Saturday, 27 November 2010

All Change

I had a change round this month. Instead of having an article published where I was the one asking the questions, this time the tables were turned and I was the one being interviewed. Sally Quilford has done a fantastic job, as she always does, and in her monthly Writers' Forum column she's included an interview she did with me talking about Wrekin Writers and our annual Doris Gooderson short story comp. It's in the January 2011 issue of the mag (out now in all good newsagents!)

I hadn't realised it would be out so soon (neither did Sally!) So it was a lovely surprise to see it when I flicked through the magazine. If you don't read this magazine, I would suggest that it wouldn't be a bad idea to start reading it. I've been reading it each month now for almost 4 years and the advice and interviews contained within it's pages haven't done me any harm. They have, in fact, enhanced my own writing. I'm so proud that I've had a couple of articles published in there myself as well - something I never thought would happen. But it did! It can be done if you persevere.

It's always a pleasure to flaunt the many virtues of the  wonderful Wrekin Writers too and raise our profile a little! I still haven't got over our last retreat. I don't think I got over the first one I went to two years ago either. I don't think I'll ever be the same again! A great writing group is worth it's weight in gold and I'm lucky enough to be involved in one of the best. I don't think I'd have dared submit half of what I do get out there without their help and support. Thank you!

My writing plans for this coming week are to finish NaNo, which I'm on target to do by tomorrow. Then I'll be straight back on to my articles, pitching ideas ready for next year.  I'm keen to explore different magazines next year and target them. I feel like stretching my wings a bit. It's good for writers to change direction every now and then and keep their ideas and writing fresh and exciting.

Talking of fresh, it's a bit nippy out there today and I see we have a sprinkling of the white stuff this morning.

Happy writing!

Julie xx

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Out of the ordinary and original

Some people might say that there's nothing left on the planet to write about that is original as it's all been done before. Well, yes, to a certain degree I would agree with that. But, on the other hand, it's not been written by you or me. We are individuals with a unique experience of life. No-one will ever have the same experiences, go to the same places, have the same ideas, motives, thoughts and inspirations as you or I. You can, therefore, bring freshness and originality to your articles. No-one can do that but you. If you asked ten writers to write on the same subject each of those writers will produce a different article. The content might be similar, but because each writer will bring their own blend of experience and opinion to it, they will have an originality about them that editors will love.

So instead of thinking, 'Oh I won't bother writing about that because someone else has already done it,' look at the subject matter from a different angle, from your perspective, and see if you can come up with an even better article that sparkles with originality and freshness that will have editors snapping it up. If you allow yourself to give in to your writing devil who is telling you not to bother writing about this and that because it's all been done before, you will end up not writing anything. Not a good place for a writer to be in!

Happy writing and give your writing devil the heave ho -  I wonder what you will achieve once he/she's gone?

Julie xx

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Article time again

I realise that some of you write articles all the time and for you this post won't mean very much! But in my case I seem to work on a rota system, dividing my time between writing either articles, short stories or novels. It's a bit like the phases of the moon really!  Or where my moon is rising in my chart. I've just gone through the short story phase and I'm well and truly engrossed in my NaNo novel writing phase now. This phase will last until the end of November when a new moon will take me into article writing again.

It's a bit of a strange period at the moment with article writing. Some editors aren't interested in any articles until the new year, Everyone seems to be gearing up for the Christmas period and winding down for the holidays. But it is the perfect time to reassess your article writing and think about your plan of attack for next year, so you can get your ideas in quick next year. Are you going to continue to pitch and putt to your old faithfuls or are you going to spring out of your comfort zone and take a shot at a magazine you've not approached before?

I'm going to be thinking up some new article ideas over the coming weeks and look at other possible outlets for them  -  magazines I haven't been published in before. I find this an exciting exercise as it's full of potential and new growth. A writer who is continually growing and evolving has a distinct advantage over a writer who refuses to move with the times and adapt.

I'm concentrating on the morris dancers at the moment and I'm also going to be looking through magazines I've not seen before to assess them as potential markets. I've still got to finish my journalism course (she says again!) Time just seems to run away with me and writing time is scarce. But I'll get there!

I went on a writing retreat last weekend and managed to get some writing done (I say some  -  look on the Wrekin Writers' website for evidence of what we got up to!) It was a wonderful experience and very, very funny. My motivation levels are sky high again and all I want to do is write! So I've made a promise to myself and challenged my self to increase my writing time and up my output. I've realised that if I want to continue to be a published writer I'm going to have to up the ante and buckle down and write a lot more than I have been. No excuses. No diversions. I hope my increased determination levels will pay off.

Hope everyone else is doing well.

Happy writing
Julie xx

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wake up!

As I'm busy with NaNo again, I haven't had much chance to think about articles. I had hoped to have got some more  of my journalism course done, but that's life, eh? I have to make priorities, as we all do, with writing and I find I have to be in the mood to do one or the other. At the moment the NaNo novel is taking the helm as are some short stories (I had one accepted by The Weekly News last week!Wooh hooh!) But article writing is never far from my mind.

At the moment the nights are drawing in. It's getting colder, wetter, windier and everything is slowing down for winter. So I'm thinking about article material that I could get ready over the next few weeks that looks at spring: the waking up of the countryside and the Earth after its winter hibernation. If you can think back to last spring and what was in the magazines then, you can think up new slants on that material and pitch it to the magazines now so the editor receives it in plenty of time to consider it for publication.

So while it's cold, dark and unwelcoming outside, make your writing space warm, cosy and inviting. Close the curtains and lock the darkness outside. Light some candles, turn the heating up, get yourself a large mug of  hot chocolate and  a supply of biscuits. Turn your computer on, get your notebook and pen out and get thinking about and writing your spring ideas ready to pitch.

If it helps, type spring season into your search engine and look at spring pictures. I've taken loads of photos over the past two years of scenes from different seasons and I've found these very good for inspiring me when I'm trying to write about spring at the end of autumn!

Happy Easter!

Julie xx