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WRITER'S LIFE
Nonfiction
January, 2008


Word Wright

Neither A Wisher Nor A Flinger Be
The cheque'll be in the mail shortly
By  Linda J. Hucthinson

Work hard, and smart, at constructing a successful, paying writing career.
T
here are only three kinds of non-fiction writers.

There are those who spend their time wishing to be published, those who make attempts to be published but rarely if ever are, and those who’s byline is everywhere. 
 
Wishers: You can write and wish until the end of time, but if you don’t put forth the effort it takes to be published, it won’t happen. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Be honest and accept that you don’t wish to be published. Continue to write about what fills you with contentment. Writing is good for the soul.
 
Flingers: Most working writers get an idea for an article and write it as quickly as they can. So far, good plan. But things go awry when they see a magazine on the stand and jot down the web address, hit its submissions page and fire it off. They write article after article and fling them out in a reckless mass. They run it through spell-check. They do their research. The check should be in the mail shortly, right? Not.
 
The Published: They write, they get published. And they get paid, because they consistently study markets, devour newsletters, read calls for submissions. Then they target their submissions. They write a professional query letter, and send it. Then they write their best article and submit it — in the correct format, properly proofed and shined up like a little red Corvette.
 
These are writers who’re committed to writing. They own a good computer, get Writer’s Market, have business cards and a website. They read IN.
 
Do as they do and treat your writing as a business. Make a business plan. Write down your goals and review them often to be sure you’re meeting them. If not, revise either the goals or the action necessary to meet them. 
 
To be published consistently, use this checklist:

  1. Scour every newsletter available that pertains to writing. Make a master file in your word processing software of all the submission guidelines you can get your hands on. (Check out http://www.writerswrite.com/guidelines)

  2. Write a professional query letter. Proofread it a dozen times and then have the best speller and grammarian you know proof it again.

  3. Target queries. Don’t fling work willy-nilly into cyberspace hoping it will land in the right place at the right time and stick. 

  4. When you get the go-ahead from a publisher, write the article. Follow the submission guidelines exactly. Don’t go one word over the maximum length requirements. Edit and polish your prose. Format it to follow the style and tone the editor desires.

  5. Honor the deadline! 

  6. Submit copy exactly as specified by the publisher. If they don't want email, don't. It will be deleted without being read. 

  7. The guidelines will specify when payment is to be expected. Respect that. Editors are busy people. 

  8. While you’re waiting for your article to be published, query 10 or 20 or more publications about your ideas for articles. 

  9. Track your submissions. This can be done simply in an Excel spreadsheet, or on a ledger pad, or in any manner that works for you. The purpose is to allow you to follow-up on submission requests, honor deadlines, and to make sure you get paid.

  10. Repeat. Again. And again. 

Don’t let fear get in the way. The worst anyone can say is “No,” and that only stings for a short time. It may even spur you on to more powerful, polished work. The biggest hurdle for most of us is the doing.

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Linda J. Hutchinson is a freelance writer and copywriter living in central Ohio. She has written for magazines, newspapers, websites and e-zines. As at home on a construction site as in an art gallery, she’s been told she “cleans up real good.” Her first novel is in process.  http://www.lindajhutchinson.com Email: linda@lindajhutchinson.com

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

Nonfiction
IN This Issue
Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Part II: Researching Nonfiction
Part I: Researching Nonfiction
Rediscover Your Passion
Pet Prose
Successful Influence
There's Money In That Junk Mail!

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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.

Poetry
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.

Pegasus
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.

Re-Verse
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 FatherGoose.com


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