So, let’s have a frank discussion on sales. Not to force every writer into a stereotype (I’m certainly not stereotypical), but most writers I know are not social creatures. Now, they may socialize on Twitter or Facebook. But, I know few writers who are out there getting in front of strangers and trying to find work as a writer. Which is why it’s so hard for writers to find work. Especially paying work. I mean, like great paying work ($5 on ODesk for a short article is not good money—think $500 for a one-page success story). What you need as a writer is to have a steady income you can live off of–to learn how to sell. Continue reading
Give Your Writer Resources: Article Three
You have an idea. You’ve researched information to plump out that idea, and now you feel you have a solid foundation on which to create a story. The next step is to decide how you want to showcase that story. In what form do you want your audience to read your work? You basically have two choices: fiction or nonfiction. Then you have a multitude of choices: all the subgenres of fiction and nonfiction. Before you begin, you need to have a form in mind, and you’ll need to add resources about these forms to your library. Because of the number of subgenre choices for nonfiction and fiction, I will focus on nonfiction in this month’s column. Nonfiction resources fall into three categories: general how-to-write nonfiction, how-to-write-specific subgenres, and books written by authors in that particular subgenre.
Are poems parables? Can they expand by unraveling a single image? The answer on both counts is yes! But, wait! We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before we can understand how the extended metaphor serves to thread the reader through its poem, we must first define metaphor, extended metaphor, tenor and vehicle in order to establish…
Give Your Writer Resources: Article Two
No matter your message, no matter how beautiful your language and style, if your editors can’t make sense of what you are writing, you’ll most likely never be published. Even if you bypass editors and self-publish, your readers must understand your stories. And even more important, you want to make sure you’re writing exactly what it is you want to say. Take the following example:
When lightning struck John Henry fainted.
How many people are we talking about in this sentence? A comma changes the meaning of the sentence completely.
When lightning struck, John Henry fainted.
Or, is it?
When lightning struck John, Henry fainted.
It makes a difference to John, and to John Henry as well, and as a writer, the clarity of your sentences should make a difference to you. Look at the difference a comma and spelling make in this example:
What’s that in the road ahead?
What’s that in the road, a head?
Again, the entire meaning of the sentence changes when grammar is changed.
One question that a freelancer frequently grapples with is: “how much should I be paid?” It’s a legitimate question; one that involves multiple factors. Of course you don’t want to ask for too much money; the client may decide to hire someone else if a salary demand is unreasonable. On the other hand, you definitely don’t want to shortchange yourself. Not only will you regret not asking for more, you don’t want to prepare all your meals from a cookbook entitled 200 Great Ramen Recipes.
If you are on the job market, one of the questions you’ll be asked within the first 10 minutes of preliminary discussions will be about salary expectations. Especially if you’re contacted by a recruiter. Being the go-between puts them in the position of trying to find the best talent at the lowest price for the client, and you need to keep that in mind when talking with them. Sometimes a salary is negotiable, or at least the benefits are. Many headhunters put the salary ball in your court by asking “what salary are you looking for?” Fortunately there’s a good way to serve that ball right back to them. Here’s what you need to know about earnings.
When I take that curvy part of Interstate 40 between Asheville and Hickory, North Carolina, deep breathes come easily. The stiffness in my neck releases and relaxes. The ‘important’ issues in my life lose their power. The mighty spruce trees reaching for the sky quiet my racing thoughts. The land all around belongs to me, beckons me. I’m home in a place I’ve never lived.
Granny, if she were alive today, would tell you she escaped Appalachia, walking, holding my mother’s small hand. It was 1935 and Granny was twenty-five, a widow, and grieving mother, who had just lost her two-year-old daughter. Her small farm was taken from her. She felt she had nothing to lose. Her sheer determination landed her in Atlanta, a city she loved until she died in 1993. When World War II began, Granny went to work for Bell Bomber and built B-29s, a Rosie the Riveter. Out of each weekly pay check, she paid a house payment on her small house, so she would never be homeless again.
When it comes to writing a personal essay, it’s important to sift through all of your information to determine what might make for good material. Sometimes what seems interesting to you may not be very interesting to someone else. On the flip side, it’s also very important to write tastefully, which means not giving away Too Much Information. One of the many reasons it’s good to belong to a writer’s group.
But where do you go to find a writer’s group you may ask? It all depends on your ability to throw caution to the wind. For instance, if your opinion is that the entire world is a stage and you’re standing in the mosh pit, you might want to go online and join a group. At least when you’re working online you’ve got the anonymity factor working for you, and the members of the group can’t actually see your face, and therefore won’t know who they’re laughing at. If this is the way for you to go, you might want to try someplace like the
Give Your Writer Resources: Article One
In series one, article five, “Where Will You Write,” we looked at the importance of carving out a place to call your own. Establishing a designated area not only adds validity to your desire to write, it also reminds you of your purpose for being there–the kitchen is a place for preparing food, the laundry room is a place for cleaning clothes, and the dining room is a place for eating. When you go to your writing area, you are going there with the intent of creating.
In that same column, we talked about the necessity of choosing a space that is inviting, a place where you want to go, and a place where you will be inspired. In this third series, you will make choices about how to “furnish” this space. You’ll customize your space so that you can produce work that is uniquely yours. Everything you select, or choose not to select, will result in stories identified with your fingerprint. We will examine what resources your writer within needs at his/her fingertips. Just as a chef stocks his kitchen with the proper utensils, cooking devices, and ingredients, so must you provide your writer with the proper inventory. I have a physical office space, and I have a writing space on my computer. Both have resources an arm’s reach or a click away when I need a resource for a writing project.
It starts out innocently enough. You place a pile of mail down on the corner of your desk. Then you see a pen you just have to have, even though there are already 10 pens in your cup holder. Next is the pile of paper clips someone gave you, and you put them on the desk because, well, you’re a writer, and writers sometimes need hard copies of documents and paper clips are good for keeping them together.
And then one day you enter your home office, ready to get to work, and discover that your desk has been taken over by your arch-nemesis: the clutter monster. He is smugly hidden among piles of papers, stacks of invoices, mountains of markers and you’re not sure what else. You stare in shock, unable to comprehend what your eyes are seeing. How did you, a savvy writer, fall prey to this evil villain?
Do you remember studying form in poetry while still in school? Were you tortured with iambs and trochees? Did you suffer through the sonnet?
So did I.
In fact, you could not get me near a Dickinson poem until long after I had graduated, and I was an English major. I wanted the poem (and the poet) to speak to me plainly. Rhyme schemes were so eighteenth century!
What if I told you that writing in form can propel your thoughts forward in a way that free verse just isn’t equipped to do? It’s true. When you know that parameters exist, you compensate. You focus. Your thoughts do not have the luxury of flailing about on the open page.
Let’s start small.