I've sent a couple of short stories out there and so now the frustrating wait for a verdict from the magazine editors starts. I'm sure we've all been there/are there. You send your work off in a flurry of excitement and expectation which soon transforms into agonising anxiety and frustration as you chew your finger nails down to nothing while waiting for that all important letter/e-mail/phone call that you know deep down isn't going to come for a while yet, if ever!
So while I've been waiting, I've been e-mail interviewed by another writer who is doing an article - that was fun and I hope the article finds a home. I've also managed to finish transcribing the last interview I did and will be planning a couple of articles from that. I've made a list of the magazines I think might be interested in an article (you need to think wide and obscure for this - don't just go for the old favourites.) This is where I find I really need to sit down, highlighting pen clutched in my hand and notes from the interview spread out in front of me on the floor and read through it, highlighting quotes and bits I particularly like. It helps me to have three blank sheets of paper too. These pieces of paper represent the three articles I'll be writing on the same subject aimed at three different magazines. I write the name of the publication I'm aiming for on the top of each sheet and then put any relevant quotes of bits of info I find on each sheet - ensuring that no two quotes/information bits are the same in any of the articles - unless I write the information in a different way for each article.
I always try and aim for three articles out of one interview - maybe more if I can stretch it! Once I have been through my notes and transfered the bits I want to use on each of the pieces of paper I have a cup of tea or two and then I start to form a plan for each article. I don't go overboard or in to too much detail here - it's just a short beginning-middle-end format where I note down what I want to say in the article and which order I want to say it in. I think about it at this stage so I can ensure I don't miss anything important and I can contact the interviewee if I'm unsure of anything rather than waiting until it's almost due for submission and having a mad panic about it! I might note down a few sentences that pop into my head that I'd like to put in the article so I jot them down before I forget.
Then I put it all away for a couple of days while I get on with something else. This gives me more time to think about it and I'm sure a lot is going on at a sub-conscious level in my brain too. Then I get it all out again and start looking at one of the plans. This is where I go either one of two ways depending on how much time I have and what mood I'm in. I either write the first draft of the article in longhand on paper, or I type it straight on to the computer. I have no preference as to which one I use really, but the typing option cuts down on time in the long run. It's already there on screen ready to edit rather than me having to type the whole thing from the hand written one.
I tend to do about three edits (I think three must be my magic number!) These edits take place over a week or two and I always put the 'finished' article away for at least two days to a week before getting it out for a final read through before I send it off. You'll be amazed what errors you can miss - even at that late stage, so it's important to do that final read through.
I'm hoping to get the first draft of one of the articles from this interview done by the end of the weekend. I have pitched the idea to two magazines but they said no thank you, so I'll go to the next magazines on my list and pitch to them until I run out of magazines. I will also use one of the articles for the journalism course I'm doing which I must get a crack on with as I have been neglecting it.
Whatever you're doing this bank holiday I hope your article writing is going well and the ideas are flowing. Keep at it!