Thursday, 29 November 2012

The man with the bag cometh!


It's nearly that time of year again, when the world goes mad and that ancient festival of spending more money than you've got and eating and drinking more than you should will be upon us. Some people do cling on to the true meaning of Christmas for all that they are worth, but, I fear they are a dying breed.
This isn't going to be a lecture on the philosophy and theology of Christmas and religion, you may be relieved to hear. What I want to remind you is that this is your time to make giant hints as to what you want for Christmas. A writer's fortune is rarely prosperous so we need to take as many chances as we can to stock up without paying for it - no I don't mean shop lifting.

I few well placed reminders: a full note pad here, a pen that's run out there, a picture of the latest Macbook on the coffee table, a few noises of admiration and longing when the advert for a new DSLR camera comes on the telly - whatever it is that you need to help your freelance writing business along, will have to be positioned if you have any hope of the non-writer present buying family member or friend getting them for you.

Of course, there will also be inspiration abound for new articles to be had during the run up to and the festive season, whether you have religious leanings or not. So, in between all the cooking, cleaning, eating, drinking, telly watching and the rows with your relatives, don't forget to keep your note book handy and write it all down: the smells, the sights and sounds, the tastes, the feelings, the touch, the emotions and all that goes with it and let the article ideas flow like wine!

It might be too late to submit something in time for this Christmas but come August 2013, you'll have a treasure chest of Christmas based articles to pitch and get published so you can invest that money into Christmas 2013!

Don't forget to head out and about as well to capture lots of photos of the season: towns, cities, villages, the countryside and seaside all have their jewels in Winter that you can use to illustrate your future Christmas articles.

Happy idea gathering

Julie xx

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Every little helps

There are thousands of magazines out there. Magazines that need articles for every issue. The editors are not going to source all their articles from in-house readers. What they want are freelance writers who can give them what they want: good copy. Go to any newsagents or supermarket and you will find row upon row of racks of magazines on any subject you care you imagine.

So it isn't beyond the realms of fantasy to imagine yourself picking up a couple of these magazines, taking them home, market researching them, think of an idea for an article appropriate for that magazine, pitching it, getting the okay from the editor, writing it, having it published and getting paid for it, is it?

Some writers, and I have been guilty as charged on this before, won't push themselves and their ideas forward to editors because they mistakenly think they can't write an article that the editors will buy. Well they can, if they do their homework and pitch it to the right person, at the right time, in the right way. Persistance is key.

It can also be good experience and a way in to magazines if you start with writing a letter to the letter's page. You could earn some money that way too. Every Little Helps - to borrow a well known supermarket's catch phrase!

Try it and see what happens.

Happy writing

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Get With It

Christmas is coming, The goose is getting fat and all that. But how do you really feel your writing has gone so far this year? Have you achieved everything you wanted to or nothing at all? Or are you, like me, somewhere in the middle: you've achieved some of what you set out to do but not as much as you would have liked?

Taking stock now of your writing achievements now, before the silly season grips you, will stand you in good stead for the coming year. If you take the time now to perform a post mortem on your article writing you will be able to see where you have come from with your writing, where you are now and where you want to be in the future. By dissecting what went well and what prevented you from doing better you can allow yourself to move forward intelligently by learning from your mistakes and taking on board what worked for you and what didn't.

In my case I've had a fantastic year with my article writing and achieved something I never thought I'd get - a regular slot in a writing magazine! I also had an article published in a national women's fitness magazine and attended my first ever writing festival. That's worth celebrating and them some!But I can't afford to rest on my laurels. No writer, whether experienced, professional or amateur can. There are a lot of writing goals I didn't achieve this year that I would have liked to and these are what I am focusing on now and in the coming year.

So have a think about your own writing career and what you can do in the New Year to carry your writing forward to where you want it to be. You can achieve your goals but what are you prepared to change to make that leap?

Happy writing
Julie xx

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Whacky Races

Do you remember the Whacky Races? There was Mutley and the Ant Hill Mob and Miss Penelope Pitstop all dashing about, desperately trying to outwit each other anyway they could? Doesn't it feel, sometimes, that as an article writer you are in some strange, psychedelic version of the Whacky Races?

There you are at the starting line, revving your engine. eyeing the competition. Everyone's keen to attract the attention of the editor who only has so much space for freelancers to fill. So you frantically scribble your pitch and send it off in a bid to get yours in first before the next writer pips you at the post. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't and most of the time you won't have a clue why your pitch A was accepted, yet Pitch B ricochets back to you within minutes of you jabbing 'send!' Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason. So you dust yourself off, restart your engine and re-enter the race amongst hundreds if not thousands of other Whacky Races Writers!  Best not to reason why and just go with it because you'll still be none the wiser. But doesn't it make it all more interesting and much more fun?

It's all part of the game .......

Which Whacky Races character are you?

Happy racing!

Julie xx