Good News

rainbow on butterhill

rainbow on butterhill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a very disheartening week, so it did my spirits good to have a pleasant surprise in my email inbox late last night. I wrote an article early last year and was notified it was accepted. It wasn’t known what issue it would be published in and as time went by, I just assumed it wouldn’t be published.

It was…it finally was and can be found in the May/June issue of Today’s Caregiver magazine! 🙂 The article is “Making Prescription Refills Easier” on page 28. If you click on the digital magazine and go to the table of contents, then the title of the article can be clicked to go to it easier(if you want to read it… 🙂 ).

This is an incredibly short post, but will hopefully be posting more again soon. I’ve come across several interesting things over the past few days I’d like to share. 🙂

Writing What You Know

There is much to be said for the saying, “Write what you know”. If we’re writing about things we know about, those are likely to be the things we are passionate about, hence it will probably be  better writing and very interesting reading . As a reader, I love reading something I can tell the writer has a lot of passion for, so it works. It’s not boring writing.

I’ve been thinking about this some lately. There are many things I think I’m overlooking. I’m missing the mark and not writing about the things sitting in front of my face that I truly “know” about. I love to cook, especially baking and I crochet a lot. I enjoy blogging. I use herbs and aromatherapy every single day. I’m a caregiver for a family member.

Those are just a few of the things I can list that I do on a normal basis. What I need to do is think what I can do with that list? Well, having a sick spouse, too much time on my hands, and a bit of depression is not always conducive to thinking clearly. Given enough time, however, I am sorting myself ought of the fog I’ve been in and coming up with ideas. (Knowing you can’t just do nothing forever can also give you a swift kick in the pants for incentive.)

This week I have begun to write more, which I’ve desperately been needing to do. I’ve had some days I wasted away my time with online social media, like pinterest . My time online has not been a total loss though, as I’ve discovered some great recipes to try out and found many places I could possibly write guest blog posts. I’ve even applied to a couple of writing jobs found at FWJ(Freelance Writing Jobs).

Here’s a list of a few possible writing projects I need to be working on :

* Guest blog posts (possible topics – crochet, sewing, craft projects, nursing, caregiving)
* Ebook about caregiving
* Local magazines – submit recipes
* Craft magazines – could get creative and write a pattern for original crochet creations

If you are in a writing rut or just starting out, maybe a good place to begin is make a list or a couple of lists. I’m a list nut! 🙂 One list is a list of every topic you know something about and your talents. This will give you ideas for writing. The next list is just start a list of everyplace you find you may be able to find homes for your writing, then get writing.

I haven’t figured out a good method to organize the information yet, but I do like to print out writer’s or submission guidelines for those places I’m interested in submitting my work too. For now, I keep them in a basket with a cloth liner. Maybe I need to look at some kind of notebook system. If you have a way that works for you, please share and if I get it figured out, I’ll do the same.

Any thoughts or ideas welcome… 🙂

Happy writing… 🙂

Rainy Day Mish-mash

raining sheets

raining sheets (Photo credit: mytimemachine)

It’s raining outside and it’s wonderful!  I love hearing it as it falls on the roof and pitter patters against the sunlight.  Fortunately I am appreciating the rain, which we’ve greatly needed.  I’m not usually so appreciative as the rain often makes me sad for some reason.  One of those great mysteries of me.  I’m also glad that though it’s raining outside and continually seems to keep raining more in my life, somehow I’m still looking out for rainbows.

Just thought I would share some about several random things, hence the rainy day mish-mash.  One is something just for fun, because everyone can do with something to put a little smile on their face.  I know I can.  I ran across a comic for writers yesterday during my surfing the net time and got such a kick out of it.  The strip was called Will Write for Chocolate by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  I loved the title and think it’s brilliant, but go check it out.  Chocolate?  I am so there.  🙂

I’m still working on the freelance writing, but it seems to be taking a bit to get going.  Baby steps one at a time.  I’ve worked on an idea list for articles this week.  There are submissions still out that I’m waiting to hear back on.  Yesterday I finally ordered some business cards through Vistaprint.  I’ve been considering the thought of making a website, which seems everyone in the writing world recommends having, but so far have decided against it.

This week has gone by in a blur as I’ve been working a little more.  I am no where near being one of those people blessed to be able to write full time.  I would love to be and will continue plodding away on writing projects as I enjoy it so much.  I have spent a bit of time working on my main WIP, a memoir, and now have a whopping 24,100 words!  It’s my pet project right now just because I feel I’ve got to finish writing it while things are still reasonably fresh in my memory.  Time can make things a little less painful, but it seems to make memories a bit fuzzy.

Another big accomplishment for this week was I finished my submission to Memoir Journal.  They have a contest for memoirs in prose or poetry and there is no entry fee, which works for my minimal budget at the time.  The deadline is August 16th.  The downside is winners will not be announced until March 1st of next year, so a very long wait and I thought a few months was a long time.  I had been working on a memoir in prose for a while and was glad to get it done in time.

There are a few other projects on my to do list in the next couple of weeks.  One thing I think will help to keep me focused a bit is to put up a dry erase board near my computer and write a list of potential writing contests as well as other writing projects to work on with the deadline dates if they have one.  The other thing I need to do is find a writing group and/or an editor or something as I feel I desperately need some feed back on some of my writing.  The writing group I had gone to for a few times fizzled and is no longer in existence.  Any ideas?

Best wishes and happy writing… 🙂

 

Weeding Through Freelance Writing Resources

MSI laptop computer

MSI laptop computer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m still working on one day being able to earn more money through my writing, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I’m not giving up and it is a work in progress, but at least I’m learning along the way and I’m enjoying writing.  This week my plan is to go at submitting some more of my work with renewed vigor as well as continue working on my memoir.

I thought I’d share some of my experiences so far with certain freelance writing resources.  Time is valuable and I like to make the most of it.  I spend enough time keeping up with email and social media(facebook and pinterest), so I don’t want to spend more of my valuable time uselessly searching for freelance jobs in difficult to find places.  I’d rather spend my time writing.

Please keep in mind these are just my opinions based on my personal experiences.  Without further adieu,here are the lists :

Favorites

  • Yahoo! Contributor Network – This is one of the first places I started submitting my writing to and is still one of my favorites.  You can choose assignments from the site, but I’ve had more success writing about my own topics.  I’ve earned between $3 to a little over $4 per article.
  • www.newpages.com – I love this site.  It has listings for literary magagzines, calls for submissions, and writing contests.
  • www.freelancewritinggigs.com – I check this site every weekday.  It has listings for freelance writing and blogging jobs.  I like the fact that if it’s available, it will have listed beside the job if can telecommute.
  • www.pw.org – Much information is available on the website, however, I receive Poets & Writers magazine monthly on my kindle.  It’s very affordable at only $1.25 per monthly issue.  It has helpful articles, calls for manuscripts, writing contests, and more.
  • www.fundsforwriters.com – I receive two of the free newsletters, Funds for Writers and FFA Small Markets, weekly in my email box.  The newsletters have articles, paying markets, and contest information.
  • www.writersweekly.com – I receive this weekly free newsletter on Wednesdays in my email box.  This newsletter has articles, paying markets, and freelance job listings.

Not Worth My Time

  • www.freelancer.com – I signed up and created a profile.  This site has a 30 day free trial and afterwards it is $4.95 per month.  I canceled before my trial period was up.
  • www.craigslist.com – I’ve used this site to successfully find furniture and farm animals in my area, but have not had any luck finding writing jobs.  Some of the other freelance resources above already list freelance jobs found on craigslist, so it’s also a case of why duplicate work.
  • www.textbroker.com – I found a suggestion for this site in an eBook a freelancer wrote, but have been sorely disappointed.  It took a bit of doing to get started with the site including submitting a copy of my driver’s license.  I’ve also been checking the jobs daily and have found nothing of interest in the writing assignments.  Most of the available topics would bore me out of my skull and I’d rather take my chances elsewhere.

Never Stop Writing

“Rejection”, the dreaded word for many writers.  Simply put, whatever the piece of writing, it is not wanted by whomever it was sent to for publication.  It could be for any reason from poorly written to not right for this publication at this time.  I’ve been fortunate and so far only received nicely worded rejection letters.  I have read some writers have, at times, received much less than kind rejection letters.  Rejection is part of being a writer.  At least if I’m being rejected, it means I’m trying and trying takes a certain amount of courage.

I like to think I’m not too thin skinned.  I don’t go running for the covers and crying upon receiving a rejection letter.  I don’t stop writing.  I don’t stop trying to submit my writing, but I do find I slow down.  Maybe I shouldn’t, but it’s like I find myself wanting to know that at least one thing I have written and sent out into the world will be accepted before I continue sending more forth.  So far I have received 6 rejections and still have 8 pieces of my writing I’m waiting to hear back on.

Sometimes it’s funny how many coincidences happen on days I’m thinking about something.  Yesterday was just a down day.  I needed a little encouragement and motivation.  While reading my email, I just happened onto a couple of things that encouraged me as a writer.  I thought I’d share them with you just encase you need to add to your supply of motivation.  (Much lower calorie way to do it than the dark chocolate bundt cake with dark chocolate icing I made yesterday afternoon, but boy was it tasty.)

One was a post by a freelance writer named Connor Rickett I read yesterday.  He shared a story of how one of his short stories was rejected, but it led to him getting a paid assignment.  Goes to show sometimes rejection can lead to good things.  In the same blog post he also shares a video of another writer, Neil Gaiman, giving an encouraging commencement address to a group of students.  Mr. Gaiman shared about his aspirations of being a writer and striving towards your dreams.  All of this can be found on Connor’s blog – Cities of the Mind.

The other bit of writing encouragement I ran across was on BubbleCow.  It was a post titled Famous Writers Who Were Rejected Before Making It Big.  It contained a list of 11 famous authors who faced rejection.  Yes, the failures of others does make me feel better.  It reassures me that many writers whose works are quite well known today faced rejection, often in record numbers of rejection slips, before their book or other piece of writing was accepted.  This knowledge helps me to continue to try, even in the face of rejection.

Life continues on.  I keep striving to improve my writing and learn more about the craft of writing.  Yesterday also made me think of the song Tomorrow, which Little Orphan Annie sang in the movie.  I like the hopeful part of the song, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow…”  I’ll keep hoping and not give up.  I can’t.  I’ve found I like writing too much.  If you’re a writer at heart, no matter if you’ve had something published or not, never stop writing.

 

Tips and Markets for Personal Essays

The last couple of weeks have been very productive and I am starting to feel more comfortable writing queries and making submissions to magazines.  Not so comfortable that I don’t want my resource books near for guidance, but more comfortable none the less.  I’ve been submitting personal essays and poetry.  Made a couple of mistakes, but I’m learning still.

One mistake was easily remedied with a quick phone call.  Not a major mistake, but accidentally left the SASE out of a submission.  Luckily just wasted one stamp.  Found out just needed to reprint my submission, pop it in an envelope with the SASE, and mail everything out again.  The other mistake was one of those lost in electronic translation ones.  A place I was submitting to needed the file in .rtf instead of .doc.  I submitted it after reviewing it looked right on my end, but found out upon opening it after it was sent that the spacing in a couple of places was off.

Thought I would share a few resources with you I’ve found useful as I’m learning about personal essays and narratives.  I’ve found I really enjoy this kind of writing and for me it flows so much more easily than fiction.  I found an article, Profitable Personal Essays by Dawn Goldsmith at Writers Weekly ezine, which includes a list of the authors five favorite places to submit personal essays.  Another useful article was Tips to Help You Publish Your Personal Essays at Writer’s Digest.  The site Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow has a great list of Paying Markets for Personal Essays.

Quick Tips for Submissions :

  • Visit the actual magazine website to make sure it is still in existence and accepting submissions
  • It is preferable to become familiar with the magazine before attempting to submit to it; some will provide a sample issue for a fee and many have links to published works on their websites
  • Check if submissions are accepted year round or there is a specific submission period
  • Read and follow submission instructions closely, may accept via postal mail and/or electronic submissions
  • Remember to include SASE if requested
  • Check if accepts simultaneous submissions; if your work gets accepted by one magazine, then politely notify the other magazine

As I’ve been researching in books and online to find homes for some of my writing, I’ve been keeping a list of places to possibly make submissions.  May be a personal opinion, but I would also say to make sure the possible future home for some of your writing is a place you feel is compatible with your values prior to submitting your work.  Here’s my list of places to makes submissions to :

Do you have a favorite writing tip you’ve learned along the way?…


Nomination for My First Ever Blogging Award

Just this morning I found out I was nominated for the Liebster Blogging Award by AlreadyNotPublished. Thank you so much!  She has a great blog.  It is the first award I have ever been nominated for on my blogging.  Still feel like a newbie to the blogging world, so I hope I’m doing this right.

Liebster Blogging Award

Rules which go along with the award are :  Thank your Liebster Blog award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.  Copy and paste the award to your blog.  Nominate 5 others for the blog award(Sorry if you’ve already been nominated before and I didn’t know it).  Lastly, list 10 random things about yourself.

My top 5 favorite blogs (Hope you’ll go check them out!) :

  • Honesty, blog by TheOthers1, which I truly appreciate for her forth right honesty and quirky sense of humor.  She is a writer as well.
  • Linneann, blogged by herself, a mother with a heart of gold and is also currently working on writing a book.  Love the blog because it connects with my mother’s heart.
  • Kat Collins, a freelance writer, whose blog I enjoy for the encouragement and inspiration for writing.  Have also enjoyed many of her Wednesday writing prompts.
  • On Becoming a Wordsmith by Elaine Cougler, who is another writer whose blog has been a source of inspiration and valuable for discovering resources for writing.
  • Last, but not least : Be Kind Rewrite by Stephanie and TragicPete, whose blog I have particularly enjoyed for their weekly Inspiration Monday writing prompts.

10 Random Things About Myself :

  • I will only drink milk out of a glass, no plastic.  On rare desperate occasions I will drink it out of a paper carton.  Love milk and it is essential for chocolate.
  • Love chocolate.  Think it definitely needs to be classified as a food group and is one of the major destressers in my life.  As much as I like chocolate, however, I do not particularly care for white or dark chocolate.
  • My favorite forms of exercise are swimming and yoga.  I love the water, even though the only things I know to do are the doggy paddle and swimming on my back after a fashion.  I don’t know how to do the front or back stroke and don’t like to swim underwater either.
  • I enjoy making homemade lye soap and using different essential oils to give it fragrance.  My favorite scent is lavender.
  • I’m directionally impaired.  Meaning I get lost incredibly easy.  I joke I can get lost in parking decks, but it’s not so much of a joke as I once was and had to have the security guard drive me around to find my car.
  • I was born in Germany as both my parents were stationed over there in the military.
  • Historical romance books are my favorite type of fiction to read just for fun.
  • Love studying about herbs and growing them in my herb garden.
  • Like to paint my fingernails and toenails in a matching shade of pink.  Pretty petunia is one of my favorites and a bright pink is about as wild as I go.  Once I did get adventurous and painted my nails red for a party.
  • I had a planned homebirth with midwives for the birth of my daughter.

Sorry this was so long.  Hope you made it this far and if you did, thanks for reading this!  Not my normal post about writing, but it was fun to do.

 

Dove Into Writing First Magazine Query

Magazines to read

Magazines to read (Photo credit: Longzero)

A few months ago I did submit some of my writing to different places, but never wrote a query letter.  One was a poem entered in a contest for the Carolina Woman magazine, which I did not win but did receive back a very nicely worded rejection letter.  The other has been primarily writing articles and submitting to the Yahoo! Contributor Network since February.  I’ve been writing other articles and researching magazines I am interested in making submissions to, but honestly I think I have felt a little intimidated about writing query letters.

My writing doesn’t make me hesitate as I just write.  Maybe I’ll hope someone likes it, but I don’t think about it too much.  It’s not that I don’t care about the audience who may be reading my writing.  I think it’s just I’ve spent so much of my life trying to make other people happy and often being quiet about things that my priority is speaking up even if some one may not like it or agree with it.  Sometimes it’s something I’m writing from the heart.  Other times it can be something I have to share I’m interested in, something I learned, or maybe something from my life.

Query letters on the other hand feel like one of those nice tidy things which if not done correctly like a form you fill out at the DMV office can lead to the demise of your writing.  Hence my trepidation.  Some things procrastination does not improved and just holds you back, so I decided to just jump in yesterday.  Hooray, nice deep breath, I can officially say I have written my first query letter and begun in earnest to work on submitting some of my writing.

Through all of the reading I’ve been doing the last few months, there are a few basics I recall to query letters.  A big one, which I am floored to learn not all people do, is to make sure to read submission guidelines and follow them.  Another point is let your writing stand out by itself, but stick to the classics when it comes to a query letter and don’t try to make it stand out too much.

It’s not the time for creativity with a query letter on neon green paper and an unusual font.  It’s best to use good old fashioned standard white paper and a font usually accepted such as arial or times new roman.  A last point is just as you try to grab your reader’s attention, you want to grab the attention of the editor right away, so put an interesting idea or the “hook” of your article in the first paragraph.

There is a good article How to Write a Query Letter on the PoeWar website.  In the beginning there is a list I really like of some of the advantages of writing query letters, which are worth considering as I’m learning some magazines do not require query letters.  I did some of both yesterday.  A few poems were submitted to one magazine without a query letter, but I submitted two stories to another magazine with a query letter.

What’s your favorite tip regarding query letters for submitting your writing?

Reassessing Goals

Goal setting: creates a future

Goal setting: creates a future (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

Every now and then it can be a good thing to reassess goals.  See if the original goals you have set are being met, if the goals need changed, or if the goals need totally removed from your list.  I have decided since things have changed in my life it is time for me to reassess the goals I set regarding my writing.

Originally when I first started this blog I was completely unemployed and attempting to begin freelance writing.  Recently I have been able to find a job, which is nice as I feel some of the pressure is removed from writing to make sure it earns money.  This is a two edged sword per se and may also be a bad point.  Either way, I guess the main point is at least I am still motivated to write and still working on freelance writing.  Temporarily I also have another side freelance job I am working on from home.  It is not writing, however, but is internet research.

I love to read, so the goal I set of reading two books a month is one I think I’ll keep.  Though I haven’t kept up with the goal of two blog posts a week, I still think it is a goal that can be met, life has just kind of got in the way.  Another goal I want to add is to start submitting my writing, which I still have yet to do and I have several things ready.  Just need to try to find homes for them.  The article writing goal is one I am deleting from my list as my priorities have changed and two articles per day was too much with the other projects.  I’m still writing articles, but have also expanded to working on other things.  Poetry, personal essays, and a few books are the writing projects topping my list these days.

Any good tips for reassessing your goals or helping to meet the goals you have set?

Organizing to Write

Organized

Organized (Photo credit: Librarian by Day)

Okay, I watched too much “Blue’s Clues” with my daughter when she was a toddler and use the phrase, “handy dandy notebook.”  Can’t help myself.  Well, while perusing my handy dandy notebooks and books about writing, I have been using a bunch of those little flag post its to mark important or interesting things.

I am almost done with the library’s copy of the 2010 Writer’s Market book.  Love the book, but will have to wait to own a copy when budget will allow.  The past few days, I wrote down information for the magazines from the pages I had flagged as possibilities for places to submit articles.  I didn’t write down everything.  Just wrote down things like title, web address, type of writing accepted, word limits, and if accepted poems.

Things do change with time though.  I went to some of the websites and some magazines are no longer accepting submissions or no longer pay for submissions.  I’m updating the list as I go, noting changes, and have gone online to print submission guidelines for some magazines I am really interested in submitting to in the near future.  

In the notebooks I flagged interesting tidbits as well as things I had written, but had not typed into the computer yet.  I’m a little guilty of writing things randomly through my notebooks such as a website link in the margin if I run across an interesting one.  So another project I have done the past few days is try to transfer a lot of the information from my notebooks into the computer in a more organized manner.  I have a form I’m filling out for article writing ideas, a list of writing contests, and another list for helpful websites.  The system I use is after I type the information from a page I flagged, then I remove the flag.  Hopefully, eventually the notebook will be flag free.     

I have still been writing this week, but not really submitted much of anything.  It’s okay though, because I feel the time I am spending on getting somewhat organized will pay off in the long run.  If nothing else, but a little sanity. 

I’ll leave you with a link.  I’ve played around with a few different free organizers and found one I like.  It is HiTask at hitask.com.  It is free, has a calendar, and I can do a to do list for each different project I have I am working on. 

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