Monday, 13 August 2018

Moving On (a bit)


Six years ago, I started writing for the women's magazine market (womags). I've been very lucky and have had a lot of success over that time, with around three hundred stories published. In fact, apart from marriage and having children, the day I made my first short story sale was one of my best ever. This's why I felt very sad this week when I had to tell my favourite magazine, The People's Friend, that I will no longer be able to write as many stories for them.

The reason for this is I really need to concentrate on the novel I'm writing. Most of you will know that I've already written two novels (one of them won the Flash 500 Novel Opening and Synopsis competition and the other recently made the top five of the Simon and Schuster/Darley Anderson novel competition) and I feel that novel writing is the natural next stage of my writing career.

And herein lies the problem. When I wrote my first novels, I continued to write short stories alongside them but I constantly felt guilty. When I was writing my novel, I felt I should be writing a short story and, when I was writing a short story, I felt I should be writing my novel. 


The other problem was whenever I had a break and spent time with a cast of new  characters, a new story plot and, quite likely, a totally different genre to my novels (last week I had stories published in the genres of contemporary romance, rom-com and a swashbuckling period romance)
I found it hard to switch back into my novel characters' heads and write in the style of my genre (suspense).

That's why, now I've started writing novel three, and after much soul searching, I've decided I really need to concentrate on getting this one as good as it can be without distraction. My editor at The Friend is super-lovely and, when I wrote to him last week, he understood why I'd made this decision. He's always championed me and my writing and I owe him a lot. I did reassure him that it was not goodbye it was just au revoir for a little while and I would write him another story just as soon as I can.

Have you ever had to make a hard decision?



45 comments:

  1. Best of luck, Wendy! Jessie x

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  2. A hard, but wise decision to have made, Wendy. I have also had to stop writing short stories for now, because I so want to focus on my novel and give it the best possible chance, so I fully sympathise. I couldn't cope with the guilt problem and feel so much better now I'm focusing on the novel for now. I miss the short stories, but their time will come round again. Wishing you very happy and successful writing xxx

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    1. I agree with everything you e said here, Joanna. I needed to give myself permission to wind down a bit. I know I’ll enjoy writing the stories more now that I’m not putting pressure on myself.

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  3. So similar to my own story! I write far fewer Womag stories now, having decided to focus on novels, but occasionally I get pulled back! Not writing any for Woman's Weekly of course but that's another story!

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    1. The Friend will always be my magazine if choice. They’ve always championed me and for that I’m very grateful.

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  4. Best of luck with your decision. I gave up womag writing to concentrate on novels a few years ago as I simply didn't have time for both. You've done so well thus far but I agree your novels deserve your full attention now!

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    1. I was worried about letting the magazine (and my readers) down but I think I was spreading myself too thinly. I’m sure I’ll really enjoy writing the stories when I get the time.

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  5. I know exactly where you are coming from, Wendy, although I haven't had your amazing output of stories published. I am in awe of that achievement. But I am also writing another novel and you have to be totally immersed in the world of your characters to get the best out of your writing. So, good luck with that and I'm positive your stories will still continue to appear from time to time in the lovely PF. Angela Petch xx

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  6. Good luck for the future! My mum will be disappointed, she loves your PF stories. I'll let her down gently, lol. I made the decision to stop running The Virtual Bookcase where I showcased other authors, when I signed with HarperCollins/HarperImpulse. I felt guilty as it was my mentor and mine's project before she died and I continued her dream. However, blogging, caring full-time for mother and writing novels do not make good companions. I champion other authors on social media now, and find I have more writing time. Selfish? Aged 60, I feel it is my time and cannot let this huge opportunity pass me by.

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    1. Absolutely, Glynis... and don’t worry, your mum will still see my name in the mag from time to time.

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  7. Will miss your lovely stories in PF, Wendy - although not gone for good, I hope. Meanwhile... the very best of luck as a novelist!

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    1. I will still be writing them, Penny. Just not as often.

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  8. A difficult decision, Wendy, but you know when it's the right time to do it. I only write an occasional short story now (and not usually for the womag market) as a creative change from novel writing. All the best with the next stage of your career - sounds as though you're on the verge of great things!

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    1. I’m expecting a story plot to jump out at me when I’m in the middle of a. Halter, then I’ll have to give in to it!

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  9. Good luck. I do hope it all works out for you with the novels.

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  10. I know this has been a tough decision for you, Wendy, but it doesn't mean the end of writing short stories. Concentrating on the novel may make the whole experience more enjoyable if you're not putting pressure on yourself to keep writing the shorts at the same time. Can't wait to read the novel!

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    1. You’re right, Tracy. I think the stories might be a breath of fresh air.

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  11. It's the only way to move forward with your novels, Wendy. Good luck and I'm sure you'll write some more for Pf in-between.

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  12. I completely understand your decision, Wendy. I have been trying to write a novel (on the second draft now) and it is very difficult - nay, impossible - to do the 2 things (shorts and novel) at the same time. I found that too! It's just too distracting, isn't it, to go into a world of different characters and settings, while you're writing a novel, even if it's just for a short time. Good luck with your novel writing and I'm sure you won't have given up short story writing for ever!

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    1. I tried it before but it was frustrating juggling the two but I’ve a feeling I’ll just get a need to write a romance or something different once in a while.

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  13. I can understand that this was a difficult decision, but it sounds like the right one for you at the moment.

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  14. All the best with your plans Wendy, you know what you want - go get it!

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  15. Go for it, Wendy! I'm sure you've made the right decision. And very good luck with your novel(s) - I'm sure you'll get there in the end.

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  16. Good luck, Wendy. I understand completely - especially the guilt thing, and I don't write short stories. When I'm doing anything else I feel guilty about not writing. When I'm writing I feel guilty about not doing art, or gardening or housework or ironing or....... !!! There's is no decision I can make that will square this circle.

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    1. I never feel guilty about not doing the housework, Gilli 😀

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  17. You're stopping one thing to develop another – that's always the right decision.

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    1. I think so. I’m not stopping completely though, Helen 😊

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  18. Sometimes you have to make changes to move on, and I'm sure you'll find slots for the short stories in between times.

    Good luck with the next stage Wendy.x

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