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INKSPILL – How to Get Rejected – Guest Writer William Gallagher

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How to Get Rejected

Write badly. Thatll do it. But of all the reasons you will get rejected and you will, you know you will writing badly is the best of them. Its the most embarrassing, perhaps, and it may well shut more doors than anything else ever will, but its also the best for one key reason.

You can do something about it.

You can write better.

Now, it would be good if that were as easy as it sounds but your writing is under your control, or at least it is more than anything else. Focus on your writing and dont be thrown by things you cannot know. That sounds a bit Hallmark Card-like and we are all cut and bloodied by rejection but do this: control what you can control and bollocks to everything you cant.

Let me give you a fast example. I spent a couple of years as features editor on a computer magazine and I needed writers. I really needed them, I had money to pay them, I would search for them. And at the same time, I mustve got around 200 completely unsolicited submissions. Writers writing to me out of the blue pitching me articles. They should have been a godsend to me but they werent.

Of the 200, I commissioned 1. He was fine, Id have used him again if Id ever needed to go back to the same topic. Thats not the key fact here. The key is that of the 200, I read 7.

And not only would I do the same today, so would you.

Of the other 193, a surprising number were about fashion. I was on a computer magazine. Many were handwritten and, again, hello, computer magazine. Plus you can tell me youve got years of experience but if youre not typing your articles, no, you havent.

Equally, you can tell me that you studied my magazine but if you spell the title wrong or if you send me a 300-word article when we only ever ran 5,000-word pieces, I dont need to read your piece to know you cant do the job.

Writing is not a competition. Also, writing is not for you: it is for the reader. My job was not to read every piece and pat heads, it was to fill blank pages each month. Realise that, keep that in mind, and youll avoid rejections.

And when you are rejected, take it. You can grind your teeth all you like at home, just dont ever show it. Let it go because its already gone. Nobody ever convinced an editor that they have made a wrong choice by arguing about it. If that sounds unfair, compare it to this: nobody ever successfully used wailing to convince a lover not to dump them.

This ridiculous writing life we have chosen might be art, I hope it is, but it is also a job and it is also real. Youre not playing. And the sometimes great, sometimes deeply depressing fact is that most people are. So small things like being a pro when youre rejected really help you stand out.

William

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

 

William Gallagher’s Books on Amazon

See William Gallaghers scribbles books, Doctor Who radio dramas and the rest on Amazon

 

A Week of Work, Goodbyes, Book Launches, Selling Property and Holidays!

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Last week I took a backseat with gigging and only attended 2 events, more for the friends involved than a night out. I was working full time pretty much and needed some energy for our weekend away.

Here’s a quick catch up from the past week.

Last Wednesday evening I went to the Vertu Bar in the Jewellery Quarter to say goodbye to ‘Carys Matic’ Jones. Carys has now reached Bangkok  safely and is about to spend an unknown amount of time in Thailand.

vertu-bar-photo-created in birmingham

© 2014 Created in Birmingham

 

It was my dad’s birthday the same day, but I can catch up with my dad this week, Carys was only having the one Goodbye Bash. She piggybacked the event on an already existing acoustic night and invited all her performing friends to come and take to the stage. I wrote 2 poems especially for her filled with wanderlust and descriptions of bravery and strength. carys

Carys made this photo collage of the evening. Southway were an amazing electro duet, friends of hers from London, they came up to play her party and then went off to the Hare and Hounds – they have been booked to come back to Birmingham and are currently in Bristol – watch out for them, they are beyond lively and great fun!

southway

© 2014 Carys Jones

 

Everyone had a great night, lots of energy in the room and Carys herself couldn’t stop smiling!

© 2014 Samuel Francis

© 2014 Samuel Francis

 

The following evening saw me journeying to Worcester on a mad chain of errands, work, then tutoring, then back to my flat to remove a dining table, then to the estate agents to drop off keys for the property then off to the book launch.

Andrew Owens writes prose ‘not poetry’ (a joke for any followers who were also at the launch) – his short stories and flash fiction are well known in this region. He invited us to guest spot at his book launch, which is very generous, there was a real sense of us celebrating Black Pear Press Publishing his book. We had 5 minute slots, I felt very under-prepared after the busy week/ day I had had I had to find material on my phone. I shared a freewrite, one of my FWF posts (need to get back to that challenge again!) – people liked it but it was a short 300 word flash, I could have performed a poem or 2 as well. I opened the event and had no idea of time, it was all a bit panicky for me. It was lovely though to see so many friends perform, Andrew, like me, gets around these events and there were performers from a wide range of the region.

I had some great feedback on my story during the interval including from the publishing team at Black Pear Press.

Great atmosphere and CAKE! And I got to hear some new stories as well as buying a signed copy of his book!

andrew Owens

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On Friday (after 12 long weeks and lots of unexpected additional expenses) I finally completed on the flat, the exchange of contracts happened and everything was handed over and completed before I finished work. I spent some time on Friday night playing with the money on the screen – but now everyone has been paid back it isn’t a lot! However, I no longer have the expense of maintaining 2 homes and should be due a rebate on some of the mortgage payment too! (Good job because my car has its MOT and insurance to be paid for this week!)

I went to the flat for the last time Thursday night and woke up Friday morning, knowing it was no longer mine! Strange – but I have had nearly a year to let it go…. time is a great healer – just relieved it can be loved again and managed to catch up with a few of the neighbours again too.

flat

 

On Saturday Mr G and I were up early to go away with friends down to Dorset/ Devon to visit River Cottage for a Food Festival. We have been there a few times over the past few years but it has NEVER taken so long to get there!

5 Hours in standstill traffic on the motorway!journey

We had a great time when we actually managed to get there though. There was a Cider Festival we happened upon the first night. The sun had come out by Sunday and River Cottage! It was amazing, we got to meet Hugh, tell him about our allotment and garden and get his autograph. He was chatty and lovely. We had seen him previously there but not to talk to. hugh We have photos of ourselves with him too!

We had a great time with our friends. Everyone has been so busy these past few years it has been a while since we had a chance to catch up properly. We had a couple of evenings out dining and on the last day we were going to go to the beach, worried it would be another long journey back, we opted to leave and follow the others home.

A great weekend ended with some take-out burgers, a few hours in the garden, a cider and then a power nap that lasted all night! I have now caught up with my sleep – ready for a week in my poetry skin, starting with Poetry Bites tonight.

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