Saturday, 24 July 2010

I know there's a recession .......

........and everything, and we writers, along with every other profession/job/occupation in the country can expect things to slow down, but has anyone else got the article writing heebiegeebies? You know what I mean: you take a look on the newsagent's shelves, as every budding good writer should, searching desperately for inspiration and a few new outlets to try your luck with but you draw a blank. You clamp your hands over your ears and shout LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA  every time you hear about magazines folding, publishers going bust and editors not taking any new commissions this side of Christmas - perhaps longer (gulp). What is a writer to do?

Regular visitors to this blog will know that I am, by nature, an upbeat, positive writer, bursting with enthusiasm and motivation. But I am worried about what the future holds for we freelance article writers and for those yet to be published. How is it all going to pan out I wonder? We can try and comfort ourselves with the knowledge that people will always read and editors will always need  writers to provide them with stuff for their readers to read, and there will always be topics to write about. But with many magazines limiting their writing to in-house ( GASP - that's a swearword for freelancers!) just what can we do to 'recession proof' our writing?

The answer to this is not easy. But giving into our fears and thoughts that the markets for our writing are diminishing by the day and so it's not worth us bothering to write or send our articles off to editor, is not an option - or it shouldn't be. In the words of Corporal Jones 'Don't panic Mr Mainwaring!' That should be our mantra I think. Keep pitching, keep writing and keep sending our work out there. If one editor says no, try another one and another one until you've exhausted all your options. Keep searching the magazine racks for new outlets - they are out there if you look hard enough. Don't be afraid to approach the editor of a magazine you haven't heard of or considered before. Be brave and take a shot at it - you've got nothing to lose. New titles will spring up from time to time too. All is not lost. Only those who give in to their apathy and belief that this recession spells the end of their writing career will see it happen  - a self professed prophecy?

It isn't going to be easy but I believe that perseverance is part of the key as is being doubly thorough in your market research and keeping your writing standards and presentation high. This will increase your chances of success. If an editor is presented with umpteen different manuscripts to choose from ,they will most likely go for the one that is well written and well presented. So don't let that slide - even though your enthusiasm and hopes for your chances of being published are half way down that slide with your knuckles white from  clinging on to the safety handles for dear life.

Have some faith in your writing and your ability to adapt your writing skills to whatever writing opportunities are out there and you may be surprised!

Happy adapting your writing

Julie xx

Friday, 16 July 2010

No Man's Land

I'm in a bit of a dip with my article writing at the moment. I pitched two ideas this week but both were declined. One was too close to a series of articles they run already (tut, tut, tut, I should have spotted that before I pitched.) The other the editor had already comissioned a similar series of articles on. So I know with one of them I wasn't far off the mark. That's encouraging at least!

I've been up to watch and talk to the Morris dancers twice now and I'm just waiting for a couple of them to agree to have interviews with me and I can then start writing the articles. I've had a fabulous time with them and have met some great characters, so I'm looking forward to writing about them. I'm thrilled they agreed to let me in. Having a couple of articles I've already had published ready to show them really helped  -  so that's my top tip of the week: take a portfolio of your work along to show them what you can do. It shows them that you are professional (even if you don't feel it) and are capable of getting in print.

Having been out and about in Shropshire recently, taking notes and photos on my local area, I think it's about time I get a move on and actually wrote something up on them! Oh if only I had more hours in the day, or I made my writing more of a priority. It's difficult though isn't it? I know - excuses, excuses!

Have a great weekend. It's Wrekin Writers' meeting tomorrow morning - something I'm looking forward to. I always find my writing enthusiasm and motivation tanks are filled to overflowing when I've been to my writing group meeting. They are just a little bit low for my liking at the moment! What I need is another sale.
But if I don't do the writing and work hard at it, it won't happen. Time to get my skates on.

Happy writing


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Out And About Again

It has to be said that there is something about getting an assignment finished for my journalism course and posting it off that gets the creative juices flowing again. I've said before that I've struggled with finding the time and the inclination to complete this course. I started it last October and I'm only on Assignment four of fifteen! Having no deadlines is one of the problems, I think!

I haven't been as enthusiastic about my article writing as I usually am for a while now and I think despondency had set in which had led to inertia. All that changed last night. I had the good fortune to go and watch some local morris dancers who practice just up the road from where I live at the local school. And what an experience it was! They were great and I managed to interview one of the founding members who had come up from Devon. I'm going again next week to get more interviews and, hopefully, some photos.

I'm well on my way with assisgnment four, of which an article about the morris dancers will be part of. I just have to get my priorities back into sync and  push forward with giving more emphasis and importance on my writing rather than some of the other stuff in my life that I can afford to either let go or put on the back burner. Prioritising what we want in our lives is a big part of our writing. Life will always get in the way and if we want to be published it's up to us to make the best of the writing time we have.

So over the next 2.5 weeks before the schools break up for the 6 week's hols I shall be finishing off assignment four and pitching more articles - I also have four short stories that I need to edit and send out. Busy, busy, busy! I'd rather have a lot of writing ideas and a couple of projects on the go than none at all, though!

Happy writing

Julie xx