So what did I learn from taking a week off from blogging and devoting my attention to my writing?
1. It certainly freed up more time for my writing and enabled me to focus on the task in hand instead of getting sidetracked when things were not going too well. It's amazingly easy to procrastinate on here instead of putting my writer's bum on the seat and buckling down to write something.
2. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. A while ago I did an experiment where I turned off the TV for a week and I found that a bit easier than not blogging for a week. I don't know why.
3. It takes will power and you have to make choices between whether you want to be a serious writer and get writing something publishable or whether you want to just play at it and watch TV or blog all the time instead.
4. I realised that although blogging is a great way to exercise those writing muscles and practice my writing skills it can be addictive and that hinders the writing process. If I'm constantly updating my blogs I'm not writing my short stories, poems or articles!
5. It's good to have a break every now and then from blogging and concentrate on another facet of writing for a while. It stops my writing from becoming stale and inspires me to write fresh stuff that has more energy and focus.
6. That things don't happen as quickly as I hope they will! I am very impatient when it comes to my writing and I like to see results ASAP. But I recognise that this is an unhealthy trait in a writer and I'm trying to stop it. What is it they say about old habits dying hard? There are no quick fixes in this writing lark and it takes time to build up enough work of the quality editors want to see and publish. There is no way round it so you have to work hard and then harder still until you gain a reputation with your work that attracts an editor's attention.
7. It's worth collecting a portfolio of work you've had published - even articles from small or local press and stuff you've done for free. It's all published work and if you can show an editor what you are capable of they may be more inclined to see your work and commission you.
8. Don't give up. I know the temptation is high and the effort and work you put into it seems worthless sometimes (particularly when you've had rejection after rejection), but there is always that chink of light at the end of the tunnel where you see other writers who have gone before you and have got published,so you can see that it is possible. Remember most of these writers have started where you and I have.
9. It's incredibly frustrating waiting for replies on submission proposals you send in to editors. Response times seem to vary from half a day to a few days, to a week to a month,to a few months to never! It's a wonder anyone gets anything published at all at this rate! And it's the main reason why I've changed my mind on not sending out multiple submissions to editors with the same article idea. Life's too short I'm afraid to wait forever or never for a reply so it's every man for themselves now and the first editor to reply and ask for the article is the winner!! In the unlikely event that two or more want to see it (if only eh?) I can always tweak the article to a different slant anyway so they won't be the same, just similar.
10. I still have a lot to learn about article writing and the proposal/submission process and I'm always striving to improve my work. And that means listening to those with more knowledge and experience than I do. Learn what you can from the people already in the publishing loop who have been published lots and know what they are doing; their advice is invaluable and could mean the difference between getting your work published or not. And don't forget to thank them too!
So all in all it's been a positive week. Still no takers for my Wenlock Olympics articles or writing ones but I'm still working on them and I have more article ideas swimming around my head and in writen in my noebooks so all is not lost. On a good note, I had an email from the editor of a new Shropshire website launching soon that I wrote ten articles for a few months ago. He wants me to write some new articles for him which is exciting - I haven't had an editor I've worked for actually contact me to write some more stuff for them before, so this is real progress. One editor closes the door on an article and another editor opens one! That's the way it goes.
I haven't had a lot of success in the aticle publishing world and I am trying to lose my current attitude of thinking that I am a one hit wonder and won't get anything published ever again! But the successes I have had have been a real confidence boost for me and have given me the energy and the motivation/encouragement to carry on.
I hope that your writing successes help you to carry on to.