If you're just breaking into the writing business, you may be wondering if you should start by offering your work to nonpaying markets. Do new writers need to serve some sort of "apprenticeship" in such markets before moving on to those that pay? Are nonpaying markets the only way for a new writer to break in?
Sadly, some writers don't ask this question at all, assuming (for various reasons) that the answer must be "yes." Too many talented writers end up wasting considerable time writing for free, unable (or refusing) to believe that they could be paid for their material.
At the heart of this issue are two misperceptions. The first is the assumption that one must somehow pay one's dues, "crawl before one can walk," in the writing business -- and that this involves working for no money. The second is the phrasing of the question itself. Instead of asking "Should I write for nonpaying markets?" many writers should be asking "When should I write for nonpaying markets?"
The Apprenticeship MythMany writers believe that one's career must begin with nonpaying markets. Many articles extol the value of such markets for building clips, enabling one (theoretically) to move on to paying publications. Writers often assume that without a history of publication, no paying market will consider their work -- and thus, that they have no real choice.
It isn't true. My own experience offers a good example: In the beginning of my career, I wrote exactly three "unpaid" articles. The first (my first-ever publication) was for a monthly community paper. The second and third were for a weekly newspaper -- and these were based on the editor's promise that he would pay me once he had a freelance budget. By my fourth article, he did, and I was earning a whopping $15 per feature!
Did those unpaid articles help me break into better markets? No. My first magazine sale was to Omni -- and was due to a chance meeting between my boyfriend (now hubby) and the editor at a conference. My second was to Quilt, and was due to a query that described my enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, crazy quilts. (My career has been a bit of a patchwork ever since...)
Omni, alas, is dead, but specialty magazines like Quilt abound, and are more than ready to welcome new, unpublished writers. All you need are a good idea, the ability to turn that idea into a well-written article, and the confidence to send that article to an editor. If you can do all of the above, many editors truly do not care whether you've been published before or not.
In short, if you have a choice between offering your material to a paying or a nonpaying market, there is no logical reason to choose the latter. The nonpaying market will always be there if you fail to sell the piece -- but it need not be your first choice, or even your second or third. If your goal is to become a paid professional, it's far better to exhaust all possibilities of payment before turning to markets that don't pay (rather than the other way around). After all, you only have to "break in" once to be considered a paid author!
When Should You Write for Free?Does this mean you should never write for free? Not at all! There are many excellent reasons to do so; it's just that "being new" isn't necessarily one of them. Here are some better reasons:
Ways to Profit from Writing for Free - Audrey Faye Henderson
Copyright © 2001 Moira Allen
Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer's Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts VictorianVoices.net, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer's cat. She can be contacted at editors "at" writing-world.com.
What I'm about to tell you will change your writing career. Most writers secretly hope their work might be good enough to be published, and maybe even to become a best seller. Most writers tentatively share excerpts with fellow writers hoping their dreams of glory will be affirmed, secretly fearing they will not.
In 2005, I published The Gift of Transformation. For readers, this book was a life changer. Again and again, readers tracked me down to tell me how the book altered their paradigms and opened the door for them to experience the love of God. One Christian ministry made the book required reading for its clients. When they did, they called me up and said things like: “I feel like I've known you all my life,” and “Everyone should read this book.”
Recently, just for the fun of it, I posted the book on a site trolled by editors, writers and wannabes. Within hours I had my first two comments. One person liked the book. The other person hated it.
Do I care?
Not one bit. Does it hurt my feelings that one reader hated it? No. Does it make my day that the other reader liked it? Nope.
Understand that it wasn't always like this. Years ago, I took my stories to writers' groups, and tentatively unwrapped my babies and read them aloud. I clung to every word of praise, while every criticism stung.
For one, I became a professional writer. I started by writing resumes for clients. How do you tell if a resume is good? Simple – it gets you the job you want. If it doesn't get you the job, I don't care who wrote it, it isn't any good to you. The resumes I wrote started getting people jobs. One person sent out 75 of his own resumes and got nowhere. He sent out one of mine, got the interview and got the job. Someone else was hired sight unseen out of state because of one of my resumes. Stories like these started piling in from my clients. After trial and error (and prayer), I figured out why my resumes worked, and why other resumes didn't. I created a system and I stuck with it.
It didn't take long before my resume writing ability got a reputation. People who were in a position to know told me that I was the best resume writer in our county of 400,000 people.
When you write for clients you discover that every client is different. The work one client loves the next client hates. I wrote smart, powerful resumes for everyone. Most clients loved my work, but some picked it apart. Because the client paid the bill, I often needed to make changes that weakened the resume. But, in the process, I learned to take my clients' criticisms with a grain of salt. Most of the time, they had no idea what they were talking about.
But sometimes they did. Sometimes they gave me ideas and suggestions that I still use today.
Writing for thousands of clients taught me to approach criticism in a professional manner. Today I write books for clients. In the process of writing a book, there are always revisions. I don't take any of those revisions personally. I wrote it one way; they want it a different way. Sometimes the revisions are not in my client's best interests, and I tell them so. But, ultimately, the client pays the bill, so I write it the way he wants it written.
Writing, more than any other endeavor, forces you to squeeze your soul through the keyboard and leave it on fragile piece of paper that anyone can rip to shreds. To be successful in this business – and it is a business – we must get our affirmation from Someone other than our readers and our critics. For me, that affirmation comes from Above. I've taken that stinging criticism to Him and learned the freeing truth: He likes me. I'm OK.
Does all of this mean that I don't listen to criticism and critique? Of course not. I'm meeting with a young copywriter tomorrow morning. I've asked him to go over an online sales letter I wrote. I know he will offer great suggestions, and I'm looking forward to hearing them. But, at the same time, I'm secure enough in my career to know that even if he hates what I wrote, I'm still a good writer. I'm a professional. I earn my pay. I deserve to be in print.
And here's my advice to you: Study your craft. Get good at it. Listen to suggestions. But don't take criticisms – or praise – too seriously.
(c) Dwight Clough
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author / Ghostwriter / Author's Coach
I’m sure you’ve read sentences like the following:
She dropped her eyes to the floor.
(Whoops! Hope they didn't get broken. But why remove them from their sockets in the first place?)
I raised my eyes to the ceiling.
(Hey, eyes, I’ve changed my mind. Come back down! I can’t see without you.)
His eyes bored into mine.
(Excruciating for me; probably not much better for him.)
He cast his eyes over the water.
(All right! All right! No more smart aleck comments. I promise!)
Her eyes fell from his.
He screwed up his eyes.
Her eyes fell on something half-hidden …
Her eyes clung to his.
His eyes were riveted on ...
Her eyes followed him.
She tore her eyes from his (or from anything else).
Well, I think you got the point long before you came to the end of those samples. But, just to give you a good laugh, here are a few that actually landed on editors’ desks:
Suddenly, all the eyes in the room rose from their fixed positions on the floor to stare at him.
The eyes of the braver animals ran down my neck and spine.
Of course, his eyes couldn’t help but embrace the pool in front of them.
Carlotta’s eyes dropped to the handkerchief in her hands.
At one time writers could get away with something that creates strange images in a reader’s mind if taken literally. However, these days most editors don’t like characters doing impossible things with their eyes and expect writers to mean exactly what they write. So go through your manuscript for the word “eyes” and make sure you haven’t written anything similar to the above. You might think it doesn’t matter—you’ve seen things like this so many times in published books that it must be all right—but to an eagle-eyed editor it looks dated at best, amateurish at worst. Besides, you don’t want your writing to be anything less than the best, do you?
Characters can also be made to do weird or impossible things with other parts of their anatomy:
Amy took her head out of the oven.
(Anyone for roast human head? Oh, sorry; Amy was actually CLEANING the oven?)
Jeremy crossed his left leg over his right and planted both feet firmly together. (Perhaps Jeremy is supposed to be an incredibly supple acrobat.)
Here’s another sentence structure that creates weird images in a reader’s mind:
He had an older sister who wore weird clothes, a shiny new bicycle and a large hairy dog.
But one of the worst I have ever seen (worst because it comes from a winning entry in the Katherine Mansfield Award 2001) has to be the following:
… a phrase soon attached to this hard undergarment in his daughter’s head.
I had to read this three times. The image of a boned undergarment inside someone’s head was so weird! I know all writers write things like this in their first drafts, but most of us fix them in subsequent drafts. It isn’t as though this one is difficult to fix: “…a phrase his daughter soon attached to this hard undergarment.”. Or: “…a phrase his daughter’s mind soon attached to this hard undergarment.” Also, “associated with” would be better than “attached”.
© L A Barker Enterprises
All rights reserved
Barking at Shadows (And Other Things Writers Do)
Is writing an insane way of spending our time?
My mother seems to think it is - even now that she's finally accepted that's what I do. And my dad too was bemused by my choice of career, seeing as, to him, actually reading an entire book is akin to having his fingernails forcibly removed.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said he felt reading was 'mighty bloodless' and no substitute for real life - but there again he was famously adventurous, a fact he used to advantage in his novels.
But I think most authors wouldn't agree.
On the opposite side of the spectrum you have Logan Pearsall Smith who said, "People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."
I can relate to that. I like my own blood to stay on the inside of my body - whereas I don't mind reading, and writing, about someone else's blood spilling all over the page in the fight for justice, truth or freedom.
It's not really about coming down definitively on one side or the other I think. A writer's life should ideally contain both - a good smattering of life's experience but also a commitment to sitting down and recording the insights gained through that experience.
I don't know about you but I don't need much to inspire me.
I rarely spend my time socializing with large groups of people. I know some people do this all the time - as though it's some kind of duty. But, to me, a good, ideal day is when nobody comes around and disturbs my 'zone' and I can get on with my own stuff.
But whenever I do spend time with others, especially out with large groups or at parties and functions, I find I'm storing up hundreds of ideas for scenes, stories and plots I want to later develop in my writing.
It can be exhausting because, instead of just enjoying myself and interacting with others, I find I'm taking mental notes about personality, relationships and how, seemingly inevitably, people coming together creates as much tension, distrust and conflict as it engenders happiness, joy and hope.
We're a funny species in that regard - and I find that writing helps me deal with all the absurdities as well as the profundities of life in a way that would drive me crazy if I couldn't do it!
I know that if I was ever at a loss as to what to write about, pretty much all I need to do is go out into the world and brace myself for interaction - and inspiration!
But yes, sometimes when I'm completely immersed in a fictional world, juggling my characters' lives and developing meaning I sometimes take a step back and think, "What am I doing? Why am I spending so much time on this? What's it all for?"
After all, they say that life on Earth will be gone in a few million years - and all the books we've written, all the music and movies we created along with it. Who's going to be there to say, What an amazing species, look at this great book by...
Sometimes I look at our dogs and I can see that their entire lives are made up of eating, sleeping, getting pats and for the most part, barking at shadows. And I think, what's to say that we humans aren't really just doing the same?
And then, when the insanity passes, I know that this is one of the main reasons we write - to rise above mere existence and create order, meaning and purpose.
Because, you see, the real reason why my mother doesn't think that writing is a healthy pasttime is that it can 'give you ideas', as she calls it, and not always good ones.
By which she means writing can encourage a person to question the very fundamentals of existence and perhaps realize, as many hundreds of serious philosophers before us have already posited, that there really is no meaning to life that we don't, as humans, merely attach to it.
All else, they say, is vanity.
But on the upside, writing, though to some a strange way of spending our time, is at least better than sitting around wasting our lives, doing drugs or having nothing better to do than hurt each other.
Writing forces us to make sense of things, to come to terms with who we are, how we act, react, and why.
To me, we need no real justification to write - no special reason - its purpose is implicit.
We simply write because we can.
Rob Parnell's Writing Academy
Many new writers are afraid of opening up and letting people know what they're like inside. They're nervous of allowing readers access to what they think and believe. They don't want people to see inside of them because they're afraid of criticism and ridicule.
How do you defeat this debilitating condition?
Because, really, that's what it is.
In reality, nobody important is going to attack you or your writing.
Even if they do, what does it matter? Critics display much more about their own failings when they attack others.
You need to get over any insecurities about the way you express yourself and find the strength to be honest, at least in your writing.
The fact is your writing will never truly soar unless you have the courage to let it all out and 'expose yourself' to the world.
Seriously, you will only ever be seen as 'original' if you learn to be open and honest in your writing. Your own slant on the world is what makes you interesting.
It's your individual sense of logic that makes your writing unique.
It's too easy to fall back on conventional wisdom and have viewpoints that you already know are accepted and lauded.
But if you're simply trotting out standard thinking on issues, you're not adding anything of value to the world.
You need to trust your own instincts - and write from the heart, whatever the consequences, most of which are imaginary anyway.
Here are a few tips on how to get used to being truly honest in your writing:
1. Write about the worst thing that's happened to you
Get it all out, every feeling, however low, every nuance of how it went down, who was to blame and how much you hate the people or events that caused it to happen.
2. Write about the most horrible thing you've ever done
It's easy for us to write about nice things and the good in ourselves but we hide from our other, darker side. No more - write down the most nasty vicious things you've ever thought or done. Don't be afraid, you don't have to show them to anyone - but you do need to purge those demons and get them out on paper.
3. List your crimes / sins in detail
All of us are a mess of good and bad. The facade we present to the world is an amalgam of what we want others to see. We all have bad thoughts and evil moments - it's how we deal with them that makes us who we are. Get it all out in the open.
4. Name your enemies and describe them
Really try to get inside the people you don't like - describe their physical appearance but also try to imagine how their minds work -and what they think about - especially about you.
5. Write about your embarrassing habits
Leave no stone unturned. No matter how bad, write about the things you wouldn't mention to a soul. Write down exactly what it is you enjoy - or hate - about those private little things you do when nobody's looking.
6. Write about your secret prejudices
We all have them - thoughts and notions that we know are not quite politically correct or acceptable, even to ourselves sometimes. But get them down on paper, explore your logic behind them and how they shape your more conventional notions.
Why Do This?
This process of getting everything out on paper is cathartic.
You'll feel lighter inside after you've done some of the above exercises.
You'll realize that you've been carrying around a lot of your dark side as baggage.
And that simply letting go on paper can really help you center yourself and free your mind.
Plus, you'll have taught yourself that 'exposing' yourself on paper is not quite as hard as you'd imagined.
There may even be some great pieces of writing there, important pieces that you can later rework.
But most of all, you'll have gotten used to being objective about your thoughts and emotions.
This new perspective will enable you to approach your writing with renewed energy and conviction.
And a determination to be more honest and forthright.
To become a better writer.
Rob Parnell's Writing Academy
When writing for publication it's important to keep your eventual reader at the forefront of your mind.
Writing primarily for yourself can be a lot of fun and, if that's what motivates you, then that's the best way forward, at least for the first draft.
Eventually, however, it's your readers who will decide whether you have written a book that they find satisfying, worthy, and purposeful.
It could be that, during the writing and editing process, some degree of self-discipline is required to fulfil the objective of writing a book that people actually want to read - and will enjoy reading.
My preferred approach is to write quickly and edit methodically later.
I find writing the first draft fast and furiously keeps the juices pumping and doesn't allow for too much time to reconsider word-choice, direction, momentum etc., until after the first draft.
Writing slowly, painstakingly, I find, tends to make me hesitant, overly self-conscious, and can sometimes lead to getting blocked if I can't decide little things, for instance, like where to put a comma.
Far better to get down as much as possible of the meat without questioning the creative process and stick with the decision to come back to the writing later when the first draft is fully written and complete. Even if the first draft strikes you as a mess.
I'm a great believer in having a plan and sticking to it.
So, having made the decision to write a thriller, for example, you should write with the intention of thrilling your reader. You need to know your purpose before you begin.
When writing your first draft quickly and without too much agonising, try not to get sidetracked into overdeveloping ideas that are not pertinent to your purpose. Stay as focused, in other words, as you can on the intention of your writing.
The key difference between writing literary work and genre fiction is, to me, about maintaining discipline.
Literary works may meander without purpose, hopping from one set of profound observations to another. This may lead your reader to feel rudderless.
Genre writing is often more focused on the needs of the reader and invariably requires more work in the writing and the editing from the writer.
To me, the important issues are clarity and direction. Your story or nonfiction piece should shine with a clear and obvious thrust that takes a reader on a focused journey.
A good narrative contains logic that can easily be followed by most readers, whatever their upbringing or education level. The author's job is to present an alternate view of reality that is compelling. Only text that is easily understood can be fully absorbed and endorsed by a reader.
The need to emphasize logic and sense in your stories may mean that your final editing process is ruthless. You may need to remove paragraphs, sections, and even chapters that have little or nothing to do with the story intention.
When editing, you will need to become acutely aware of how the writing flows from the point of view of the reader.
This is one of the main reasons why you should take time out between edits to distance yourself from your own work: you need to be able to see your writing from a reader's perspective.
If you can't manage that trick, show your work to others before you publish or submit to legacy publishers.
At the end of the day, writing for publication is about writing for other people: to entertain, to inform, and to help them transcend the norm. Your friends and fellow writers are often the very people who will tell you whether you're succeeding in that objective.
There's a whole new industry growing online that offers to edit your material for publication - for a price, of course.
But actually, to me, using a third party editor can cause long term problems for you. Not least because, unless you edit regularly, you'll never learn how to do it properly.
You really should be editing to the best of your own ability at all times.
This does not mean giving your work a cursory once over just after you've written it (as far too many new writers do.) No. It means studying every word, sentence, every piece of punctuation, grammar, every nuance and stylistic inflection - and to keep editing until you know for sure that what you've done is good enough for mass market consumption.
If you're not sure of the quality of your own work, join writers' critique groups.
Offer to read and give feedback on other writers' work in return for feedback on your own. Sure, show your manuscripts to your friends and family. They can be the most brutal critics, when they're not trying to be nice.
Other writers are most often the best critics because they're coming from a different place than you and they may have higher standards than even most readers.
Before you proceed to publication or submission, my advice would be that your thoroughly edited manuscript should be read by at least two or three other writers.
(c) Rob Parnell
Rob Parnell's Writing Academy
Many freelance writers, who write full-time, will agree that to survive within the publishing world, there are constant pressures to seek out new publishing outlets and to continually strive for the regular publication of new articles.
To the outsider looking in, life may seem sweet, with hours to suit, no trudging to work in the wind and rain, or working at a job you despise, however, freelancers vary rarely work the traditional 9-5 and working a five day week is almost unheard of. There are no steady hours in the freelance writers world. Any time off is often spent researching new material, absorbing daily events or at least mentally planning for the next interview. Even time spent away on holiday cannot prevent the Freelancer from planning the next travel article and taking notes and photographs of places of interest-just in case.
Professional writers work long and sometimes unsociable hours, in their attempt to make a living. Life is governed by possible rejections, disappointments and extreme highs when an article is finally accepted for publication. Freelance writers these days have to not only be creative, inventive, and resilient, but are expected to be experts in niche areas and able to market themselves to boot!
Although, most established freelance writers would not swap their existence for a steady 9-5 job, it is easy to see how some writers buckle under the severe pressure, living life by their wits, having to constantly budget their money for months ahead. They can become jaded with this continual pressure. The very source of their writing essence can dry up, leaving them struggling for both ideas and direction.
Freelancers become so used to writing for deadlines, targeting a specific house style, and then double-checking their facts that sometimes, it is easy to forget that writing can and should be fun.
For any writer who has been in this situation, then take heart; the all-important batteries can be recharged. Just take a step back momentarily and cast your mind back to the good old days. Writing stories or poems then were a labour of love, you wrote from the heart or from your soul, because mood dictated and not because you needed to make a profit.
It is time to tune in to good old inspiration.
Writing can be therapeutic; it can channel anger and sadness, releasing bottled emotions, allowing the tension to slip away as you become immersed within your story line.
In this day and age, freelance writers cannot afford to write for pleasure very often. Time becomes very precious, with rigorous schedules in place to enable them to succeed in a competitive market; ambitions often drive them to breaking point. But every now and then, it is important to re-evaluate their values and write purely for pleasure, for release and for satisfaction.
Think back to the moment when you realised you wanted to be a writer. What was it about writing that attracted you the most? Was it the unique opportunity to be able to glimpse into a different world or see life through another’s eyes? Did the lyrical qualities of poetry inspire you to put pen to paper or did you feel untapped creativity surging through your body as inspiration come to life?
When we write for ourselves, we do not need to worry about word count or house style, our tensions evaporate as we become one with our subject. When our creative juices are exhausted, we feel contented again. These words are not wasted, even if they may never be published, they are just ways of channelling your feelings and they enable you to remember, why you became a writer in the first place.
Hone your skill, perfect your art, but when life gets too much, take time out to lose yourself in your creativity and just write for pure pleasure.
(c) Annette Beveridge-Young
Writer's block...it happens some time to almost everyone that writes for any length of time. When it happens, where do you go for inspiration? Where's the stuff? Write about Network Marketing? Write about your Passion? Write about a product like Coffee? Write just about stuff?
In this day and age of system overload, it can be difficult to find something that is inspirational without having to wade through tons of information that is not only not inspirational, but downright depressing! Then you have to figure out what kind of inspiration would be useful. There is the spiritual kind of inspiration. There is the selling/business kind of inspiration. There is also the whole gamut of motivational information and speakers. Guess what? You can find inspiration for articles from any and all of these sources. Just start reading! Something will strike you.
Another good source for inspiration is quotations. There is nothing like reading a bunch of quotes. Once you find one you like, you can also find more information about the person that said it. That can lead you in yet another direction for inspiration. It is amazing how many quotes there are out there and even more amazing at how many times the quote may have been said by someone you have never heard about. Take the time to do a little research and found out about that person. After all, something they said has survived this long so they must have done something in their life that made people think that something they said was worth remembering. You can actually have quotes sent to you on a daily basis from a variety of sources and about a variety of subjects. Even if you don't use them in anything you write, they are interesting.
Books are a great source of inspiration. Granted reading books takes more time that just looking up quotes, but you can get inspiration for lots of different ideas. Books also give you an opportunity to learn about ideas more in depth than you can get just from a single quote. Reading a book also gives you time to process all the various ideas in the book and expand on the ones you find most relevant.
Magazines and E-zines are also a great source of inspiration. Subscriptions to e-zines are usually free. Everyday in your email box you can have topics for writing lots of articles and blogs. Since most of these e-zines are archived so it is easy to go back and read articles about specific topics. Regular magazines can be great inspiration as well.
Any of these sources can be used to help you past your writer's block and get you back on you way to writing. Who knows, maybe someone out there is looking to your articles for inspiration!
(c) Robin Rushlo
"Dr. Robin Rushlo", is a well known MLM Radio personality and is nationally recognized as an expert in the network marketing business.
Writers writing about writing may seem to be a highly conceited act. Since I am not reeaaally a writer, or at least I don't claim myself to be one, I guess me giving tips on writing can be taken casually. Preferably with a pinch of salt. I may not have contributed much to the world of print but I do know a thing or two about being a connoisseur for writing. Apart from blogging and writing articles currently, I used to write award winning poems and short stories during my earlier days.
Overtime everyone develops a style of doing something; anything. For writing, I know I have a certain style by now, though there is way too much room for polishing up.
The initial stage is the creative process which is something that we do not need to understand. There is nothing to understand because creativity does not have to make sense.
Creativity starts with a feeling. The kind of feeling to do something on an instinct. Artists, just like writers, start off by doing a piece of work randomly. It may not make any sense for a start, but at most times it triggers off a new idea in the artist's mind to create something creative. Same thing happens to writers, initial works may be shown the path to recycle bins but end up being useful by sparking off something of value in the writer's mind. Probably that is why recycle bins are named as such, to be recycled. Anyway, once we get an idea, we have to grab it quickly, just like grabbing a seat in an extremely crowded bus, and hold on to it in order to use it.
The creative process may seem complex. To ease the complexity we can simply develop the good old habit of reading. Actually not can, but we should read. Unless we read, we can't write. It is as simple as it gets.
The next simple, or maybe not so simple, task is to write frequently. As frequently as possible as much as time permits. Okay that seemed like a redundant statement but you get the point. The more we write the lesser the chances of getting a writer's block. When I mention writer's block, I don't mean getting some column to write in a magazine but I am refering to a mental block in terms of writing. The more we write, the more we learn to write in a fluid manner and develop a style of our own along the way if we have not got one already.
As we continue writing, we will slowly discover our voice. When that happens, we get to know about ourselves better.
Oh and one more thing, of course the nitty gritty details like grammar and spelling errors have to be avoided. That's right, totally avoided. For people like me *ahem*, it has become a habit long ago but that is because I made sure I was conscious of that. Proofreading is of high importance. Proofreading one more time after proofreading is of high recommendation. Most people don't enjoy it but fortunately I do.
Speaking of which, I just got to know some time back that there is actually a job for proofreading alone. Hmm, I am seriously considering it. Anyway, if you find the above useful, try it. If you don't, hmm, try it anyway because there is something to be gained along the way I am sure.
(c) - Thanaseelan
http://www.worthofwordplay.blogspot.com to visit his main blog. Also check out the categories on his blog.
by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
Three years ago, I asked writers in a discussion list the things they do to unblock themselves. Here are some of the responses I received:
1. Forget what I'm working on at the moment, put on some
Springsteen and curl up with something written by
Hemingway. (Yeah, I know, it's a strange combination.)
2. Stand up, get a mug of hot chocolate and watch a rerun
of "The Simpsons." (Amit K.)
3. I do housework which eventually throws my imagination
back in gear because I hate housework. (Rita H.)
4. Go for a walk. I think about the piece I am working on
and play with scenes and even dialogue in my mind until
I come up with something that feels right. The exercise
and the fresh air usually start the creative juices
flowing again. (Char A.)
5. If it's something I've promised to do by a deadline, I
sit at the 'puter and write stream-of-consciousness
stuff until the real piece starts coming. This means:
I sit here and record everything that is happening at
the moment, like the cat walks in, the dog wants to go
out, a description of the clock or the calendar, a car
going down the road. I forgot to take my vitamins and,
oh, I better get some mayo for the salad. Just words,
any words at all. (Trudy S.)
6. I work in my flower or vegetable gardens. Getting really
close to the earth and nature helps to unclog my
thinking process. (Mary L.)
7. I take a bath while listening to music. This clears my
head of what I am writing. Music is a great way for me
to get in touch with my inspirational side. (Jamie R.)
8. The first thing I do is put on a chick flick. I love to
see girls having fun and getting the guys; plus it
reminds me of the wild times I have had with my best
friend. That always triggers my imagination. (Maggie G.)
9. I imagine a real person that I know, someone who is like
the people in my target audience. How would I explain
what I want to explain to her? My kids will tell you I
feel no shame in talking to myself. I just talk out
loud until I feel convincing, and then I scramble for a
piece of paper to capture my "brilliance" on. My first
attempt at brilliance is usually about as shiny as a
lump of coal--but it always has diamond potential.
10. Read something totally different from what I'm working
on -- even if it's the newspaper. Getting my mind on
something different helps dissolve that "block."
11. I look something up in one of the encyclopaedias and
try and write something similar of my own based on the
facts. (Clare L.)
12. As a newspaper reporter, I learned that writer's block
wasn't permitted on that job. No way I could tell my
editor I couldn't think of what to write...if I wanted
to meet my deadlines and keep my job. So I guess I can
say nowadays (I'm a freelancer, no longer a reporter)
that I don't have writer's block. However, I'm always
working on many writing projects...trying to keep many
balls in the air...and often go from one to the other.
If I had to work solely on one project from beginning to
end with no breaks, perhaps I'd find it more difficult.
So...to avoid writer's block, I'd say have many projects
going, so that if you get stuck on one, you have another
to go to. And take a walk when you really need a break
to "dust the cobwebs from your mind." (Mary Emma Allen)
Copyright 2003-2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
Shery is the creator of WriteSparks! - a software that
generates over 1,000,000 Story Sparkers for Writers.
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