Jennifer Astle

April 7, 2009

My Fifteen Seconds of Fame: Vote For My Caption on Huffington Post!

captureI was thrilled to pull up the Huffington Post today and see that my little quip is being considered a favorite for the “Caption This Photo” Contest on the Huffington Post.  Click here to vote for yours truly!

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March 20, 2009

Confessions of a Writer: The Art of Patience

patienceIt is August, and I hand my mother a list.  She looks at it, and then looks back at me; it’s my Christmas wish list (including a section for Birthday, which falls 13 days before Christmas).  She puts it on the fridge, and there it sits until December, when normal people start thinking about Christmas.  But, in my head, I have been unwrapping gifts since before Labour Day.

I’m in university.  I complete a paper on some complicated Sociological issue.  I, of course, expect the professor to hand them back during the next class.  Of course, she doesn’t because she’s a professor.  It takes weeks.  For weeks, I fret about my grade, desperately wanting to hold the paper in my hands with those tell tale red marks scrawled all over it.  I lose interest (somewhat) in the grade, and become more focused on just knowing.

I meet my future husband.  We fall in love.  We move in together after less than a month and in less than three we move to Toronto. I know you want to correct me now, and tell me that means I am impulsive and not impatient.  I would argue that implusive people act without knowing what they want, while impatient people know exactly what they want and simply can’t wait.  I am the latter, trust me.

Now I decide to write a book.  I use my fantastic research skills (I did pay nearly $70,000 for them after all) to learn about how people get published and follow that path.  Write your book first (“But that could take a year!”), research agents, query them, and wait for a response (without hitting the refresh key on my email seven hundred times a day), likely having to do the same thing over and over until someone bites, if anyone bites.

So, I devise a plan to satisfy my urge to be published NOW; short stories.  They take less time to write, and I can begin querying (and being rejected by) literary magazines almost immediately.  But, instead of finding the immediate gratification that my personality wants like a junkie wants crack, I learn an important lesson; patience.

I don’t want to screw up my chances, so I hit send, shift uncomfortably in my seat, and stare at the computer screen.  Nothing.  Then I watch some news, listen to the Rachel Maddow show, and write a little.  Refresh.  Nothing.

(hold on, I need to check my email)

Still nothing.

Slowly, I am learning that the literary world requires something more of me than great writing; extensive patience.  I don’t imagine there would be any faster way to get rejected by both agents and literary magazines, than by harassing the editors for a decision.  So I remain silent (another challenge for me, I might add).

So, my Grand Master Plan has backfired on me.  I set out for immediate gratification, and instead I am getting an important lesson in the fine art of patience.  Instead of getting what I want, I am getting what I need.  I am learning to wait, without holding my breath too long.  I have submitted one short to three magazines.  I’ve only recieved one response since I began this journey to get published in February.  It was a rejection.  Nevertheless, when I opened my email that morning and saw a response from an editor, my heart jumped.  Someone, somewhere, had read my story.  Even learning that the story “was not right for the publication at this time” I was still elated.

Now I wait again.  One down, two to go.  It’s hard to say if I will still be elated and grateful for being read after three, four, or five rejections.  I am not that much of an optimist, but damn it, I am going to try.

January 20, 2009

Welcome!

handwriting1For those of you who know me, thanks for following me from one blog to the next.  For those who don’t, my name is Jennifer Astle (please, call me Jenn) and I’m a writer.  Although I have always been a “writer” in some form or another, the whole freelance business began when a friend of mine (and legal counsel) advised me to start a blog to occupy my spare time.  I had a lot of spare time because I was immigrating to the United States from Canada (I miss you all!), and thus began my freelance writing career.

As things progressed and I took on clients, I developed this website as my professional portfolio to market myself as a freelancer.  Eventually I became more and more focused on developing the professional side of things and less and less focused on my often flippant, quickly written blog posts that I started with.  As it stands now I will be writing regularly here, as opposed to there.

What’s the difference?  Well, it helps me to stay organized by keeping all of my work in one place.  It also encourages me to produce quality, well thought out blog posts on a variety of topics while also showcasing other work that I do.   One of my primary goals for 2009 is to get a “real” website.   My other goal is to start the process of getting my work published in print.  To that end I am focused on writing my first novel (a sample of the very first page is available on the Writing Samples page) and can proudly say I just broke 20,000 words.  I am also seeking out a variety of literary magazines interested in publishing my short fiction.

So, that being said thanks for visiting and I hope that you will be back!

– Jenn

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