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, 22 March 2014

Getting There

Last time I talked about the Short Story Wheel. It was all about how much writing short stories for the women's magazines is like being on a hamster wheel. One you're on it it's difficult to get off it. You're caught in a spiral of reading, analysing, writing, editing, subbing and getting rejections - and, interspersed with all this, if you're lucky, a few acceptances as well.

Although it's always uplifting when you hear of fellow writers who have had an acceptance - particularly if it's a first for them, or a new market for them, it can also be a little disappointing in that it wasn't your story this time that made it through. It's easy to get disheartened and you can get a little paranoid if those around you are getting their short stories published and you aren't. So what can you do to refill your motivation tanks?

* Give it a rest. When you're heart's just not in it, put your computer or pen and note book away and do something else. Banging your head against a brick wall isn't the way to go and that is exactly what you'll be doing if you try and write with that irritating voice in the back of your mind whining on that your stories are rubbish and everyone else is getting published because they're so much better than you.

* Talk to other writers - what do they say is the best bit of advice they have on how to get published?  A problem shared is a problem halved.

* Go to a workshop/do a course on short story writing - there are plenty of good ones on offer. Remember to ensure that the tutor is someone you've heard of and has a proven track record in having their own short stories published in the magazines you're aiming for. They have to be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

* Join a short story critiquing service - there are plenty of on-line ones out there and you can always try a few until you find one that suits you. Or if face-to-face is more your thing, join one of those, or start your own. Sometimes we are so close to our own stories that we can't see the wood for the trees - a few more eyes on the story can show up flaws we hadn't considered.

* Join the magazines' Facebook pages or follow them on Twitter and take part in their forums and communities. You can learn a lot about the magazine and their readers by doing this and your name might well get known which can only be good.

*Join a writing group - or start your own: You can swap stories and keep each other writing.( SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT)  See my book The Writers' Group Handbook (available on Amazon or over at Compass Books  www.o-books.com ) that guides you through the process of finding a good writing group or starting your own up.

* Keep trying. If you give up you can only be certain of one thing - you won't get published. But if you keep going, one day, you might just do it. 

Where there's a will there's a way and that's what I'm clinging on to as begin my latest subbing marathon next week. Good luck everyone and if you have any successes, near misses or rejections do share them here.

Happy writing and subbing
Julie xx


Patsy said...

When I started writing magazine stories I got nothing but rejects. During that time I got a few letters published in magazines and won a small competition. Those helped me keep going as they suggested I could write something people would be interested to read.

Maybe trying something slightly different could help keep you motivated?

Julie P said...

I think that could well be part of the key for me, Patsy. Thank you. I have noticed that quite a few of the short stories being published are very different and they've sparked off a couple of ideas - so watch this space!