Friday, February 13, 2015

"Modern Love" column editor

The New York Times "Modern Love" column on Feb. 8, 2015 may surprise you. Written by the column's editor, Daniel Jones, it explains at length what does and doesn't work for a "Modern Love" pitch, a highly coveted essay market. Take a look, as Jones analysis of submitted essays causes him to consider the concept of good writing. His response is beneficial for all writers.

There is also a notice of a call for stories from college students, with a $1,000 award to the winning writer, for an essay to run in May 2015.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Some authors still write by hand

Mashable has a neat article about authors who write their books by hand. Joyce Carol Oates is said to write longhand for up to eight hours a day.

In an interview with Salon, she said of her process:
"Why is this so unusual? Every writer has written 'by hand' until relatively recent times. Writing is a consequence of thinking, planning, dreaming -- this is the process that results in 'writing,' rather than the way in which the writing is recorded."
See the full list here on Mashable.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quote of the month

Thanks to tireless Brian Scott of freelancewriting.com for sharing this quote:


"If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal - you have a wish."

                                                                --Steve Maraboli, author of Unapologetically You

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow storm reading recommendation

All eyes are on the news about the east coast storm, putting New Englanders at risk and hunkering down at home. CNN's analysis includes tips on what to stock up on. How great that my book, Release Your Writing, showed up in an ad on the same page today!  My sympathies are for those who have to bear such a storm, and the public service workers who have to restore services. My second thought is folks might be buying a lot of good ebooks!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Author, author, it's tax time

Comment from a Release Your Writing reader today...
What? Pay taxes on my meager earnings as an author? Please say it isn't so.

It is true that author royalties are taxable, as well as the revenue you collect from books you sell on your own at events. On the plus side, of course, all your writing related expenses are deductible, so the tax burden may even out.

Infinity Publishing has a nice summary of all the deductions authors are entitled to take. Writing is considered a business expense, unless you don't produce revenue within five years. Then, you are downgraded to "hobby" status.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Literary Jackpot article

Here is a New Year's treat.... A New York Times article about author Anthony Doerr and the surprising success of his novel All the Light We Cannot See.

Sales of this book continued to soar during 2014, and the author can now relax and enjoy the success. Yet he has three other book ideas he is toying with - each very different from the others.

In the mind of a busy writer, that's just what we do.  As the author states:

"You just try to water these things like plants and see which one gets the most light and flourishes."

What a lovely way to think of our writing. May 2015 bring you surprising success, however you define it!

Digital Detox


I have just completed my first digital detox experience! The holidays and five days in California gave me a rare chance to unplug and relax.

Tempted to try the same?  Maybe you, or a family member, are ready for a detoxification from the constant onslaught of screens, beeps, email, social media and thousands of other tempting distractiong. Oh, they're still out there, but maybe you won't miss them if you take a sanity break for a few days.


Before you start your tech break, consider reading this first-person article: The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It, by Nora Dunn.

[cross-posted on Computer Clarity blog.]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Finding it tough to write during the Holidays?

The celebrations for Hannaka and Christmas sure cause a wave of distraction in these otherwise calm solstice days as winter sets in.



If you find yourself restless, its likely because you don't have time to connect with your writing, or even your reading. While the holidays may inspire some good story ideas, the folks at Infinity Publishing shared some ideas on how to carve out time for your writing.



Paraphrasing from Infinity's 12-18-14 blog post...
... Especially set a space aside for yourself, where you can write when there is a little quiet time and write about what's going on around you during the holidays, or write character sketches you can return to later.

... Find your productive time, such as early morning, or after dinner, and relax with only your writing, so you can connect with it each day. Even a little time can inspire an idea for something that holds promise.

As an example, last week I picked up a 1989 novel and decided I would finally make time to delve into it. Much to my surprise, in a week I read all 510 pages, by spending some solid time with it each evening. It happens to be by one of my favorite travel writers, Paul Thoreau but this book, My Secret History, is a novel, not a travel narrative.

In it Thoreau discovers a path to the book he is trying to write on deadline, while distracted by a female companion on what should be a working trip. Naturally, he worried he was fooling around and not getting any work done. Once he got home, he set aside some quiet time to look through his notes and found what he needed was all there. Once engrossed in his notebooks, he was on his way, and ready to work on the book.

I suspect this is a autobiographical novel, since Theroux included much material about his travels and research for his books. We are witness to his thoughts on writers and writing toward the end of this massive, engaging story.

Excerpt:
"I thought how travel was composed of moments like this: discoveries and reverences separated by great inconvenience. These encounters, taken together, added up to one's experiences of a place. ...the inconvenience had to be forgotten and replaced by the epiphany."

"One of the greatest thing writers did, I thought, was to isolate an event and light it with the imagination, to make people understand and remember; and not just events, but people and their passions. Forgetting was much worse than failure: it was an act of violence. For all writing aimed at defeating time. No one could become a writer-no one would even care about it-until he or she experienced the impartial cruelty of time passing."

So, before your holiday season passes, maybe you can find a quiet corner and enjoy writing for a while. The results may surprise you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Talk about reverse engineering!

At last, there is a way to connect keyboard-less digital devices to typewriters!


Excerpt:
The USB Typewriter, created by Jack Zylkin, is one of the products that pay homage to that lionized, endangered, and, for some, still preferable writing machine. The USB Typewriter is a kit of electronica that, when installed on a typewriter, sends whatever is typed on the machine to an attached digital device—a computer, tablet, or smartphone—where it is stored as electronic, and thus editable and uploadable, text. The converted typewriter still works on its own, in the traditional fashion, with or without a device attached. Zylkin began tinkering with his own typewriter in 2009, simply out of love for the machine and a wish to rescue it from obsolescence; it wasn’t until he officially introduced his creation to the public, in 2010, that he fully realized what it could mean for writers. “For me, it’s all about the magic of typewriters and how wonderful they are—I just like working on them,” Zylkin says. “But they represent a whole way of writing that is being forgotten.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Year-end writing opportunities

A castle library!  
If you're like me, you are ending the year with a pile of story and article submissions you didn't complete. Here are a few recent market possibilities if you want to set aside some extra time for writing between holidays.


The following are from the great Brian Scott at www.freelancewriting.com

Words the Podcast (Words) is presently welcoming submissions of poetry, short stories, essays, and pitches for journalism pieces. Words is a new weekly literary podcast launching in January 2015...
Payment: $40/article
Source: FreelanceWriting.com

Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.
Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.
Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.
Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.
Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing...   http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Payment: up to $100/story
Source: WritingCareer.com

Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.
Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.

Mslexia magazine has a handful of editorial opportunities available to freelance writers. Based in the United Kingdom, the quarterly literary magazine is for women who write. It covers the trade, pursuit and psychology of writing. The editorial staff, led by Debbie Taylor, invites national and international writers to submit original, unpublished materials for various sections of the magazine. - See more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and#sthash.qJEf6Fgu.dpuf

Read more at: http://writingcareer.com/post/105170659666/mslexia-magazine-posts-new-deadlines-for-prose-and
Copyright © WritingCareer.com - All content on our website is original and copyrighted in the U.S. and internationally and may NOT be copied, reproduced, or re-printed, online or offline. Use our RSS feed instead. Thanks for respecting our rights and our hard work.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A reminder: Even the best writers need to put in the time...


Interview excerpt

Enjoy this brief excerpt from Writers Relief, part of an interview with two-time United States Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, author of eleven full-length collections of poetry.


Excerpt:
What is it about writing poetry that gives you the most joy?
It happens when I am sitting with my notebook, picking away at a poem, and suddenly something wonderful unexpectedly rushes in from my blind side and I exclaim, “Yowie! Did I just write that?”

Your most recent book, Splitting an Order, had an incubation period of approximately ten years. Do you write every day? Can you talk a little bit about the intersection of patience and the writing life? What else would you like us to know about your new book?
I do try to write every morning, and I fail to write anything of merit maybe twenty-eight days out of every month. But on a couple of days, I might write something that I think will have some endurance and mean something to other people. If I’m not sitting there with my notebook when the good ones mysteriously arrive, I’ll miss them completely.

Something to keep us humble and a reminder to feed the daily writing habit. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Now that's a book jacket!

 
 
 
If you are wondering how to make your next book stand out, consider Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.
Seriously, this is a striking book cover design. I'm not sure what message it delivers to a book browser, but a review on Brain Pickings, (one of my weekly passions), describes her book: The unhinging of that trap is what Amanda explores with equal parts deep personal vulnerability, profound insight into the private and public lives of art, and courageous conviction about the future of creative culture.
 
Considering the trap of too much entitlement to what we feel we want and too little capacity to accept what we truly need, we can relate when she speaks of the Imposter Complex: 
There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.

Glad she got that off her chest.... !

Friday, December 5, 2014

Put more 'self' into publishing

Here's news of a collaborative self-publishing idea!
Gather your friends and surge ahead in 2015!

[from Infinity Publishing blog]:

Bundles are a hot new trend for self publishing indie writers these days, and multi-author bundles are a great deal for both readers and author marketing.
 "These anthologies of short stories or novellas give readers more of what they're looking for: great stories in their favorite genre. This strategy also applies to non-fiction where the subject matter is similar. For the authors, they're a great chance to be discovered by many more new readers than they might otherwise find. The rewards for writers can be huge in terms of sales and recognition, but bundles don't come together overnight. It takes a dedicated, organized person to put a bundle together, but the effort will pay off significantly."
Read more about the logistics, costs, legal issues here at Infinity Publishing's blog. Then share this post with friends and consider a similar publishing project.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grammarly to the rescue

In my youth, a convoy of nuns at Sacred Heart School taught English, grammar, writing, shorthand and typing. The nuns are long gone to their heavenly reward but daily, I am grateful for my ability to string sentences together. These basic skills helped me make a living in the corporate world for many years, and then as a writer/author. Freelance writers without the early-childhood advantage of nuns for teachers can be grateful for Grammarly. This company stepped forward to provide a survey showing the value of good writing, at a time when good freelancers are in great demand. Grammarly is an online automatic proofreading service and grammar coach.


In a survey of nearly 500 freelance professionals, Grammarly analyzed how well the freelancers' online profiles at ELance.com seemed to correlate to credibility, hireability or pay. The results showed the best-reviewed freelancers had the fewest writing errors per 100 words in their profile. Error rates by freelance writers were markedly lower than other areas, such as IT, engineering, sales and financial professionals. Across all fields in the study, writers earned more money per job than other professions.

Perhaps it is our attention to detail, critical eye, and love of words that make us so reliable and in demand.

To the left, you'll find an interesting infographic supplied by Grammarly... (click to enlarge)







Note: Grammarly made a donation to Reading is Fundamental, on my behalf.