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Showing posts from March, 2010

Back Seat Writers (Part One)


You've finally gotten over the fear of labeling yourself as a writer.

The next time the opportunity arises, you will take a deep breath and say, "Yes, I write!"

You may want to immediately take it back when people start giving you unsolicited writing advice.

Today's Problem: Everybody seems to know how to make it in the writing world, except me!
Everybody? Well, almost:

Today, let's focus on the Avid Readers-- Maybe it's a fellow bookstore browser. Maybe it's your good friend. If an Avid Reader discovers there's a Writer in their midst, she'll usually have a few tips for you-- whether you like it or not-- especially if you don't have a book on the bestseller list, or a byline in a national magazine.

"You should write one of those vampire books, they are so hot right now."

"Why don't you just finish your novel and get it published?"
"You like music; why don't you write something for Rolling Stone?"


Spring Scoop!

Well, according to the calendar, it's the first day of spring. Outside my window, though, the snow keeps falling...

No matter the weather where you are, enjoy this month's Scoop. It's filled with current writing contests and markets. And, a new addition this month-- your own personal link to the chronologically-listed table of markets in web form. This is for those of you who had a hard time reading the list as an email. Enjoy!

The Scoop is in your inbox now if you are a subscriber. If you're not, sign up right here at!

Happy First Day of Spring!
And... Happy Writing!

Rejection Letters-- Necessary Evil

Losing a job was probably the best thing that could have happened to my writing. After the initial drama and agony of the hours after The Call-- I was telecommuting at the time-- I woke up the next morning to realize that hey-- I'm still alive. And ok. The worst rejection I could ever imagine, being told after 10 years with the company that there wasn't a place for me anymore, DIDN'T KILL ME.

Nope, I was just fine. Limbs intact. Ego was a bit bruised, but that would fade in time.  Besides, after a while, I realized-- no matter how much of your heart and soul and time is given to a company-- at the end of the day, it IS a Company. And if you are a part of that world, you are part of a world that makes Business Decisions. And the Business Decision that was made was that I was no longer a good Fit for their Current Budget.

Months later, when I poured my heart and soul and time into a short story only to receive a standard issue rejection letter, I reframed my realization: I…

Mini-Scoop! A Few Upcoming Writing Deadlines

I'm sure you are working away on all sorts of writing for the contests and markets from the last Scoop, but you may have something for one of these. (Not signed up for the free Excuse Editor newsletter yet? Sign up and get the Scoop, a list of  at least 35 writing contests and markets, starting today!)

Deadline: 3/16/10
Essay Contest (Write an original essay describing creative ways in which you are helping (or supporting) the environment)
250 words max
Adams peanut butter Cause a Stir contest
Grand Prize: 5-day/4-night trip for winner and up to 3 guests to Yosemite National Park, CA. Four First Prizes: $100 REI Gift Cards

Deadline: 3/31/10
Short Story Contest
No restrictions on content, style, genre or length
Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest
$4 entry fee
Grand Prize: $1000, 2nd place: $100, Three Honorable Mentions (all 5 winners published in Gemini Magazine in June)

Deadline: 4/15/10
Creative Nonfiction Contest
5000 word max
EVENT 2010 NonFiction Contest
Three w…

Money and a Room of One's Own

I caught the writing bug as a kid. Jackson Elementary allowed its students to create their own little books for other kids to check out. As a third grader, my books were published almost weekly. I was sure I would be a real author when I grew up.
Instead, I went to college and focused on business—more realistic. I would get back to writing when I had more time, a computer, and (insert excuse here). I had to concentrate on paying my bills. When a co-worker said to me, “You should buy a house,” I thought she was crazy.

My paychecks were small, and I had no savings in the bank. My co-worker and her husband had just bought a beautiful house, but they had two incomes.

She referred me to ‘her guy’. He had taken the news of their credit card debt and their limited savings in stride and worked his magic. My Great American Novel wasn’t forthcoming, maybe a different American Dream miracle was.

I called the wizard mortgage broker, and recited my wishes.

Two bedrooms, at least.

A garage.

Two ba…