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, 7 November 2009

One week down

My NaNo progress is going well at the moment and despite my early reservations and difficulties I've managed to reach and maintain quite a respectable word count.Of that I am really proud. It's been interesting for me to go on the NaNo web site as well as look at other blogger's postings in Blog land to check their progress and see how they are coping with the highs and lows of this crazy concept of trying to write part of a novel (50,000 words in 30 days.)

So far, I've found it to be a liberating experience. I don't have to worry about spelling mistakes or problems with grammar.I am free to write what I want in a way I want, when I want! Because I hadn't really planned what I was going to write before I started, it's been a revelation for me, who has been working so hard to write the kinds of short stories and articles/features editors want, and suddenly I'm writing whatever I please and it's bracing! It's like standing on a beach on a windy day. It's definitely blowing a few of my cobwebs away!

I'm happy with where the story is going and I've found that as I write it, other ideas and characters are joining in on the fun and the novel is taking shape quite well, considering it's my first attempt and I'm writing on the hoof, so to speak - flying by the seat of my pants! I would recommend anyone to try it. It doesn't have to be a 30 day, 50,000 word marathon, but it's working for me.

The only trouble I've had really so far, is when I couldn't get the wretched NaNo Word Counter on my blog to show you my progress. I also couldn't write anything for my NaNo novel due to other commitments for the first couple of days which I found incredibly frustrating. I also have to make sure that I force myself to sit and write everyday. I have to stop myself from thinking too much, push the, 'You can't do it. You have no idea what you're doing. It's all a load of c**p,' out of my mind because if I let those thoughts get a grip in my brain, it's game over and the BLOCK begins! So as long as as soon as I switch my computer on and start typing, and ignore my inner critic, I'm okay.

I'm averaging between 500 and 2000 words a day, so I am a little behind at the moment and probably have another 2000 words to write before tomorrow so I'll be back on track and can start next week without having to play the catch up game.

But it's certainly a ride! I hate fairground rides, particularly ones with loud music and flashing lights. I get migraines and things like flashing lights, loud music and lots of people moving around in different directions in front of me usually set me off and I get zigzag lines across one side of my vision, dizziness, nausea, and sometimes, more frighteningly, pins and needles and occasionally numbness in one side of my face, one of my hands and feet. Anyone who has this type of migraine will know what I mean. So when one of them comes on I'm scuppered for a few hours. But NaNo is one fairground ride I can cope with and it's exhilarating. I mean I'm motivated and enthusiastic about writing at the best of times but now I'm bouncing away on my literary space hopper like a mad woman!

On the not-so-bouncy side, it's all gone eerily and worryingly quiet on the replies back from the editors I've sent submissions and proposals to. In fact, I saw a tumble weed go across my computer screen and the postman has a smile on his face (not because there are to be no more strikes in the immediate future, but he's not had to lug his own weight in my rejection letters and returned manuscripts for a few weeks!) So I'm feeling unnerved by this. Is my writing career over before it's really had chance to get started?

I haven't written or sent out any more short stories for about a month now. I sort of came to a standstill on them because a good majority of the twenty or so I sent out on the last batch have come back rejected. Having a constant flow of rejected stories coming back like that has a sort of water on stone effect and over time it wears the stone down and I think this is what has happened to me.

I feel that I've gone as far as I can on the short story side of my writing at the moment. I've taken all the advice I can, read lots of books/magazine articles on the subject, read all the women's mags that take fiction known to man, and still my short stories just aren't working. I've been trying to get them published for a couple of years now and have only had one accepted out of the 50 or so I've sent out. The truth is that I'm not all that sad about it anymore. I think I've resigned myself to the fact that maybe I'm just not a good enough short story writer to make it to regular publication.

Had it been just one magazine rejecting my work, I probably would have continued, but it's not. It's all of them saying, "Thank you, but no thank you," and I have to be realistic about it and take my writing in a different direction where I know I can published and get paid for my work - articles and features. I may well return to the short story writing at a later stage and have another bash at it. But I feel I am just banging my head against a brick wall with the women's magazines and all I have to show for it is a whacking headache and a draw full of returned manuscripts!

Next week I will be mostly NaNo-ing! (Do you remember the Fast Show?!) But I'm also waiting for various editors (Writers' Forum, Writing Magazine, Growing Business, NODA, Countryfile, Country and Border Life, The New Writer, Freelance Market News), to get back to me on various articles I have either sent, or proposed to them (proposed articles, not marriage!). The waiting game again - the part of writing I hate!

But the main thing is that I have got my work out there. Even if it's a "no" from some of them (please, God, not all of them!) I know I can get the articles accepted so I just have to keep pushing forward with that.

Well done to Womag writers, Helen M Hunt, Sally Quilford, and I'm sure there was someone else in there from Blog Land but please forgive me as I can't recall who, all have their articles in The New Writer this month. Congratulations to you all. All of their blogs are truly inspirational and it's great to see so many names I recognise in these magazines. Not only does it make me feel very proud of 'our' bloggers, but it also gives me, and countless other writers, hope and encourages us to have a go and keep trying. So thank you one and all.

I am now going to sit - no - lie on the sofa, with a steaming cup of hot coffee and peruse The New Writer from cover to cover at my leisure. Ah the joys of research eh?!

Take care and happy writing - COME ON YOU NANO-ERS! The next challenge is to see how many Bloggers from Blog Land we can get into one issue of a magazine! The gauntlet has been dropped guys and girls!

Julie xx

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