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

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

So What's Stopping You Today?

I've been thinking today about what stops writers from writing. I know there are the day to day obstacles such as work, family, housework, shopping and the like, but there are also reasons that come from within the writer that render them incapable of running their pens across the paper or tapping at their computer: insecurity about their own ability to write publishable material, fear of failure/rejection, feeling that they are wasting their time and could be doing  something more constructive, not having any ideas, their minds going blank as soon as they sit down to write.

I'm sure most writers have difficulties in their lives that stop them from writing and periods in their lives where even though they have the time to write for whatever reason they feel sluggish and deflated and wonder what's the point! We've all been there, haven't we? To a certain extent I've been feeling like this. Now I know my writing time has been reduced due to taking on paid work at school, but there have been times over the last month when I could have written but I didn't.

I've given myself excuses like I've been ill; I'm too tired; I have too much to do; I just can't be bothered; I can't do it. But I know that because I haven't particularly written anything over this period I only have myself to blame when I haven't got anything to try and get published! That's the trouble with being a freelance writer  - it's your call, unless you are writing to a specific deadline. If you want to be published and earn money for your writing you have to be disciplined and focussed. You can't sit there staring mindlessly at the TV just because you don't feel like writing!

I've doing bits and pieces  -  an interview, half a story here, half an article there, writing ideas down, but there's been no adhesion or spark. I seem to be a bit up in the air with my writing at the moment. I know that when I do actually have some substantial time to sit down and write , I will get several pieces finished, polished and submitted. My writing waxes and wanes with the moon, so I know after this relatively quiet period in my writing, I will get busy again.

So I've given myself a good talking to and I have some time tomorrow to finish off some pieces I wrote a year ago  -  two I submitted and were rejected - so I can submit them elsewhere after the bank holiday. I also have two weeks off from school and my husband is off from work, so there will be ample time for me to write. I'm going to finish my NaNo novel  -  I have reduced my final word target to 70,000 words as this seems to be the sensible length for the genre it's in. So, it's completely do-able. Then I can start on the first of many edits!

I still, to my shame and frustration, (but don't forget it's my own fault!)  haven't managed to get any short stories up to scratch to submit. But I know I can do it and I will do it over the Easter holidays. If I want to see my short stories published in the women's magazines then I'm just going to feel the fear, buckle down to it and do it anyway! I won't know if I don't try and neither will you if you don't give it - whatever you want to write - a shot. Yes,  we might get rejected but we might not! You never can tell  - and that should be exciting and motivating, not writer's block, fear inducing!

Good luck
Julie xx


Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

You are always so hard-working with your writing that I think it is absolutely fine to have a little bit of time to let the ideas come again. All work and no play and all that...

You mentioned that you soon going to start editing your novel. Not sure if you have seen Sarah Duncan's recent series of posts on editing on her blog:

Thought it might be of interest to you.


Carole Anne Carr said...

Stopping me? A sore point, I'm going up the wall! I'm desperate to get on with my books but still have the last OU thing to finish and can't begin it until I'm given the OK by the powers that be as it's 'special' being the last. So here I sit, last bit planned, waiting for the 'OFF' and nothing...
How I long to get writing. The finishing line is in sight and the starting pistol refuses to fire!!
Hugs and love... Carole xx

Julie P said...

Hi, David, and thanks! I will visit Sarah Duncan's blog as I could do with all the help I can get, this being my first attempt at writing a novel!

The trouble with me is r=that if I take a break from writing, for whatever reason, I always become uneasy that I won't be able to write again - complete nonsense I know - as I've always managed to get back to it before!

But I feel that if your not in the mood for writing, or you try to write something and it just isn't working then writers should take a break - I'm all for a bit of free writing and making yourself sit and write something, but there comes a point when that becomes counterproductive.

I am feeling much better now and feel I can forge ahead today!

Thanks for your support and comments.


Julie P said...

Oh, Carole, I feel for you, I really do. It's one of the reasons I backed out of doing that course this year - I was worried about the time aspect and the commitment needed with everything else I had going on at the time.

I hope you get the course finished soon and can get back to your books. You put me to shame!

Thanks for the Easter e-card, fantastic!!

Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

Having just completed writing a 70,000-word correspondence course on Time Management (phew!) I do remember writing a little something about procrastination!

I find that I get bogged down in a project, particularly a large one. So whilst I've been writing this course, I haven't been able to do other articles, or short stories, which I find frustrating. That can lead to the loss of the spark. But now I've finished it, already i can feel my spark returning. Completing a big project is like opening the curtains once again and letting in the daylight.

I wonder - if you've cut the wordcount required for your novel to 70,000, is this what is holding you back? You are SO close to reaching that target, would you be better off simply finishing the novel to get it our of your system? You may find that once you have that complete first draft out of the way, your short story and article spark will return!

Good luck!

Julie P said...

I think you might be right, Simon! I need to finish that novel - if nothing else at least I can say I've finished the first draft!

Mind you I think the articles are on hold at the moment due to forces outsie of my control. A lot of the mags I've been published in are saying they are full! So I should use this lull to get on and do some fiction.

I have finished the first draft of teo short stories now (one I wrote this morning before nursery) so I'm looking forward to editing those. Plus Fiction Feast plopped through my door this am so I can read the stories in there and make sure my own are up to standard (as far as possible!) These will be the two I'm sending to you, dear for your valued opinion after Easter!

70,000 word course! My God! Good luck with your new projects.



Suzanne Jones said...

Julie, you're doing so well. Even ill and involved in other things you still manage to get so much writing done.

Best of luck with those short stories.


Julie P said...

Thanks, Suzanne!

I'm almost bck on top form now - just the ears to sort out (can't hear very well due to the last dregs of my cold and wax - yuk!)

Julie xx