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January, 2008

Flying by the Seat of My Pants

Neubauer's Nuggets
No problem is too big or too small for our gal Joan
By  Joan R. Neubauer

ach month, award-winning author Joan R. Neubauer answers questions from you, her readers. She will answer questions about writing, promotion, publishing, and any other aspect of the publishing industry you can think of. Send your questions to her emailbox at Subject: Neubauer Nuggets and maybe yours will be the question she answers next month.

Fending Off Friends

Q. Dear Joan,

I've recently started freelancing and even sold a short piece to a local magazine. I joined a writer's group and subscribe to a few good writing magazines. I'm serious about this. I spend several hours a day at the computer either writing, researching, or trying to learn more about writing and publishing. The problem is I have a few very close friends who just don't understand. They call me during the day and invite me to go shopping, to play cards, spend hours at lunch, and do all sorts of other things that will take me away from my writing. How can I make them understand that this is not a hobby?

May Briton
Tampa, Florida

A: Dear May,

I totally understand your problem, as does nearly every other writer on the planet. When someone suddenly decides to get serious about their writing, friends and family often figuratively (and literally) pat them on the head and say, "How nice that you have a hobby."

Remarks like that make us want to gnash our teeth and rend our garments. Instead, in order to maintain the relationships, as we should, we just smile and nod. That's not the answer either.

When your friends call to invite you to out, thank them, but say you’re pushing a deadline and you just can't get away. You don't have to mention whether the deadline is an editor's who is waiting for a manuscript, or yours, so that you can get it done and move on to another piece.

When you do sell and publish an article, make photocopies for your friends and the next time they ask you out to lunch, go with them, but make it clear that you can only spend an hour. (You have to eat lunch anyway).

While at lunch, tell them you'd like them to celebrate with you because you've had another article published. Then hand them each a photocopy of the published article. After they have a small collection of your published works, they'll get the point, and give you and your work the respect you deserve.

When you do spend time with them, as you should, you'll notice a change in their attitude. No longer will they ask about your hobby. Instead, they'll ask how the new career is going.

Keep writing and keep selling!

JoanIN Icon

Joan R. Neubauer is an author and works as a publisher at Visit her website at or to drop her an email at or You can sign up for WordWright's monthly email newsletter at the site as well.

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Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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