent out this year I've only had one published! I'll also be taking stock and thinking about where I want my writing to go from here into next year.

I'd like to get more short stories written and published if I can, but in December I'll be going back to basics and reading and analysing the women's magazines to see if I can figure out what it is about the stories they publish that mine haven't got. Once I've done this I'll be writing some - though not as many as I have done or so quickly. I'll send a few out to test the water, so to speak, and see if I can do any better. There's obviously something about my stories that just doesn't appeal to the editors at the moment and they just can't compete with the thousands of other stories the editors get.I'll be sending some to a fellow Wrekin Writer who has agreed to look at them for me too. He helped me with my articles and I hope he can sort my short stories out too. What would we do without writing mentors/buddies? Although I do feel guilty asking for help - I don't know why.

What I have found encouraging this year, however, is the amount of support I've received from fellow writers and bloggers. If I didn't have that I don't think I would have come so far as I had. So thank you for that. I just have to focus and keep writing and keep pushing the Kenneth Williams sound-a-like inner editor out of the way! I might, in fact, keep him tied up in the cupboard under stairs like I had to resort to for NaNo!

Have a think about what you have achieved in your writing life this year and make plans as to where you want to go in 2010. Do it now before the real Christmas rush starts and your mind is distracted by other, more festive concerns. It might help you to regain your focus too and help you to achieve more of your writing dreams next year. You don't have to try and achieve everything on your list, but I know in my case if I didn't write my writing goals down, I wouldn't try and achieve anything! Or I'd lose my concentration and forget what it was that I was trying to do in the first place!! (It's got worse as I've got older).

I'll be posting up my findings from my spread sheets and my writing goals for 2010 in the next couple of weeks so you can follow my progress next year if anyone is remotely interested!

Only 9,500 words of NaNo left now so I'll be concentrating on that for the next week, so happy writing, whatever you're writing about.

Julie xx


Suzanne Jones said...

I'm sure your fellow Wrekin Writer wouldn't have offered to look at your stories if he didn't want to help, so don't feel guilty. That's the wonderful thing I've found with established writers, they're all so eager to advise those further down the food chain.

Happy wrtiting to you, too, Julie - and I'm well impressed with your NaNo progress. (Especailly when some of us still haven't started - blush).

Take care.


Julie P said...

Thanks, Suzanne! Yes I know my fellow Wrekin Writer doesn't mind but I always feel I'm being cheeky by asking for help! They are wonderful though at my writing group.

I am a happy writer at the moment as I've just had some mulled wine (hic!) I can't believe my NaNo progress either. I had to print what I've done so far out and recheck the word count on the computer just in case I'd got it wrong, but I hadn't.

You can catch up though, but who says you have to follow NaNo to the letter! If it takes a little longer who cares? The main thing is that you've committed yourself to write regularly.

Julie xx

David said...

Another great posting Julie. I think you are absolutely right about sitting down before Christmas to think about what has gone well/badly with your writing over the year. I have been doing a bit of this recently too.

I also plan to have a good sort out and a de-junk over the next couple of weeks to make sure that come January 1st I am fully prepared to start the writing year off on the right foot.

It sounds like this year has been a really successful one for you and you should be justifiably proud of yourself - for the short stories you have sent out just as much as the articles and NaNo. It's quite an achievement to have managed to send out 35 stories. Well done you! I'm hoping to up my output this year but think 35 might be beyond me.


Carole Anne Carr said...

Brilliant! Keeping a record I mean, and the almost finished Nano!

Carole xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, David.

I think it's good to keep records because we soon forget how much work we've sent out and it's good for making us realise how much work we have actually done and that, yes, amongst all the near misses, we have had more success than we thought!

I think my output was part of the problem, though. I doubt I'll get 35 short stories out there next year as I need to slow down and try and work out how to write the short stories that editors want. But still - that can be my challenge for 2010.

Best of luck for your writing goals too, David.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Carole.

I was thinking about you the other day. I unfortunately missed your interview on the radio - does the station have a web site where they have a recording I could listen to?

Looking forward to our interview too!

Yes, NaNo is almost over and I just cannot get over how many words I have done already - it's an amazing experience.


Olivia Ryan said...

I agree with Suzanne, Julie - writers in general love to help their fellow writers and there's a wonderful generosity in the writing community, I've found, about support and encouragement of those who need a little help. A far cry from the image some of the public seem to have, of prima donas who jealously guard their own ideas and are afraid of any competition from newcomers! I've just never found that to be the case at all.

I'm impressed by your idea of going back to basics with the short stories - and I'm going to join you! Although I have some success with two or three mags, there are others where I just can't get a foot in the door, and you're right - we need to sit down and analyse what it is they want, that we're not giving them! Let's compare notes when we get started. x

Julie P said...


Yes, I agree, in general other writers amaze me with their generosity and support, but I always feel awkward about asking them for help.

We'll get our notebooks out and compare notes, Olivia! We WILL get our feet in the door - we just Will! I'll be happy to get a story in any of them. But I know I need to do a lot more research and hard work on them to get them anywhere near right.

It's so disheartening when I know I've sent so many stories out there that I thought were better quality than the ones I'd sent before, but still none of them got published - very frustrating, and I know what you and other bloggers/writers have gone/are going through it too, and that's motivating and inspirational. Sally got her pocket novel published for My Weekly (is that the right mag?) and she's had a few short stories and articles published recently and that is encouraging.

NaNo has got me all fired up again and I can't wait to get stuck into my research for the women's mags and getting some short stories out there again.

Best of luck, Olivia and our fellow bloggers/writers. I think we should post the results of our research on our blogs - what do you think, Olivia? Might help others to get published too.
Julie xx