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

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Why Do We Do It?

Since I started writing in 2007 I've been fascinated by why writers write. I know there are many reasons: pleasure, money, therapy, part of their work, their sole occupation, etc, and I think I write for probably all of those reasons, depending what mood I'm in and what I'm writing. Writing is not for the feint hearted. I think if anyone had told me how many short stories I would get rejected before I got one published, I'm not sure I would have started writing them!

What qualities do I think writers need? Well it depends on what they are writing I guess, but the qualities that have seen me through are: determination, a thick skin, perseverance, a vivid imagination, the ability to think laterally, nosiness, an inquiring mind, taking notice of what is going on around me and adaptability. That's quite a list!

I've been thinking about this as I had three short stories rejected this week, which in the grand scheme of things is peanuts really. Writing short stories is definitely a numbers game: the more you write them the better your writing skills become as you become more aware of what works and what doesn't. The more you submit, the more likely you are to get one published. There's always the writer who has had their first or second short story published, but that's a rarity - for most of us it takes many, many attempts.

My writing goals for this week are to edit the six stories I've written over the past few weeks and get them subbed. I still have 12 stories out there waiting to learn their fate but I could do with getting some more out there. What I've been doing, and will continue to do, is study the short stories that have been published in the women's magazines recently and use these as a template to my own. Taking note of dialogue, tone, style, word count, theme, etc, I'll be teasing out my short story ideas and see which story, with some tweaking, will fit into which magazine's format. When I get an idea for a short story now, I find myself thinking in terms of which magazine the idea suits best - this cuts down on time and effort wasting when it comes to submitting them. If you can keep your target magazine in mind from idea conception through to the editing process and to the final story you submit it saves a lot of trouble and might just increase your success rate.

Happy writing!



sallyjenkins said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sallyjenkins said...

Good Luck with all the stories, Julie. I wish I had 12 of them out there!
I've come to the conclusion that it's much easier to get articles published than fiction (because there are so many more markets that take articles) but I think it's writing stories that makes me feel like a 'real' writer.

Simon Whaley said...

We do it because, if we didn't, we'd go mad!

Julie P said...

Hi, Sally!

I know what you mean about writing stories! I go through phases of prefering article writing to story writing and vice versa. As long as I'm writing something I'm happy!

Now, if there were more hours in the day and I could write lots more I'd be even happier!!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I think we're already mad, though, Simon, for wanting to write in the first place!!

Julie xx

Olivia Ryan said...

Hi Julie. I was sorry to hear about your 3 rejections. You're an inspiration the way you always plough on, learning from what has been rejected - but 3 at a time is always tough. x

Regarding why we write: personally I don't think there can be any sensible answer other than 'for pleasure'. Of course, it's great if we can earn some money from it but if we start out with that ambition a lot of us would be disappointed! And anyway, I'd carry on writing even if I never got anything else published - wouldn't most of us? If I was ever successful enough to completely earn a living from writing and began to think of it as just another job, I think that would be sad.

Suzanne Jones said...

That's a good question, Julie. Personally, I think it's an illness.

Hugs for the Rs. But keeping fingers crossed for those still out there.


Carole Anne Carr said...

Thanks for letting me know, Julie, I didn't see it. So pleased you like the blog design that I 'won' for free :0)

Julie P said...

Hi, Olivia,

Yes, it would be sad if we no longer enjoyed our writing and just thought of it as a means to an end. But I suppose you could argue that it is a job, just as any other job is really. But I wouldn't like to write if I didn't enjoy what I was writing!

I've had another rejection since the last three, so my confidence is taking a battering at the moment. But the only way I know how to counteract that is to keep reading, keep writing and keep sending my short stories out there.

I have a few more up my sleeve to edit and send out! You never know if the next one you write is going to be the one that makes it.

Thanks, as ever, for your support.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi Suzanne,

It is like an illness isn't it! Would someone who was completely well bother sending out pieces they've written that no-one has asked for and keep doing it time and time again even though they keep getting rejections? I think not!

I've had another rejected story returned since the three last week, so I don't expect it will be the last!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

If I can find it again, Carole, I'll send it to you!

Julie xx