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, 18 January 2010

Guilty Pleasures

I'm feeling ever so naughty. I've done something and I'm afraid I'll be found out. I promised myself that I wouldn't do it, that I'd resist at all cost. But I am weak and failed miserably. The temptation was too great and I am having to stand up and shout, my name is Julie Phillips and I'm a book addict!

Having just bolstered my self up and done the right thing in my book addiction recovery by clearing my shelves of too many unread second hand novels (I am too ashamed to say how many) I have just gone and spent my book voucher I got for having the 'winning letter' in a magazine for governors. I know it was true that I had won - even though I still haven't seen a copy - now as I've had confirmation from the magazine itself and have indeed recieved and used the voucher.

But, in my defence, most of the books I've ordered are for 'work' purposes. I've coveted a big Collins dictionary and thesaurus for ages so ordered them. Then I added one of those writing market books, and the new Sue Moorcroft book about writing erotic and romantic fiction to which Suzanne Jones and myself contributed questions to. Then I allowed myself to order the past two Patricia Cornwell novels featuring Scarpetta - I have read the entire series apart from these two so I can't let my favourite author down now can I?!

Trouble is, I definitely feel guilty now for my extravagance! I know I won the voucher and we don't get many treats in this life do we. The books won't be dispatched until mid/end Feb though, which has made me a bit glum, but it's something to look forward to and I know they may come sooner. I've been waiting four months to put my order in for some of them, so a few more weeks won't make much difference. It was such a surprise to get the voucher and be able to order them and pay for them with that instead of saving up for them.

I'm now saving up for a computer and my recent payment from Writers' Forum and the money I earn from my new lunch time supervisor job will help with that. And I hope that a few more of my articles and (I treble hope) short stories will be published soon. Which reminds me I must get going on that - I've got a few new ideas for short stories and I'm also reading the recent issues of some of the women's mags to get myself in the mood. I'm concentrating on Take A Break, That's Life (Australia ) and The Weekly News at the moment. I think one of my mistakes last time when I was sending stories out was that I was running around like a headless chicken (sorry Di) trying too hard to throw my short stories out at all the magazines. I think it may be more sensible to target just a couple who take similar stories and then move on to the others. This, alongside my recent close research I did of these magazines, might help me get a few more hits.

I know the competition out there is unbelievably tough and that the markets have reduced somewhat. Many editors are probably hedging their bets by mostly using stories from writers they have published many times before and are a 'safe' bet - but I have also seen a few new names out there, and that's encouraging. It's far better going into this business with our eyes open, knowing the risks and what we're up against than being blinkered and disappointed when we don't get our stories published. It's hard to get our stories published - probably moreso at the moment - so anyone who does manage it should be celebrated as it's a wonderful achievement. And those of us still trying should read the stories that make it through and learn from. There are also lots of blogs out there from those whose short stories are regularly published, so visit these and learn from them too.

Most importantly don't give up trying and never give up hope.

Best of luck everyone

Julie xx


Anonymous said...

Julie, you have nothing to feel guilty about. You earned your vouchers. Enjoy!

Julie P said...


I think it's just that I'm not used to spending that much at Amazon! It was good fun browsing and seeing my wish list disappear - will have to make a new one now.

Julie xx

Suzanne Jones said...

I agree with Anonymous - enjoy your books.


Julie P said...

Hi, Suzanne!

I can't wait for them to come - I think the guilt thing is a woman thing. We're used to taking care of everyone and everything else but useless at thinking of ourselves!

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

Once a book addict, always a book addict, wear the badge with pride! xx

Diane Perry said...

So glad you are enjoying your vouchers Julie and you are putting them to good use too.

Mike said...

You ladies haven't got a monopoly on guilt, you know! Though if you've got more reason for it, that's up to you...
Worse would have been to waste your vouchers. Now you know the results will be appreciated, and it's great to have something to look forward to. At least half the pleasure is in the anticipation.
Julie, you deserve success and the rewards it brings.

Mike xx

Julie P said...

Say it loud and proud, Carole! We love books! I'm going to have to get a bigger book case. Mind you, just after I'd cleared my shelves my Aunt rang to see if I had any novels going spare. She's an avid reader too - so I know where some of the books I discarded will be going!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I know men deel guilty sometimes too - but I think some women do have a lot more to feel guilty about! It's ingrained in us from an early age!

Can't wait for the books to come now - I need something new to read.All the excitement has fired my imagination up again so getting lots more ideas!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Di!

You'll hear the shrieks from your neck of the woods when they arrive on my doorstep!!

Julie xx

Olivia Ryan said...

I don't think buying books is ever an extravagance for a writer, Julie. xx And as you say, it's right that you spend your winning voucher on something you really want.

You're right, too, that the short story market is very tough now - and that it's best to acknowledge that and understand what we're all up against. It's like going into battle wearing armour! But supported by comrades: that's the important thing. Good luck with your submissions this year.

Pinkerbell said...

Good luck with all the stories and publications. I'm sure you'll get somewhere with those, sounds like you've been doing well.

I don't think you should feel guilty about buying those books. It would have been rude not to spend your voucher on books really, that's what was intended. Those are like free books really, in fact they don't even count to be honest...

Julie P said...

Thanks, Olivia!

It is like going into battle and you need some sturdy armour to deflect all those arrows of rejection!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

It would have been rude, Pinkerbell, you're quite right. I had forgotten that 'free' books don't count towards the quota!

Julie xx

Sue Ross said...

You sound a bit more disciplined than I am Julie.
I could set up my own bookshop with my "How to" books.
Funny thing is, I never have time to read them.
I'd like a week away that I can dedicate to using them.
(But it does seem like a looong time to wait.)

Julie P said...

They came yesterday, Sue! I was surprised but delighted! I think Amazon overestimated the time! I have started to read the Patricia Cornwell novel - I find a good old murder book helps to get me off to sleep!!

I've also had a flick through the Writer's Market book - fatastic, and just what I needed to kick start my flagging enthusiasm. My cold seems to be abating too which is helping.

Julie xx