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

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Fluke?

Last year I had one short story published in That's Life magazine in Australia. I'd had  many, many stories that I sent to all the major women's mags that carry fiction before this rejected. After the initial euphoria of getting a story (my first) published, the frustration and disappointment soon set in again when I got rejection after rejection following that publication. What was I doing wrong? I thought. Why was this particular story accepted but not the others? I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall and it took the shine off the one publication I had. I thought it was a fluke  - a once in a lifetime achievement, never to be repeated.

That's one of the reasons I decided to give the short stories a rest for a while and went on to write articles. I was egged on and helped by a fellow writing colleague and with his support I managed to go on and get many articles published in magazines I never dreamed I would. Me? Julie Phillips with articles in a major county glossy magazine, Writers' Forum, Writing Magazine and Writers' News  -  don't make me laugh! But it happened.

It was then that I started thinking about going back to the short story writing and trying to get them published again. I was nervous about it, the thought that I was wasting my time stayed in the back of my mind and prevented me from writing short stories for many months. However, a month ago I took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and wrote a couple of short stories and sent them to the same chap who had helped me with the articles. This was not an easy thing for me to do as I was painfully squeamish about letting him (anyone) see my stories because he's an excellent writer and I was afraid I would embarrass myself and him with my pathetic attempts at short story writing! Luckily he didn't laugh in my face,  (might have been difficult for him to do that over the Internet!) He have me valuable constructive advice which I gladly took.

I edited my stories and made some suggested changes and sent one off to The Weekly News and the other to That's Life in Australia. Then I waited. And I waited......... I waited some more. Well that's that, I thought, rejected again. Disappointed and demotivated  doesn't come close to how I felt. Here we go again I thought  -  how many more stories have I got to write and get rejected before I hit the mark again. Maybe the first story was just a fluke?

That was until I received an e-mail from Australia this afternoon. That's Life had accepted one of my stories! Wooh Hooh! Instant motivation booster. And it's put paid to my fluke theory. Here I am, 11 months after my first short story was published and I got another one in the same magazine -  thank you Australia!

My goal now is to get one in a magazine that is sold in this country  -  might take me another 11 months but I'll get there. Just goes to show that it pays to persist. Try taking a break (pardon the pun) from writing short stories for a while and then going back to it. Ask a reader to look at your stories, one who has had the kind of short stories you write published  -  it worked for me! Cheers Simon!

Julie xx

34 comments:

Suzanne Jones said...

Wooh Hooh, indeed.

Huge congratulations, Julie. I'm so, so pleased.


XX

Milton said...

Julie, congrats!!! and you are inspiration indeed Missus!

Looking forward to our analysis of TAB.

Milt xx

Milton said...

Julie, inspiration indeed missus!! Good for you :) And the Muttie woman is so looking forward to your break down of er, Take a Break Feature Fiction.

Milt xx

Sue Horder-Mason said...

Julie it's not a fluke, it's about you taking the time to learn your craft, studying, listening and taking advice also your ability as a creative writer to use those skills plus your imagination.

Well done, I'm thrilled for you.

Sue xx

klahanie said...

Hi Julie,
Well done and a double 'Wooh Hooh' from me:-)
Got to love those Australians. Now then, here's to you getting one in a magazine in Britain.
Happy writing, Julie. Kind wishes, Gary x

Milton said...

Well done missus!! Really looking forward to your short story ctitique. Milt xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

I'm so glad you are fighting and winning, Julie. A big well done!!!
Hugs and love, xxx

Diane Perry said...

Oh fantastic Julie! I am thrilled for you as this is the market you really want to crack. You must share this one in the writing forum so we can see what does work!
Congratulations!
Di
xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Suzanne! It's really boosted my confidence again and I'm looking forward to writing more short stories.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thank you Milton!

I'm working on my post for one of the stories in TAB Fiction Feast now. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's too!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Sue and thank you too!

It shows that by taking the time to read the markets and learning how to use your writing ability to its best advantage, plus not being afraid to ask for help when you need it, it can be done!

I know it might take me more time to get another one published but at least I know I'm on the right track. I also now appreciate more that this many rejections followed by a success followed by many more rejections is a normal pattern for writers and is nothing to be feared or worried about.

It wasn't a fluke (of which I was really, really worried it was!) And I can now keep trying again until I get another one published - as I said, it might take some time again but I'm not going to give up!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Khalanie!

How are the wee folks today? I hope they can send me some of their fairy and elf magic over so I can get a story published in a British mag.

Although to be fair, I have only sent one out to the British mags recently - I'd better get a move on and submit a couple more!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thank you Carole!

It's been a struggle for me and I'm sure it will continue to be so - if it wasn't for friends such as yourself I think I would have gone stir-crazy by now! I knoe you know what I mean!

I find I have so many writing projects I want to start and complete that my minds like a little butterfly, flitting here and there. I'm trying to calm it down and I'm finding the work I do at the school is having a grounding effect and giving me some order in all of this!

How's your latest book project going? I've lost count and track of which book you're on now!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Di!

Thanks. Yes I'll certainly post the story up. What I'll do is wait until it's published and then post up the story I sent to them and the finished version that was actually published - there is a difference, and it's an interesting exercise to see what they've changed etc. It helps to write your stories better to increase your chance of publication if you can learn from the editor what they like.

It's funny but both stories I've had in That's life have been about chickens in one way or another!! I have your girls to thank for that! But I don't think they'd want to read the latest one - best not to upset them - and me a vegetarian!

I'd love some chickens of my own but there's a rule written in by the developers/builders of this estate that we're not allowed them!One day I will live in a house where I can have some!! I can't stand the thought of all those battery hens shoved in cages so I'd want to liberate them ito a life of freedom so they can scratch and cluck in the garden to their heart's content.

I can feel another chicken inspired story coming on! I wonder if I'll be known in Australia as The 'Chuck' lady?!
Julie xx

Martin H. said...

Nice one, Julie. Here's to the next one!

Elizabeth McKay said...

Well done, Julie. You've worked so hard, and you've always remained positive, you deserve this. Exciting, isn't it!

Julie P said...

Thanks Martin - lets hope we all have some more good news soon too!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Elizabeth, and thank you. It is so hard to get a short story published but I'm glad I stuck with it.

It was just the positive news I needed yesterday!

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

Hi Julie,

Do check out my blog, The Mouth of Truth, you'll need to scroll down.
Hugs xx

Julie P said...

Have had a look, Carole. Thank you! I love the photo of the mouth of truth!

I've not been feeling well - chest infection and sinusitis so I'll catch up blogging soon.

Julie xx

HelenMHunt said...

Well done. That's brilliant news!

Julie P said...

Thanks, Helen! Still can't believe it.

Julie xx

jenny wilson said...

Congratulationns! I love your blg enteries, Ive just writte my 1st ever short storyx

Julie P said...

Hi, Jenny and thank you! And congratulations to you foe completing your first ever short story - that's quite an achievement in itself and may it be the first of many!

Julie xx

Susan Wright said...

HI Julie.

You so deserve this sale. I've been reading your blog for a while now and you've worked very hard analysing stories and trying to get them just right. I'm sure you're going to be selling lots more stories in the future.

I also sold one to Aus this week. Was yours to the weekly mag or the quarterly one? Maybe we'll be in the same magazine. It's soo exciting when the contributor's copy comes from Australis, isn't it?

Anyway, keep on writing. The more stories you have out there, the less you think about the fate of each one, and the quicker the time goes by waiting to hear about each individual story.

Julie P said...

Hi, Susan. Welcome and thank you. My sale was to the weekly mag and I didn't automatically get a contributor copy last time, I had to ask for one! It was my first ever published short story and I wanted to see it in print!

I'm working on three other short stories now so I'm hoping to send them out soon. Got to keep on trying haven't you!

Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

All the best things in life come to those who wait!

Well done!

Simon

Olivia Ryan said...

Oh - I'm SO glad I've logged onto Blogger today, Julie (at last!) - I'm so pleased to read your good news! Fantastic,I knew you would do it again soon! Here's to the next one! xx

womagwriter said...

Well done Julie! Try sending the stories published in Australia to a UK mag - My Weekly if they fit the requirements or TAB?

Julie P said...

Thank you Simon - it's all your fault Pinny man!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Olivia and welcome back! I still can't believe it. Yes, let's hope I can do it again now (I hope it won't be another year between them this time!)

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Many thanks, Womag! I'm still on a high with a pinch of disbelief! I sent the story I had published in Australia last year to TAB and they rejected it! But I'm going to give it a go with this one as soon as the time limit is up - it will wing its way there asap!

Let's hope I manage to get another one in somewhere soon!

Julie xx

David said...

That is fantastic news Julie - and very well deserved. Can't wait for you to get one in a UK mag too so I can get my mitts on it! Congratulations!!!

X

Julie P said...

Ta, David! You'll know when I get one in a UK mag as you'll hear my scream across the UK!!

Julie xx