Thursday, 13 August 2009

Keeping Track - X marks the spot.

I've been going through my list of proposals and articles I've sent out since January this year today. I'd got behind on it (never a wise thing to do) and, to be honest, the task was filling me with dread every time I thought about it. I didn't want to be depressed by all the little red crosses signifying a 'no go' article; believe me there have been many! But with gritted teeth and upper lip stiffened I plunged in to the task.

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there were lots of red X but there were a lot of green smiley faces for a sale too! I have this key system where a red X means No go, a blue X means something pending and a green smiley face means a sale. Every time I see a green smiley face on the chart it makes me smile and think more positive about my writing. It's good for bolstering the spirits and resolve - despite all the red.

So far this year I've sent 31 articles out of which: 20 were accepted for publication - 4 were rejected and 7 are pending a decicion. I also sent outa further 8 proposals of which: one is a possible but waiting for confirmation - five were a no thanks already commissioned similiar article/not right for mag - 2 still waiting for reply!

It pays to keep these records as the stats they throw up are useful for the annual end of year postmortem on how the writing has gone - and how it can be improved. It's also useful to look back and see just how much you've achieved and written in the first place. It can be a quite a shock sometimes to see how much work you've done and is a real confidence boost.

Two of the articles which were originally rejected found homes in other magazines so it really is worth sending them out again if the first editor you send it to says no. Don't forget the small press and free mags either. You might not get paid as much, if at all, but that's not the real point - you are laying down foundations and practising your art, getting your work and name in print. Don't underestimate the power of this. You will have physical evidence to show other editors you have been in print and what you are capable of. But don't make the mistake of thinking that you can send any old rubbish into these smaller mags - you can't. Your writing still has to be of a high standard, so don't think you can get away with being sloppy.

But most of all, have fun and don't give up. Right it's back to my charts!



  1. You're doing terrifically well, Julie. Congratulations.

    Love the green smiley face idea. And it's also very important to keep records for the taxman (there speaketh an old bag book-keeper).


  2. Oh yes, Suzanne. I have a bone to pick with you lady! Get writing that manuscript and that's an order - hut two, hut two, hut two, now drop and give me 2,000 words!

    I had forgotten about the tax man. I am now registered as self employed but I haven't earned enough to be taxed yet but my charts will be essential when (if) I do!

    Julie xx

  3. I've written a lot; including a novel which I'm currently redrafting.

    Sending pieces out? I've sent two, that's all. One has been rejected and the other is still being considered; I think.

    I started writing thinking I wanted to be published.

    I do, but I've realised I want to write first and get published later.

    I admire your perseverence.

  4. Hello, Write Blog!Yes, I often wonder why people write as well. I realise that not everyone writes with publication in mind. There are several pieces which I have written that will never see the light of day!

    That's the thing when you send your work out - the longer it is that you've heard nothing you start to question 'is anyone really looking at it? Or is it in the rejection pile just waiting to be shipped out with all the others on a certain day!!

    I'll be polishing up a couple of short stories this afternoon ready to send off tomorrow, but for this morning, it's a visit to my father for coffee, cake and a read of the papers.