Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Back on track

I sent assignment three of the journalism course I'm doing off late last week. I wouldn't say that it's the best assignment I've ever done but hey ho! It's done and gone - now onto assignment four. Why did I sign up for a course? Oh yes that's right; I wrote an article on are writing courses for you!

Anyway - I've found my pace again with the course and I'm looking forward to working on the next assignment. I was feeling a bit low on the article front as I hadn't sent any articles or proposals out for a while and I started this course last September and here we are 11 months later and I had hoped to have finished it within the year, but it wasn't to be. Maybe 18 years is a more realistic time frame.

That's the thing with writing. I think that all too often we writers put far too much pressure on ourselves by trying to achieve too much at once. It takes a lot of time and patience to produce work of a good enough quality to be published. And it takes a lot of time to research possible outlets for your work and build up a rapport with the editors. So I think the message is: slow down to get the results you want. It's tempting to send off submissions willy nilly that could have done with a bit of maturing time in the drawer before being edited and sent out.

I'm still concentrating on the short story side of my writing at the moment but hope to get back to some article writing soon. But if you'll excuse me I have a date with Gok Wan! For some reason I like watching his Fashion Fix show ( says she who is a regular tomboy with no interest in fashion and that stuff  - I don't even own a skirt or any make up!) shock, horror!!!

Happy writing

Julie xx

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Course or no course?

As you know I started a Writers' Bureau Journalism course back in October 2009 and I'm still going with it now. Only my enthuasism for it dwindled when I received what I thought was a bit of strange advice in the feedback I got back on one of my assignments. It's made me reluctant to write the next assignment. But I'm determined to carry on regardless to the bitter end! It was nothing drastic but having submitted and had published many articles I'm not sure the advice I was given helped really.

This begs the question: do I need to do the course? Well yes, I think I do. I've read all the course material through and I've learned a lot I didn't know before. And I've had some good feedback on the assignments I've done. So I just have to grit my teeth and get the next assignment finished and sent it. Once I get on a roll again I know I can finish this course before the year's out -  which was the original plan. The school summer hols are coming up soon so I'm hoping to get assignment three and four and five (5 weeks) done before school's out and six, seven and eight  in the holidays themselves. That will give me three months to get the rest done!

What I need is my fellow bloggers to keep me on track and kick me at regular intervals to make sure I ruddy get on with it! No excuses - no mercy! Will you do that for me? Ta!

I'm interviewing some morris dancers on Monday for a couple of articles and also I'm going back soon to the lovely amateur dramatic group I spent some time with last year and wrote a couple of articles and a review of one of their plays, so I'm looking forward to that (thank you Mike!)

It's my writing group meeting on Saturday - time to get my fix! I always feel energised and enthusiastic about my writing when I've been there  - I think it's everyone's successes we hear about and the general buzz is infectious!

Don't forget to let me know if you want to join my private blog and join in the debate and look at published articles to see what we can learn about how to improve our own articles. I've posted one of my published articles, the original pitch and the manuscript on there already but so far I'm Jilly No Mates in there ;0) So come on - someone keep me company please! I'll make a nice cake and we'll have a brew while we're at it.

Good luck with your writing!
Julie xxx

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Where do you want to go next?

No, I'm not talking about where you fancy going on your holidays this year but where you see your writing going over the next week, month, year, five years, decade. It pays a writer to think about what their writing goals are what they can realistically achieve. What I've found helpful is to write down both my long term writing goals and some shorter ones so that I am always working towards something, a smaller short term goal, while also working on longer term projects such as my novel.

Making plans is a good way for writers to narrow down what it is they actually want to write and what kind of writer they are. Of course plans need to be realistic and flexible so that you don't become despondent when things don't go exactly how you want them to. Life often gets in the way of writing so to keep your spirits up and the words flowing you need to take a 'what the hell' attitude, learn to roll with the punches and change tack to get round the obstacles in your way,  and write whatever happens!

As I've said before, I'm concentrating on my short story writing at the moment - this is one of my short term goals: to get a short story published in the UK, with a longer term goal of getting lots of short stories published here and abroad. I've already achieved one of my goals by getting a short story published abroad (two now!) and that spurred me on to write more and more and now I'm editing a novel! Unthinkable to me a couple of years ago.

It was the same with article writing. I started off writing letters and getting them published in local and then national magazines and newspapers. Then I wrote short articles  for free for local community mags and then progressed to a local glossy magazines and national writing magazines where I actually got paid for my work  -  as they say in the football world  RESULT!!

Now we are half way through the year it might be a good time to take stock of what you have achieved so far with your writing and make plans for where you are going to take your writing between now and the near year. You might be surprised how far you have already come. I know I am! And even little victories: a letter here, a filler or tip there, can bolster you up to carry on writing and achieve an article in a local magazine or national glossy. It can be done  -  even if you think it can't! I never thought I'd get an article published but here I am with several articles and two short stroies published. How the hell did that happen?!

1. Hard work and determination by the bucket load.
2.Listening and acting on advice given to me by more experienced writers than me who knew what they were talking about.
3.Reading the magazines cover to cover and adopting the house style as my own.
4. Perserverance. Keep going, keep learning, keep improving and never give up.

That's what I think anyway! So, on the article front, although I've come to a bit of a hiatus while I get some short stories out of my system, I'm still gathering ideas and have sent off  couple for vetting, so I'm still giving my article writing some thought.

For those who have joined my new article analysing forum, I'll be posting a manuscript of one of my articles alongside how it appeared in the magazine it was published in. It will hopefully help people to see how I presented my manuscript to an editor and the changes they made to my text to better fit their remit.

Happy writing!

Julie xx