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


  1. I have been so wrapped up in my novel lateley, that I stopped planning other things, however, after having a great day with my Mom during my week off, I got an idea for another article. It's odd isn't it how ideas spring up when you are just going about your normal day.

  2. This is the sort of inspiration I need. I'm totally flagging at the moment with my writing. I'm a novice and I'm trying to complete a home study creative writing course, unfortunately though it appears that article writing is not my thing, as I'm struggling to come up with something for my next assignment. I've had 2 readers letters published since I began last year, and they provided some encouragement, but lets face it, most letter writing is far from challenging. The only thing I appear to have any passion for at the moment is my blog, because it's easy and I only need write what is relevant to me, which in essence is just cheating really.
    I read writer's magazines and blogs, and can relate to most of what authors say but I still can't see me ever being able to write to the standard that they do. My imagination is seriously depleted after ten years raising a family, it was never that colourful to begin with if I'm honest.
    Your comment about getting short stories "out of your system" is exactly how I feel. I feel I have to write but I'm increasingly fearful that despite this "need", I'll never be any good at it!
    Perhaps the answer is to set small short term goals and see if I can make those happen. Maybe then I'll have my answer as to whether I have it in me to write properly.

  3. It is amazing where the ideas come from and it's often when you least expect it!

    Good luck with the novel and aricle writing!

    Julie x

  4. Hi, Coffeeaddict and thank you for you comments. They are most appreciated.

    It is so hard when you first start out in writing as you're never sure if what you're writing is good enough or not! I still feel that my writing is no good even though I've been published - that feeling of insecurity and you'll never get published again never really leaves you!

    However, I truly believe that determination and perseverance are key to success. If you give up you'll never know what you may have been capable of. And if you get some rejections it can be tough to write and send more of your stuff out there, but if you want to succeed rejection is all part of the process and is something to be embraced and not feared!

    I'm doing a journalism course at the moment that I have no enthusiasm for but I'm determined to carry on to the bitter end with it! It's hard to keep the motivation going with writing sometimes but as long as you're writing something and sending it off regularly - you will get there!

    You probably favour blog writing as there is no pressure or deadline with it. You write what you want and there's no editor there to please! But use your blog writing as a springboard to article writing. Can you turn any of your blog postings into articles? It's what I was advised to do and it worked!

    Keep going and good luck - I have some catching up to do with my writing too - this hot weather doesn't help!

    Julie xx

  5. We all need goals to aim for, bot for me, the joy of writing is that we can have so many different goals, to keep our interest alive.

  6. I agree, Simon! It's essential for we writers to have several projects, both short term and longer term, on the go at any one time so there's always that possibilty of making a sale in the short term while you work on a longer project. It gets a bit boring if we just stick to one project at a time I think.

    Julie xx

  7. Julie, thank your for this inspiring post. Setting goals? What's that? I feel I have so many 'irons in the fire' that I'm shooting off in all directions. Strangely, since I've been paying more attention to reading the blogs I follow and writing more on my own blog, I have stepped up a notch and feel much more energised and creative.

    I'm currently polishing several short stories and have submitted a couple, but I find it hard to know when to stop editing and get them out there! Wouldn't be afraid of rejection, would I?

  8. Oh I think we are all just a little afraid of the BIG R! It's a swear word in my opinion! I prefer remarketing opportunity, L'Aussie. Good luck with your short stories - must get going on some of mine too!

    I'm a bit like you with too many irons in the fire!

    Julie xx