Thursday, 26 November 2009

Proposal Paranoia

Having completed my NaNoWriMo challenge and taken two days writing leave, I've been back on the computer today but this time getting back into article writing. As NaNo took up so much of my writing time over the past three weeks, I was keen to send some more proposals out there to keep myself up to speed and before I forgot how to send a proposal out!

You may remember that a few posts back I was bemoaning the fact that I'd sent loads of proposals out and heard nothing back. I was beginning to worry that either my emails were not getting through, or my proposals were that bad they were deleted immediately. I got quite a complex about it and was seriously concerned that I wouldn't get another editor interested enough from my proposals to actually get them to see the article in the first place.

It did put me off for a while as I thought what was the point in sending proposals in if they were going to be ignored and I would be there waiting for months for a reply that was never coming. Well, I'm still waiting for news on any of the many proposals I have out there, but at least I managed to pluck up the courage to swallow any misgivings and paranoia I have and send two more proposals out today. I have got a bad case of indigestion now, though, as misgivings and paranoia do not go down well!

I do feel, however, that I am very much in a chicken and egg situation at the moment. I mean in that I still feel that my writing is at an embryonic stage when I want it to fledge into the full crowing cockerel! I haven't had enough published to be able to show any perspective editors example of my work and I haven't had a novel, or more than one short story published, which makes it very difficult to get a foot hold and a way in. Maybe I'm trying to run before I can walk but I think that as no editor knows me from Adam it's quite a big problem. I'm not whining about it, it's just a fact and an obstacle that I need to work harder to overcome - and overcome it I will!

I've had some good success with the local newspaper and the local glossy county mag, and an upcoming article in Writers' Forum, but generally, when it comes to the nationals, I'm not getting very far. Is it my proposals themselves that are the problem, or is it that I'm just not well known enough as a writer to start making a headway. These are the questions I've been asking myself a lot today, and so I'm going to be spending some time sorting out my proposal technique (should it be done on bended knee or is that too old fashioned? ;0) ) If it is that I can do something about it. Maybe they're not all singing and all dancing enough; not bright enough to stand out from the crowd; or the ideas themselves aren't original enough. I don't know, but I'm going to find out and improve them if I can.

If it's because I'm not well known enough and editors believe that I'm not able to deliver then there's not a lot I can do about that at this stage, other than improve my proposal technique and just keep sending them out to a variety of magazines and see who bites. That way, if some at least ask to see my work, I'll get more chance of being published and getting my writing name and a good reputation out there that tells other editors that I can deliver the goods (as well as increase the size of my 'cuttings' folder!)

So as well as continuing on with my NaNo novel (I'm determined to finish it) and going back to basics with my short story writing by doing some market analysis - I'll be carrying on with trying to get some more articles accepted and published. It is so annoying when you send out as many proposals as I do, only to hear nothing back,and you start to get suspicious that you're not doing something right on the proposal front - yet I must have got them right on some occasions to have had some articles that I proposed accepted!

I have more than enough to be getting on with over the next few months, well into the new year. It's going to be hard work but NaNo have proved to me that I have the stamina and wherewithal to do it so I will! And I hope you know that you can do it too. Good luck and do let us know of your writing successes and frustrations. Writers need support and to give support when it's needed as well as work together to improve our writing. So if I come across any useful pieces of information I'll certainly pass them on. And if anyone else has a brainwave them please do say!

Julie xx

I felt better about the Marie Celeste situation when This England retained an article of mine, so I could just do with another bite or two from the other mags I've sent proposals to to get myself on an even keel again. After the rush and excitement of NaNo I need something to ground me again.I don't know when, but I will get there!


  1. (((HUGS))) on the paranoia. I'm the same when I send out a covering letter and synopsis. It's so stressful wondering if they are going to request a full - *sigh* - what we put ourselves through! Take care. Caroline x

  2. I'm inclined to believe that it's nothing to do with your proposals and everything to do with the economic climate. It's really tough out there just now.

    But I know your approach will be professional and your ideas will be interesting, so keep doing what you're doing and you'll get more articles accepted (and, if you're ever feeling low, get out your cuttings and congratulate yourself on everything you've achieved so far).



  3. Thanks, Suzanne. It is tough out there isn't it. I like to go through my cuttings every now and then, and you're right, it is a real confidence boost. When I look back to when I started I've actually not done all that bad. I'm hoping I can do better next year - hopefully the market may open up a bit more then too.

    December tends to be a bit of a dead month with the run up to Xmas and all that Jazz.

    Julie xx

  4. Hi, Caroline

    We do stress ourselves out don't we! Who would be a writer eh?!

    Julie xx

  5. Just keep plugging away at it. Results will come in time

  6. Thanks, Helen,

    I'll keep going as you suggest and see what happens! Julie xx