Thursday, 30 September 2010

mini success

Because my writing time has been reduced recently I've been sending little snippets out. The result of this is that I had a letter published in the local newspaper and a filler article published in the local school governor magazine. Nothing big or paid for but just enough to keep the writing flow going and give me  boost!

I've also started to send out my writing CV to magazines. I've sent one out so far and think I might send out a couple more. There is no harm in trying and it might get my foot in the door to at least show them I'm a serious writer who can deliver the goods. It might come to nothing but I'll try anything once! That's the thing with writing - you have to learn to take the risk of a) not being allowed to pitch to certain publications; b) being able to pitch but having them declined at every turn; or c) writing the article but being told it's not quite what they were looking for!  But there is always the chance that you will be successful - that's a risk I'm willing to take. What about you?

Happy writing


Monday, 20 September 2010

Small but beautiful

I had three surprises on the filler writing front yesterday (Why do they all seem to come at once?) When I was in the dinner hall at school,  one of the other lunch time assistants told me that she'd seen my beauty tip in Prima magazine (Nov issue.) That will be £25 coming my way soon then. When you consider that it's £25 for probably as many words it's not a bad gig! Prima and Essentials mag are always on the look out for tips etc, both general and themed. Have a look on their website, or better still, get the mags themselves and indulge yourself with a cuppa and some biccies while you do your 'research.'

The second and third surprises were both in the Nov issue of Writers' Forum. I had a letter in response to my previous article on NaNoWriMo and I supplied some quotes for Sally Quilford's column too on judging short story comps (thank you Sally!)

So not a bad day at all really. The only perplexing thing that happened in evening was when I went to meet the Morris Dancers at their practice session but they weren't there! I met a nice lady, though, who had also come - she'd been in their team a few years ago and wanted to rejoin them. We had a nice chat as we waited. Then we ventured to the leisure centre where we thought they might have gone instead . We had a giggle too. When we arrived at the leisure centre it was deserted.  A light was flickering and we could hear a faint whistling coming from down the long corridor. I said, "isn't this how really bad horror films always start! It was freaky! Anyway, the morris dancers weren't there either so we gave up and went home! They're probably down the pub somewhere.

Happy writing  - get those tips and fillers out there £25 is a printer cartridge or two or a couple of small moleskine notebooks  -  well worth the minimal effort!

Julie xx

Thursday, 16 September 2010

To Write or Not to Write is That The Question?

I've been thinking a lot about my writing recently. You'll note I said thinking about it and not actually doing it. Although I am writing, I'm not writing to pitch or try and earn money from it  -  well not in a direct sense. I am doing a lot of  'essay' writing for the teaching assistant course I'm doing, but no article or stories. But it's still writing isn't it? I still have to construct proper sentences, think about the words I use and the point I want to make in a concise and meaningful way. I'm varying sentence length, trying to make what I'm writing interesting to the reader (my assessor) who, for all intents and purposes is acting as an editor. If I don't make myself clear or include all the relevant points, or I start waffling, I won't pass the course. So although I'm not writing my articles or short stories I am still practising my writing skills, keeping my hand in so to speak.

My plan is to do as much of my course work as I can during the week and leave the weekends free to indulge myself in writing articles and short stories. The course finishes in January 2011 but I know I can get the course work out of the way much sooner than that. I have had such great support from the two teachers whose classes I go in and that has made all the difference. I've also been using my writing skills in the classroom, helping the kids to improve their writing/reading and it's been such good fun.

I am frustrated that I'm that I'm not doing as much writing as I was and I'm still disappointed that I was unable to make a living purely out of writing and had to go back to some paid work other than writing. But I can live with that at the moment. I love going into the classrooms and it's given me fodder for things to write   - we writers must always be alert to new writing opportunities! I don't think I'm the kind of person who can survive without going out to work albeit part time. I think I liked the idea and the flexibility of working purely from home as a writer but I missed the social side of interacting with other people and I certainly missed the money! There's a fine balance between having enough money and doing the kind of work you really want to do. I think I have the best of both worlds at the moment, even if I, temporarily, have to write more essays/coursework than my beloved articles/short stories.

Writing is about choices: we, to a certain extent,  choose what we are going to write - or what an editor wants us to write. We choose how much time we devote to our writing - sometimes we have more time and sometimes we have less. But we have to decide what we are going to write and when and how much time we can give to it. Sometimes life gets in the way and we just have to go with that and write when we can. It's no use to man nor beast if we think, 'I've got too much on this week so there's no point in me even trying to write as I haven't got the time to do it justice.' You have to make your choices and get on with it.

In the words of a famous sports brand  -  Just Do It! Oh and another motto, this time from a leading supermarket, I've found helpful  is, 'every little helps!'

Happy writing what ever form it takes and for how ever much time you have to do it in,

Julie xx

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Got an itch

I have this itch that I'm just going to have to scratch and it's all Writers' Forum's fault. If I hadn't have seen my article about NaNo in there in their October issue I would still be procrastinating and being indecisive about what to write next. As you know I have been concentrating on writing my short stories but now I really feel the need to get back to articles. So Writers' Forum have given me he kick I needed to get going again.

I had a successful year last year with my articles when my short stories didn't do as well as I hoped they would. But because I wanted to give the short stories another bash I stopped pitching and writing so many articles. I didn't have the time or the inclination to do them both justice. Now I've subbed some short stories, I'm once again scouring the magazines in the name of research to see any likely victims  -  I mean candidates and thinking about the kinds of articles I could pitch to them.

It's an essential activity for article writers to get out to the newsagents/ look on the Internet and look for new potential outlets for their articles,  even moreso in the current economic climate. A couple of magazines I've had my articles in before are full to the rafters with articles and so I've had some pitches rejected. But instead of deterring me, this has made me even more determined to widen my search and find mgazines that are open to submissions.

It's important for writers to reinvent themselves on occasions and write something they wouldn't ordinarily write. But needs must and writers need to be flexible in their approach to their work and write for the market that's out there not the market they would like to be out there. And that's where thorough research comes in.

It's not easy but neither is it impossible to get your articles published in this financial crisis. You just have to think a bit harder and wider about what editors want and become more inventive and creative with your article ideas. Yes, there are thousands of other writers trying to do the same thing as you which means it's highly competitive, but you musn't let that put you off. Up your game and act like the professional writer even if you don't feel like one! It's all in the mind is a good motto to use here. Think positive, think professional and be productive - you won't succeed every time but every article you get accepted is an article further toward your writing goals.

I was thinking of having regular question and answer sessions on here. What do you think? I thought we might find it helpful as there are things I wish I'd known before I started writing articles and even now I don't know everything and I never will! So if you have a question about article writing, put it in a comment and we'll see what happens!

Best of luck and keep going!

Julie xx