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, 6 April 2010

April's Short Story Frenzy: day 1

I've had a good productive day today. As you know, after Suzanne Jones's success with her short story hits following her February Frenzy, I thought I'd take a leaf out of her book and declare April my short story frenzy!  Today was the first day in ages I've actually had most of the day to devote entirely to my writing and I got off to a good start by editing a poem for a competition (yes I know I'm supposed to be concentrating my efforts on short stories, but this comp closes soon and as I'd already entered a short story, I thought I may as well try the poem category while I was at it too!)

Then I finally send a short story off to a reader who came back with a prompt reply, for which I'm grateful for. The comments were fair and it's given me something to focus on and some pointers I can use to improve it before submitting it. I'd recommend sending your short stories to a reader before submitting it to a magazine editor as the reader, as long as they have some writing credentials or experience behind them and have been published in the style of writing you do. I've never done it before  - partly due to my own embarrassment and pride. But I actually found it quite cathartic and has helped me to get out of this rut and fear of submitting stories! Don't be precious or nervous about having your work read because that won't help you to get published. I wish I'd done it last year when I was struggling - I might have done a lot better, who knows. So be kind to yourself and your writing and just do it!

It's important you chose a reader who also writes and won't pay you lip service. If the writing, in their opinion, is not up to scratch and they've had short stories published in the mags you want to be, then listen to them and make the changes they suggest. This is what I have done, and I'll let you know how I get on when I've subbed it! On the advice of my reader I've gone for the Australian market again. It might be accepted, it might not. But the advice I got won't go to waste and I'll employ some of the reader's observations about my writing in my future stories. I have a couple more short stories I'm going to run by the reader later this week and they will be subbed - if appropriate  - next week.

I also posted an article I've been revamping, on the advice of an editor, I've been working on for far too long, today. That was a great feeling! It's as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Apart from the articles I need to do for the journalism course, that will be the last article I'll be working on for a while.

Hope you have all had a productive writing time, or will be able to soon. I certainly feel a lot better today about my writing, having had the time to get a couple of projects well on their way to completion. It pays to be determined and motivated to just sit down and get the writing done - the housework/TV/FaceBook can wait!

Julie xx


Bethany Mason said...

Glad to hear you're out of the unmotivated rut that you were having such a hard time with. My writing is going well at the moment but am having to take it slow due to health issues, but still very optimistic for the next few weeks as I am on Easter break so can work the schedule literally any way I want.

Diane Perry said...

I agree Julie, I sent one of my stories off to a reader too and their comments were so useful, they were honest about the childrens book market at the moment but still encouraged me to work on it. I'ts out there at the moment so will let you know how I get on.
Good luck with your April frenzy!

Mike said...

Have you ever thought of running a writing course? You're good at it.

Mike xx

P.S. Do you find that the check letters you have to type sometimes almost spell a rude word? I guess there's some sort of filter...

Julie P said...

Hi, Bethany

Sorry to hear that your health problems are slowing your writing efforts down. I do hope your health with improve soon.

That's what I like about the Easter break! As I only work term time it's been a revelation and joy for me to just have time to write properly. Plus as my husnabd is off he gets to have some quality time with our daughter while I write, so it's worked out well.

Good luck with your writing endeavours.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Yes, I hope your children's book does well, Di. And I'm sure having a reader has improved the book - I know my short story is better for it.

Good luck with your book - at least you are realistic and know the market is difficult. But a great book is a great book!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Mike and thank you!

I don't think the world is ready for me to try and teach them how to write as I can barely do it myself!!

I might consider it when I've got a few more things published and people actually know who it is that is doing the course - an odd workshop or two would probably do me the world of good to do as I'm not the world's best or most confident public speaker. I could do with the practice. Maybe do one for Wrekin Writers? Best to get heckled by people you know and love than complete strangers!

We'll see!

Yes the verification words do sometimes seem a bit rude don't they! Bloggers little joke I think!

I like to try and make up meanings for the words - it's very entertaining!

Julie xx

Suzanne Jones said...

Yay, Julie - go for it.

And I think the idea of you running workshops is great.


Suzanne Jones said...

Hi Julie - I've just tagged you - more details on my blog.