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, 15 July 2012

Give it a Rest

A lot of success in writing is down to the persistence of the writer and their determination to be published. They keep writing, even after the umpteenth rejection, because it's what they do. They could no more stop writing than stop breathing. They have to write - it's not a choice. In my own experience I learnt first hand that if you persist in your subbing and pitching you will get something published. It might take a while but you will get there.

I know this because it took me a long time to get my first short story published. But I carried on trying and was rewarded in that elusive first sake - one that I was convinced would never come: There's far too much competition. The editors already have their favoured writers so it's a waste of time me even trying. I'll never be able to write a good enough story. These were just some of the reasons I gave myself to give up writing short stories. I'm so glad I didn't listen to myself!

There are writers out there who have had many of their short stories published and there are others who are yet to make their first sale. And there are some, like me, who have had a handful of short story sales that are few and far between and who would love to get more published. It can be intensely annoying for writers waiting to be published to constantly hear of the successes of other writers, but it can also be a great comfort and giver of hope too - they've done it so why shouldn't I?

If you're feeling down cast and fed up of thinking when am I going to get anything published? Perhaps it's time to give it a rest for a while. If you let feelings of anxiety, envy and failure engulf you your frustration will only render you incapable of thinking creatively and what you do manage to produce will be rubbish because you've let your sadness and anger take over.

I haven't had a short story published for a while and all of the last batch of stories I subbed came back rejected. So, I did allow myself to wallow for a while in my own misery. But then, after a lot of walking and zumba and some chocolate I picked myself up and I'm ready to sub some more stories. Will they get published? I've no idea! But I know if I don't write, edit and sub short stories then I definitely won't get them published - that's a certainty!

I've had a good run on articles being published so it balances it out. Keep trying and trying and trying and trying ........ It's the only way. Yes the competition is fierce - and if I allow myself to think too hard about that I tend to not be able to write very much. So my advice is to push all of that aside and concentrate on what you are writing, not what other writers are writing, what they're getting published and, whatever you do, under no circumstances should you ever try comparing your success or failure rate with theirs. That is irrelevant - they can't get your story to a standard that an editor wants. Only you can do that. Read their published stories by all means. You will learn a lot. I know I did. But don't think that their stories are far better to anything you could ever produce because they aren't. With practise you can get better too. Think unique, unusual and off the beaten track - give your story that special sparkle that makes it stand out whilst keeping to the guidelines of each magazine.

I'm lucky enough to have the summer holidays off school and my writing time and effort are going to have a boost! But whatever time you have and wherever you are in your writing journey have fun writing and if you fall off your writing horse, allow yourself time to dust yourself down but don't leave it too long before you get back on your trusty steed.

Happy writing and good luck!



Simon Whaley said...

Sometimes it can be useful to give yourself the 'break' from a market, so that when you come back to it you look at it with fresh eyes. I've just been published in a magazine that i haven't appeared in for a couple of years, and I'm sure it was I went to the effort of analysing it as if it was the first time I'd looked at it.

Julie P said...

Hi, Simon,

Yes, and it's always good to do your market research on a magazine you haven't targetted for a while as they may have changed things since you last pitched.

Julie xx