Monday, 7 July 2008

Thinking Time

During a quiet period at work today I had time to think about my writing, where it is going and what I want to achieve from it.
It all started after I spent some time trying to come up with an idea for a short story. I hadn't managed to think of anything and I reflected on how good I am at short stories. I have had limited success in this field and last year only managed to sell 4 or 5 short stories. However I do have about half a dozen that have been with magazines for a long time so I am hopeful that I might sell at least one of those. I seem to struggle to come up with ideas and without that I'm stuck.
So I started think that maybe I should give up on that form of writing or at least not give myself such a hard time when I'm struggling to come up with an idea. Maybe I should stick to longer stuff.
You just watch, now that I've said that I'll have ideas popping into my head every few seconds.


Calistro said...

I think 4 or 5 short story sales in a year is great! I've sold 3 so far this year and if I make 5 I'd be delighted rather than consider myself a failure! I suppose it depends on how many stories you're sending out and what your expectations are. I have a full time job, for example, so I don't depend on story sales to pay my mortage (although the extra money always comes in useful!).

Could you maybe look closely at the stories you sold and the ones you didn't manage to sell and work out what it was that turned the editors onto the ones you sold and off to the ones they rejected?

I don't think you should give up just yet!

Anonymous said...

Prompt titles and/or weekly writing groups are good for this sort of thing. Check out Annieye's penultimate sentence idea, for example.

Gonna be a writer said...

Thanks you two. I'll certainly check out the penultimate sentence idea. like you Calistro I too have a full time job (day off today though Yippee!!!!) so don't depend on the short stories to pay the mortgage (just as well). Thanks for making me realise that I do this for fun. I guess it's back to the old thing about other writers on blogs that I read having a million hits so far this year whereas I can probably count mine on the fingers of one hand. I must stop doing that - I'm me not them. All I can put the negativity down to is a bad day at work.

PatP said...

I often find that with novels I usually have a lot of background info about the characters I never actually use in the book. And a couple of times I've been able to write a short story using the background info. A sort of short prequel, I guess.

Gonna be a writer said...

Two birds with one stone eh Pat

hughdunit said...

I’m beginning to wonder if I should stop visiting blogs with statements like “…only managed to sell 4 or 5 stories last year” and “I’ve sold 3 so far this year.”

I’d be happy if I sold just one short story in a year – I’ve only sold two in fifty years. Mind you, to be fair, I haven’t written many. When I’ve had sporadic bursts of writing, it’s been mostly factual stuff. So take heart. You are not “gonna” be a writer, you already are, and a successful one.

The Writing Gardener said...

The magazine market is very competitive and with some editors taking so long to reply it's easy to lose heart. I too have times when I can feel as though I'm not getting anywhere. But it is great that you have had these stories accepted already. It shows that you can do it. Don't worry about numbers. Some people would kill just to get one story accepted.

The best ideas often pop up when you're not trying too hard to find them. Also sometimes in old rejected stories there is a fragment of an idea that you can recycle. Good luck. x

Gonna be a writer said...

Thanks you lot. I'm sorry for my reaction the other day. I realise that it was way over the top. I'd had a really bad day. The point I was trying to get across was that I'm struggling at the moment to come up with ideas. Please come back hugh - I'll make a cake next time.