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Showing posts from February, 2010

Avoiding "Writing Avoidance" Activities

Anyone who's ever been assigned an essay for class will tell you the best thing about writing is not writing. I've found when I'm on a deadline, the temptation is there to do anything but put down words. Personally, my favorite "avoid writing" activity is redecorating, because a blank page doesn't look nearly so bad when you've filled a whole wall with rose-colored paint! Plus, I have it on good authority (meaning I made it up in my own head) that electricity was discovered, television was invented, and the theory of relativity proved simply because those guys didn't want to face their English 101 term papers.  ~ Jen Lancaster, in Bright Lights, Big Ass
When I was in college, my apartment would be its cleanest when I had a big paper due. I felt I couldn't possibly write or think though dust. I couldn't turn my back on unwashed laundry. Or on clean, but unfolded, laundry. And, while I'm up, I should go ahead and grab the vacuum. You get the …

Get the Scoop-- Over 55 writing contests and markets!


For those of you who already have signed up for the newsletter, you should see The Scoop in your inbox.

Not signed up yet?

Don't worry, just sign up with the form on the right column of my blog (or on the one that materializes before your eyes sometimes;)

This month's Scoop not only includes opportunities to see your work in print, and get paid, it has some exciting prizes as well. Some contest winners could get a chance to study in Kenya. Or Canada. One even has a grand prize of $10,000-- given to a writer of a work in progress!

Good Luck!

Early Writing "Success"

Sometime during my fourth grade year, my class got to spend a few hours with an honest-to-goodness writer. He lead the class, getting our young minds motivated with metaphors and similes. We learned all about poetry; sometimes it rhymes, sometimes it doesn't. He encouraged us to be silly, to be brave, to write beautifully, or to write badly. It was all part of the process.
I already liked to write. That same year, I wrote a short story that won a prize in my class. The year before, I wrote short stories and knock-knock jokes, and was given a chance to laminate them and have them available for my classmates to check out at the school library.

The day the writer-in-residence came to visit our school, I wrote six or more poems. I remember one in particular I was quite proud of. I thought it painted a picture with words, just like the writer told us to do. Those words have since left my memory, although I feel nostalgia for rainbows, sherbet, and blooming flowers when I think of that …

How to Spice Up your Writing Love Life

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a few quick tips to keep in mind about Finding Your True Love. Of Writing, that is:

Love Yourself and Your Writing First

You need to honor yourself and your writing. Pamper yourself by making time for your writing love. Come to terms with your writing flaws, and discover what you need to make yourself better. Feel good about your work, and eventually others will too.

Put Yourself Out There

If you want your writing to get noticed, you make it available. Submit your work as much as you can if you want to be a published writer. Even if you don't have publishing ambitions, share your work with your loved ones, or some kindred spirits-- other writers.

While you are at it-- Put Your Best Self out There

Especially when submitting, make sure the work that goes out is the best example of your writing that you can give. No typos, spelling errors, mistakes in grammar...This is your time to shine!

Don't be Afraid to make the First Move


Writer, interrupted

Since I've become the Excuse Editor, I'm excruciatingly aware of everything that crosses my path when I should be writing. I try to stay in the creative mindset in case someone from my writing group or my fanpage catches me engaged in suspiciously non-writing behavior:

No, no. I didn't just veg in front of the TV Monday night mindlessly watching How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory and everything in between. I was studying the elements of dialogue and humor!OK, that's not entirely true.

Confession time:
When it comes to my writing, I'm a recovering procrastinator and excuse maker.
I relapse.

The difference now is, I KNOW when I'm doing it. Sure, my first impulse is to some kind of rationalization (OK, it's just THESE Monday night shows, and I hardly ever see them because my writing group is every other Monday [that's true, BTW], or I know I spent 3 hours reading other people's work last night, but if I just finish THIS one book, whenever …

Today's Excuse: Writing Contest Fees (and Bonus Contest Announcement)

I know how it is, you see a contest in The Scoop or somewhere on the internet that is Perfect for your story, poem, essay, song... whatever. And then you see the Dreaded Entry Fee.

Forget it...Why should I risk my hard earned cash? Why can't they just read it for free?

The Risk
Submit your Best Work...and the Best FitYou should feel your writing warrants a cash prize, not just your wallet. Otherwise, spend the 10 bucks on some lottery tickets instead. Your submission should be typo and spelling error free. Of course, it should follow their guidelines (word count, genre). Take a look at their past contest winners. Is your writing comparable in style?Return on your InvestmentDetermine your tolerance. You've already spent the time and energy writing the piece, now you are also spending money. Combined, this is your investment. Are all the prizes offered--money, recognition, etc-- enough of a return for you? A common guideline: Only pay fees that are around 10% of the First Prize Am…