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, 28 November 2009

Happy Christmas and may all your writing dreams come true!

With just four weeks to the big day it can be difficult to find the time or the inclination to do your writing. There's the Turkey to order, presents to buy and wrap, cards to write and post, halls to be decked and the Christmas tree to hoist up amongst 101 other things to do. But why not give yourself an early Christmas present for next year and grab some time out of your busy schedule for some writing 'me' time?

If you're frazzled and don't think you can even spend a few minutes thinking about your writing, hear me out. This time of year is a good opportunity to delegate some of the Christmas tasks to someone else in your family and indulge in your favourite activity. I'm not suggesting that you abandon your family and spend the whole of the festive period hiding in a room with your laptop (tempting though that prospect may be!) All I'm saying is that you've worked hard all year on your writing and you deserve some time now to have a little time to devote to your writing.And if the family moan tell them if they don't participate and do the few things that you ask of them they just won't get done: if they want they Xmas tree up then they'll have to put it up etc - tough love!

I know it's too late to submit Christmas stories now, but it's never too late to prepare some for another year. I wrote ten Christmas themed stories over Nov/Dec/Jan 2008 and managed to submit eight of them to various women's magazines in June/July this year. Of the eight I sent out, four came back rejected. I've heard nothing of the fate of the other four so can only take an educated guess that these too have been rejected.

Do I feel sad? disappointed, want to throw my hands up in despair? Well yes, to be honest I felt all of these things. But I also knew that they were the first Christmas themed stories I'd written and in a market that is so competitive I didn't think I'd get any of them published and I was right! (note to self: maybe I need to think more positively next year and I might get what I want for Christmas? Or maybe I'd been wicked all year and got myself on Santa's naughty/bad girl list!)

But, Christmas is once again tapping on our shoulders and it's time to get our note books out and jot down some fresh ideas ready for next year. What I found useful when I was writing the stories last year was the fact that I was totally immersed in Christmas: the stores were dripping with decorations and blaring Christmas music out; there was wall to wall Christmas programmes on TV; my glass was full of mulled wine; and I found it much easier to get into the spirit of Christmas (bah humbug!)

I know I didn't get any of my Christmas themed stories published but that is with the ghost of Christmas past and cannot be changed. If you share the same predicament as me and so badly wanted to get a story published what we can change, however, is our attitude to our stories being rejected. We are now with the ghost of Christmas present. Don't waste this golden opportunity. If you can't sit down and write an entire Christmas story then at least jot a few ideas and observations down while you are in the moment and the festivities are dancing all around us. It's a good excuse to take the weight off your feet and do something for you so that the ghost of Christmas future has hope and opportunity for getting your Christmas stories published next year.

I intend to spend a few evenings with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie doing just that - trying to come up with original stories I can submit next year. I'll also be buying and reading all the Christmas fiction specials to see what sold this year and how I can improve mine for next year.

In my next post I'll be sharing some of my Christmas themed stories I wrote last year and posting excerpts from them for people to comment on and give their honest opinions! I'll also be looking at what makes a good Christmas story from what I've learned this year and how we can maximise our chances of publication next year.

Over the coming weeks I'll be undertaking research, with Olivia Ryan, of the women's mags that carry fiction and we will be posting our findings for you in the hope we can all improve our writing and sculpt our stories to better fit the magazine's remit so that more of us can realise our writing dreams and get published!

Season's greetings and happy Christmas writing!

Julie xx


klahanie said...

Dear Julie,
Ah Christmas, or as you may realise, in my home, it is affectionately known as 'Boxing Day Eve'.
Personally, I find this a very easy time of the year to write. I might even republish my previous Christmas postings. They were great fun to do.
Look forward to you sharing some of your Christmas themed stories. Good luck with your writing endeavours.
Kind wishes and 'ho, ho, ho' :-)
Gary x

Heather P said...

Thanks Julie, even your rejections are encouraging. After all you're still submitting them. It's like whining that you can't win a lottery and then you don't buy a ticket. Hope your Christmas season is full of blessings and surprises.

Julie P said...

Thanks, Heather!
And that's the key to writing success: keep writing and learning from the rejections that you receive so that you do better next time. Whatever you do don't stop!

I'm off to a medieval Christmas fayre today with my family and I'm really looking forward to it.

Happy Christmas

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I love your term boxing day eve, Gary! It all does blend into one in the end doesn't it! We were just discussing the Christmas arrangements between my family yesterday. I quite like Christmas but I don't enjoy it as much as I used to. So I told my sister that I'll have my dad for Christmas lunch but added I might have to fold him in half to fit him in the oven!! Ho Ho No!

Yes, I'll be posting the starts of about four of my Christmas themed stories that were rejected for anyone who's interested to look at!

Julie xx

Doctor FTSE said...

Julie P . . . that's a truly hilarious joke about your Dad! You should be really really ashamed of yourself . . . please can I borrow it , , ,

Best Wishes for the Festive Season

And BTW . . . talking of the New Year . . see the system for car registrations? What happens when we get to 2010? I mean . . it worked fine for single digit years . . .

Olivia Ryan said...

I'm impressed by how many Christmas stories you submitted Julie! I only managed two! (One rejected, one I've heard nothing about ...). Why not start by looking at all of THEM again during the lead-up to Christmas? You could do some changing and editing and submit them all elsewhere next year.

Meanwhile I'm getting ready for my promised market research. I'm particularly going to look at two magazines that I'm not having any luck with. More on my blog over the next few days ...

Julie P said...

Yes, Olivia, I might well look at all of my Xmas Stories again and see if can improve them to send somewhere else next year - I've got a few months to do it!

Commisserations on your near miss and the one you've heard nothing about - that's really annoying isn't it. At least if you get it rejected you know and can move on!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I am suitably remorseful about the dad gag! It's a good job he's a bit deaf and didn't hear me!!


Suzanne Jones said...

Like Olivia, I'm incredibly impressed with your output. I managed one Christmas story this year (and haven't heard anything).

Adore the picuture of your daughter - what a cutie.


Julie P said...

Thanks, Suzanne.

It's so annoying when you don't hear anything back isn't it! In some ways it's worse than getting a rejection letter as you think the editor must have thought that the story was so bad it didn't deserve a reply!!! Stil, there's always next year!

Julie xx

The pic of Isobel was taken at last years Xmas school play - she may look like a choir angel but believe me, she has her moments!

Julie xx