I don’t want this to be all about bragging - it's the bragging that made me leave Facebook - so I’ve used sub-titles to show you what you can learn from this.
Can’t write? Don’t worry.
All story-ed out is what I have been for the past few years. I’ve been writing and selling stories since 1981 so it was little wonder that my story ideas dried up. Did I worry? No. Did I miss story writing? Yes. But to fill in the gap I got busy with article writing and I have five regular columns to produce each month. Add to that the grindingly slow process of putting my cyclist’s life together and I wasn’t being exactly lazy. (see below) Now, suddenly, almost three years on, I’m getting story ideas again. Better still, I’m writing them. I remember Eileen Ramsay, the novelist, telling me about the fallow fields outside her home. She compared them to writing. It didn’t look as if anything was happening in those fields but things were busy underground and in the Spring… well, we all know what happens. Life (ideas) return.
Who told you that you were lazy, had a big nose, flat feet…?
Many of you know that, as a child, my mother told me I was lazy because she was always on the go and I was always curled up with a book or pen and paper. If you believe anything bad about yourself, ask who told you this and question it now you’re an adult.
Don’t let rejected stories fade away
I sold a couple of stories during those story-less years but they were old ones which had been turned down. Now they’ve sold. I often wish I’d kept count of the sold stories but I stopped not long after 400. Count your successes. Take another look at those rejections and see if they can be improved. Maybe they can be shortened or lengthened to suit a different market.
Aim for more and more
Last month, March, I sent out seven stories and four of those were brand new. I hope to beat that in April but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t. If you sent out one last month, try for two this month.
Personal experience makes it easier
I had joined in an online discussion about nightmare guests. Someone had written about a guest who arrived at 2am shouting up to the bedroom window, ‘Coo-e. I’m here at last.’ That was my opening line for a new story. I remembered a couple of sets of guests who had not exactly been delights and I was away. It took me just over an hour to write the story because personal experience always makes it easier. I worked on it later and again this morning, changing words, moving sentences around and now reckon it’s ready to go out. My confidence is returning.
A little help from your friends
Up until yesterday’s story I had been sending any new ones to Glynis Scrivens, my cyber-sister, asking if they were any good. I had grave doubts about all of them but she assured me they were fine. I’d lost my confidence during the fallow years. Every writer needs a writing friend who will tell them the truth.
Recently I’ve sold to My Weekly, The People’s Friend and The Weekly News but this week I got what I had been wanting – an acceptance from Take A Break’s Fiction Feast.