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, 28 December 2009

The End of Year Clearout Has Begun!

And I don't mean the indulging-too-much-over-the-festive-period type of clear out! I mean that I have started to clear out the old writing stuff from 2009 in readiness for the new stuff in 2010. I am ashamed to say that I had allowed my piles to accumulate and grow again since my last clear out. Even though after my last clear out I vowed never again to have piles, but there they were - taunting me! And they were very uncomfortable.

It all came to a head when my daughter and I were in bed one morning. She's taken to climbing into my bed early in the mornings before the alarm goes off and this particular morning she stared at my book case that is against the wall opposite the bed, folded her arms and announced, "you really must tidy up your bookcase, Mummy. It's a mess."

Quite! It was. But it is no longer. I looked at the many, many, many paperbacks I'd picked up at the local fetes in the summer of 2008 (there were about 50 of them) that I'd pledged to read over the year, yet there they were sitting there, covered in dust, unread and unloved. They had to go. They are in a bin bag awaiting a day when I can get them down to the second hand bookshop or the charity shop. It was a little painful but I know I won't read them and someone else will.

I actually found it quite cathartic and liberating in the end. Getting rid of old rubbish that has sat on my shelves far longer than they ought to have is very cleansing, I find. I'm hoping that by decluttering my workspace and the rest of the house, I'll declutter my brain somewhat and let the new ideas through that are squashed between the old never-going-to work writing ideas and trying desperately to squeeze through to the front where they can be seen and heard.

I had loads of old stories I'd cut out of magazines from 2007/2008 and reams of old papers and scribbles and multiple copies of old manuscripts that are now destined for the shredder. Why did I keep them all this time? Why? Why? Why?! I now have all the copies of Take A Break, Fiction Feast, The Weekly News, People's Friend and Woman's Weekly that I collected over last year all in one place, so that I can re-read them, analyse them, and try and make my short stories the same standard.

I have to admit, though, that the negative thought of, 'oh no, here we go again,' has crossed my mind on a few occasions. I mean I've tried so hard to get my short stories published and half of me thinks can I do it? Or am I just wasting my time trying? But then I remember that I did get one published in 2009 and if I buckle down to it and learn from the my research and analysis of the stories that did make it into publication, then I have a better chance of getting mine published than if I just give up.

Does anyone else have a clear out at this time of year? And what are your hopes for your writing in 2010? Have you any specific targets that you're aiming for, or are you just going to play it by ear and see what comes your way?

Julie xx


Suzanne Jones said...

Aw. Children have a way with words, don't they.

Well done on the clearout. I never manage to throw anything away - just move piles of clutter from one place to another (think it must be an illness).


Carole Anne Carr said...

Hi Julie, good to hear that you are 'spring cleaning' a thing I'm very poor at with regard to writing. Hope you are reading our friend Swain, who can give you that precious 'missing ingredient' you are looking for.
As for myself, I suppose I've taken a step in your direction. I've closed down five sites I belong to which needed constant upkeep,and in the coming year I'm going to write!!!! New Year Resolution? Send the next book to the printer by the end of January - wish me luck. :-) Hugs...xx

David said...

Hi Julie,

Yes, like you I have shelves struggling under the weight of books although to be honest I think I often spend too much time reading and not enough time writing.

I also have a large cupboard CRAMMED full of magazines and scribbled notes on exercises I have tried out and then kept what I wrote just in case it had some gem I could possibly use again!

Well done you for having had a good clear out. I hope to have done the same before the start of 2010. Hope your writing goes well next year!


Lynne Hackles said...

I'm clearing out too, Julie, and then I shall perform a cleansing ritual to get rid of any negative vibes that are hanging around.
I'm doing the whole house as we are definitely going to be moving in 2010.

Julie P said...

They certainly do, Suzanne! Out of the mouths of babes, eh?! Still I'm glad of her honesty and chastisement as it's meant I now have a clean and tidy bookshelf.

I'm a hoarder like you and often move my piles of papers and books and whatnot from one side of the room to the other, but my daughter's words hit home and enough was enough!

I don't think I'm cured or anything like that but I feel a lot better now I have some uncluttered space. The next phase in the clear out is to move my 'office' from the corner of the lounge up to my daughter's bedroom whilst moving her into the bigger spare bedroom! I can then keep all my piles in one place!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Carole,

Yes I've read Mr Swaine and I have his 'formula'printed out and attached to my desk so I can remind myself of his suggestions when I'm writing - I've also started to plan my short stories more using his suggestions in the hope I can progress better with them. Thank you for lending me his, and the other books. Most helpful. I will get them back to you soon - as I've nearly finished the others too.

Julie xx

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

Julie P said...

That was one of my problems. David. I used to read my books instead of writing. Or I'd procrastinate by staring at my bookcase, pretending to tidy it!

Like you, I also have lots of magazines I find impossible to throw out! But I have managed to be ruthless and culled some of them so I have less of them now.

I needed to get rid of them as I intend to buy some more in the New Year to study to see if I can pitch anything to them - so my current piles will have to go!

Have a great New Year!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I hope your clearing out is going well, Lynne!

Wht's involved in a cleansing ritual? And do you find them helpful?

I hope the house move goes well in 2010 adnf your writing continues to go well too.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thank you for your kind comments, Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble! I hope all is well with you and good luck.


Simon Whaley said...

A clear out is the only way to find those ideas you wrote on a scrap of paper and then 'filed' somewhere safely, never to be seen again ... until you do the annual New Year clear out. It's what inspires us to continue writing into the New Year! May your clear out reacquaint you with many ideas!

Julie P said...

This is true, Simon! I have unearthed a few notebooks packed with ideas that I intend to follow up next year - only a few days to go until 2020! It's going to be a busy year.

Julie xx

Sue Horder-Mason said...

I'm clearing out too Julie but I can't make up my mind whether it's me that's going or the lads - ummmm

Oh and darling 2020 is the Chairman's Challenge not the new year. The rest of us are going into 2010 but whichever one you opt for have a good one :-)

Loads of love

Sue xx