Monthly Archives: April 2013

Questions for Writers

Ever heard of a busman’s holiday

Monday through Friday I read, re-write, edit, research, and write – rinse and repeat – all day long at my day job. When I get home in the evenings, I oftentimes have very little energy or motivation to open a book or sit down with my laptop to work on a project. In fact, in my down time I can be hard pressed to stare at any illuminated screen or printed page.

And yet, as a writer who wants to ramp up her own creative projects, I have to carve out time to work on my stories, and know I should be well-read with regards to current (and classic) material in my genre (such as the latest children’s best-sellers or Anne Lamott’s latest — here she talks about her reading habits). And then there’s researching the market, preparing for submittals, updating social media, making new friends here on WordPress, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and so on.

As with anything, I guess it’s a matter of managing my time and prioritizing my projects. Hence, the title of a previous post: Time to get Busy.

But I’m wondering – how do other working writers include writing into their daily/weekly lives? Do you find it important to read material germane to your publishing interests? If so, how often do you do this?

If you have a day job that gets in the way of completing your nebulous sci-fi thriller, how do you schedule your off-time to work on it? Weekly goals? Weekends? Word count goals? Scheduled deadlines? One or two nights a week? Early mornings?

What motivates you to work on the craft?

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Writing Resources

I’ve just added a new page, “Writing Resources” to my blog menu. This is a list of publishing/writing articles that I’ve recently read and have found informative. I want to compile the articles in one spot so I can refer to them as needed, and I thought the list might be helpful to other writers, so I’m sharing it here. The plan is to add to the list (new links at the top) as I come across more content. Hope you find it useful, and happy writing!

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Just a Working Writer Riding the Writing Wave

It wasn’t until several months into my job at a former children’s book publisher that I fully came to appreciate that I was earning a living as a writer. Granted, I wasn’t getting paid to develop and write my own story ideas (that opportunity came later), but I was getting paid to write and learn the editing process nonetheless.

I guess in some far-off place in my imagination, I envisioned that making a living via the written word looked like me sitting in a lux office at a giant desk in front of a window with a soaring view of New York City’s skyline. I would have ample time to ponder my next chapter. I’d meet with my upbeat agent for lunch and then indulge in a little retail therapy before returning to my masterpiece.

Working writers know better—but a girl can dream, right?

So there I was one afternoon sitting at a little desk in my boss’ living room (which served as our first office), when she casually said to me, “Did you ever think you’d be making a living as a writer?”

No, in fact, I had not.

Up until that point in my ‘career,’ I was a Liberal Arts graduate working in retail. (Clichés are around for a reason.) Writing had always been a natural part of my life, but becoming a paid writer seemed out of reach. But then I met my former boss. She hired me as a freelancer to write copy for her website. She liked my work. One thing led to another and I became her first full-time, in-house employee. I will always be grateful for her, her belief in me, and the experiences we shared together.

I consider myself fortunate that I continue to have a career in publishing. Today I am a gratified publications editor for a triennial technical magazine. This publication is widely ready by professionals in the pressure equipment industry. I’ve gone from writing for girls ages 8-14, to writing for a largely adult male audience.

I guess you just never know where a writing career will take you.

I was extremely intimidated when I started this job. Clearly, the subject matter was way out of my comfort zone. But what I did have going for me was a firm grasp on managing editorial projects, writing, and editing. I quickly asserted that words were words and good writing was good writing, whether it was for a children’s book or for an article on NFL steam-driven turf conditioning systems (my first published non-fiction article).

And so, I gave it my best shot. The next thing I knew, I was ‘doing it’ – I was writing and editing technical material and learning about a whole new industry. I had reinvented myself as both a writer and an editor, and I continue to grow and learn.

But, for us creative types, it’s about paddling out further into the deep and searching for the next big wave, right? And so this year I’ve taken on a part-time job (evenings and weekends) as – can you guess? – a writer/editor for Wendy White and her side projects. And although it doesn’t pay well – at least not yet – I am hopeful there will be a rewarding payoff, because if I’ve learned one thing, you just never know where your writing will take you.

And so we write. We submit. And we write some more.

And the excitement of the next big wave keeps us coming back for more.

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What Makes Sense…

The love shared between William and Denise Richard that created Martin and his siblings.  

The tenacity of over 27,000 athletes who trained and persevered for months in order to qualify and compete, and to say “I did it!” at the finish line.

The pride and hospitality of a city and its people, which for 117 years has hosted marathoners from around the world and celebrated the human spirit.

The support and encouragement of family and friends who lined the streets to cheer on their loved ones and share in each athlete’s hard-earned accomplishments.

The police, medics, military, and multitude of other service people and volunteers who were on hand to support the event, and who ended up responding to devastating crisis with urgency, integrity, compassion, and determination. Thank you.

What makes sense?

Americans living their lives. Dreaming their dreams. Running their races. Embracing freedom.

Never giving up.

Hope and prayers to everyone who has been impacted by the horrific event at the Boston Marathon.

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Time to Get Busy

Plotting the next chapter of my life.

Plotting the next chapter of my life.

This weekend I spent a charming evening in Columbus’ German Village. A friend and I enjoyed catching up over dinner at Barcelona, and then we visited The Book Loft – a Columbus book-lovers gem. The store itself has more “twists and turns” than a Robert Ludlum novel: you never know where the next room or stairway will lead you. Visitors wander through a maze of 32 rooms (yes, 32!) lined top to bottom with books and other novelties. Walking through its narrow halls and discovering unexpected corridors is a delight in and of itself, but when you unexpectedly find that perfect book among the thousands of others – it’s almost like magic, especially in The Book Loft.

I experienced a little bit of that magic Friday night. I wasn’t looking for anything particular, but I did know that I would leave with at least one book in hand. I was slowly making my way through a hallway and was over stimulated with the bounty of books surrounding me. I paused, turned to my left to study a shelf of titles, and there she was: the 2013 Writer’s Guide. It was the one and only copy. I reached for it and didn’t let go. It was fate.

That night I crawled into bed and started reading until my eyes were on fire. I woke early Saturday morning and made my way to Panera, where I sipped hazelnut coffee and devoured more of the articles in the front of the book. And now it’s Sunday morning, and I feel the excitement and urgency of what it means to be a working writer who wants to write more. (More on this in a future post.)

In the few hours I’ve spent with Writer’s Guide this weekend, I’ve made pages of notes, started a writer’s to-do list, written a blog post (this one), updated my social media, and have put ideas on paper for a juvenile-fiction story for boys that I thought of on my drive back home from Columbus. Not bad. I guess Writer’s Guide has inspired me to kick-start some writing projects.

However… there is a lot of work ahead of me. And that in my spare time: evenings and weekends.

“One word at a time, a few scheduled nights a week,” I’m telling myself. I can do this.

What about you? Are you newly inspired in some way? Has a book captured your imagination? What are you working on in your spare time?

Me? I’ll be reading, writing, and re-writing. And one day, hopefully, submitting and publishing.

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April 14, 2013 · 5:40 pm

Come Home

Come home

To her endless country roads

We’ll watch cornfields sway and seasons change

It could be what we’ve always dreamed . . .

You and me

Going home

 

Come home

To her familiar streets and short-cut alleys

We’ll walk in cool evening breezes to back door greetings

Laugh with familiar faces flushed with memory . . .

And take things slowly

On our way back home

 

I know the move’s not easy

And our eyes are always searching

Look past the long-lived fear

That’s kept you away all of these years

I left too—went running far away

But part of me has always stayed

Close

 

Come home

To her harvested crops and neatly plowed lea

We’ll gather up lost moments like childhood arcade tokens

Take hands and make a start from where we once were parted . . .

Together at our ending, neither one left wandering

Far from home

 

© 2010 Wendy White

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