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

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Hello, my name is Julie and I'm a .........

I often wonder why I came late to writing. Given all the choices and opportunities that I have had all of my life, what made me choose not to write until a few years ago? I started writing in 2007 by doing an Open University Creative Writing Course. From then on I was hooked! So what is it that made me switch career in my late 30's? It's a question I can't really answer as I truthfully don't know.

I had written bits and bobs as a child and teenager. I can even remember submitting two stories to people's Friend at the grand old age of 18! They rejected my stories then and they're still rejecting them now  -  no change there then. Granted I haven't submitted to them for a while now, but I'm on the case. Somewhere between the ages of 18 and 37 I went off writing and started to pursue other avenues. Was it wanting to please my family that made me go into nursing? It's a very respectable career, after all. Or was I actually so naive that I thought I could make a difference as a nurse? Well it took me a good 15 years to realise that I couldn't! But that's another story.

Once I started writing again I didn't want to stop and it dawned on me that, actually, I didn't want to be a nurse any more - I wanted to be a writer. But I didn't know how to go about it. Doing the writing course and joining a writing group helped me no end to figure out that I could do this writing thing and what kind of writer I wanted to be, and now here I am almost four years on since I made that decision and I feel I'm at a crossroads again.

I've had some success with being published on the poetry, short story and article front but I'm still not anywhere near where I want to be with my writing. I very much feel I'm in a now or never situation. Before, I used to treat my writing as a bit of a hobby. I didn't take it that seriously - I had, after all, an important nursing job to do. I already had a job and didn't need another one thank you very much. But once the writing bug bit deeper I found that, yes, I did want to be a full time writer but I wasn't sure that I had the necessary skills to be published and make money from it.

I'm glad I made the choice to become a writer, and for me I know it was the right thing to do. But part of me can't help but whine (don't shoot me for saying this!) that I won't be a proper writer until I get a book published. Well, here I am with two part finished NaNo novels and and now a third book I have recently finished the first draft of for children (a completely new venture for me!) I am, of course, excited that I have got as far as I have with these books, but a part of me is suspicious that I am becoming a never-finishes- anything  writer. I live on starting off new writing projects but I think, until recently, I lacked the discipline and tenacity to edit those books to a publishable standard. 

That was until now. To be fair to the amount of work I've put into these books I'm going to see them through to the bitter end, one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter at a time. I never thought I even had one book in me, let alone three! But there you go; you never know what you are capable of until you try. So my summer days, when I'm not off elsewhere, are going to be filled with editing my books. Will I end up with anything that might catch the eye of an editor or publisher? I don't know. But I'm going to give it a try. Maybe if I edit I'll have the nerve to stand up and say to the world, 'Hello, my name is Julie and I am an unpublished novelist.'

I am under no impression that getting a novel pubished is going to be easy. I know how difficult it is and I know far more manuscripts are rejected than books are actually published. But, call me mad if you will, I still want to try. Is this a recognised illness do you think? Or just human nature?!

Don't leave your writing projects/writing dreams in Never Land: work towards making them a reality now. If you don't try then you will never know what could have been. One thing all published authors have in common is that they didn't give up. The carried on writing regardless of the odds and the rejections. Are you going to give up and give up the chance of being published or are you coming on the journey with me?

Happy writing

Julie xx


Julie said...

This was a really inspiring post for me, I can totally relate! I came late to the writing party as well, I'm 42 and I'm just now getting serious about it. I'm not giving up either, and I wish you well on the journey. We can do it! :)

Julie P said...

Hi, Julie.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who started writing late! Better late than never, though, eh? We certainly can do it! Welcome aboard the journey.

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

You're just a spring chicken. It's not late for me, so it can't possibly be too late for you. :0)

Martin H. said...

Was it Henry Miller who said that most writers produce their best work after they've passed their 40th year? I'm guessing he was making reference to life experience, the greatest reference library of all.

Julie P said...

Hi, Carole Anne,

You're doing brilliantly with all of your books and you always seem to have more in the pipeline. You're definitely a writing force to be reckoned with! Great motivator too for me, thank you.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I've found that since hitting 40, Martin, I've become more comfortable with who I am. I've been me for 40 years now and it's done me no harm so I must be okay!

I think you're right about life experience too as was Henry Miller. So many experiences and a lot of knowledge to dip into. Having more time to write is a bonus too, as is that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to get a grip and get that writing done while you can. Not being morbid but we never know when the man in black with his scythe is coming either ;0) Best get the writing out of our system before then I think!

Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

Sometimes you need to have experienced some life first, before you can write about it. Those years between 18 and 37 were not 'wasted writing years' but 'living in preparation for writing' years.


Julie P said...

It's really interesting to hit 40 and look back at just what you have achieved in your life - plenty of fodder for writing!Here's to the next 40 years!

Julie xx