Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Three Successes

I thought I'd use today's posting to bring you news of 3 successes. The first comes from one of my students in Malta, Luca Caruana. Luca has just seen his second assignment published in the June issue of Military Illustrated.

Not only is this a great success, he also discovered that his article (about Napoleon) has been used on the front cover to 'tempt' readers into buying a copy off the newsagent's shelf.

Solange Hando is a fellow writer who specializes in travel features and when she's writing an article, she often 'visualizes' it being splashed across the front cover like Luca's is here. Visualization can be a great technique to remaining positive and upbeat about a submission. Next time you're writing an article, try to imagine the magazine's front cover shouting about the article or short story that you are writing about. It can work! What words or phrases do you think the magazine might use? You might find that this exercise produces the perfect title for your piece!

Hope Hamilton also wrote to me, explaining that she'd been sidetracked from the course slightly because she'd become engrossed in writing her father's biography. (Thta's the beauty of a correspondence course - there are no set timescales to complete the course, so it's okay if life gets in the way sometimes!) Already she's 20,000 words into this project. Producing 20,000 words is a success in itself, in my opinion, but it also raises the point about enjoying what you are writing.

I often say to students, "If it's flowing - keep it going!" There are times with our writing when suddenly everything seems to click and the words just flow. Or perhaps, when we're working on a larger project we find it easy to slip back into the writing at the start of each new day. If this happens, try to keep it going for as long as you can, because the enjoyment that you are getting from your writing will show through in your text. I'm not saying that your text will be perfect, but when you come to read it back, you'll find that it has vitality and energy and probably flows better. This is text that the reader will enjoy reading.

So if you're tackling one project and then another seems to take over, listen to what your mind is telling you. Let it take over, because it means that your brain is more excited about this new project. Make the most of that excitement and use it to produce sparkling writing. You can always go back to the other project later on. It will still be there. If you force yourself to finish one project before starting the next, not only will your writing suffer on the 'old' project because you're forcing yourself to finish that, but your writing on the 'new' project will also suffer too. When you finally get around to starting it, you may have lost that initial vitality and that will show through in your work.

Having lots of projects on the go, is one of the joys of writing. It should mean that you can always find something on your desk that interests you and inspires you to write each day!

Finally, the third success is one of my own. I received an email yesterday from Sean Nolan, editor at Ireland's Own magazine. He liked one of my short stories I'd written and was emailing to ask me to email him a copy of the text, so he didn't have to type up the story from the hard copy that I'd submitted. When I read his email though, I didn't immediately recognise the title of the short story. It was only after searching my records that I discovered I'd originally submitted the story to him back in January 2008. So the acceptance arrived some 17 months after submission. Now many of you know that I've often commented here on this blog that this writing game is a waiting game. Now you know it's definitely true! Remember the maxim - no news is good news!

Good luck!

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Simon! It must be a great feeling when your students report successes – and that’s great news about Ireland’s Own especially after such a long wait.
    Your advice “If it’s flowing – keep it going!” is excellent!

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  2. Hi Teresa

    Yes, I get just as much of a kick out of one of my students getting published as they do I think! I think it's because we've all been there at some point in our writing lives, so we know what it feels like!

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  3. There you go! You're an excellent teacher and mentor and the proof is in your own and your student's successes, but you don't need me to tell you that!

    I will have to remember your 'if it's flowing - keep it going motto, as Teresa says it's excellent advice.

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