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Showing posts from April, 2010

Are you Singing your Song?

It wasn't this version, but I had this song on a little 45 record (Wiki link for you young folks) when I was little. It's pretty catchy, as you'll discover later today when you find yourself humming it.

But more memorable than the melody were the messages: Just Sing. Make it Simple. Don't worry. There's a reason All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten was such a hit. There are times, as adults, we make things more complicated than they need to be. If we go back to the basics, we may find the answers we are looking for.

As writers, it may bring Joy to our writing when the going gets tough.

Just Sing
Songs sung from the heart touch us. Our writing begins there as well. Writers have stories deep inside that they want to get out and sing--maybe in private, maybe to an audience--but the "songs" are there. When we begin, we need to let go of our expectations of the end result and just enjoy the words eager to rush out and make our fingers dance acro…

Excuse Editor's Writing Markets List-- The Scoop

In case you missed it, The Scoop was emailed out earlier this week to all of my newsletter subscribers. There are more than 35 markets and contests--just waiting for your submissions.

Poetry, Fiction, Memoir, Scholarly, Humor... there are so many options to choose from. Shake it up--if you usually write short stories, try a personal essay. Serious poet? Laugh a little, take a stab at some humor. Taking a creative break from your norm can be a good way to shake it up; you'll feel refreshed and ready when you get back to The Writing Projects, Already in Progress.

How do you decide what to write? Do you look for a market first and fine tune it for their publication; or do you write and search for the 'perfect fit' later? Does knowing there are so many opportunities inspire you or freeze you up?

*Just a few quick notes about the newsletter/The Scoop: Make sure to add to your email list, so they don't get lost in your spam folders. If you signed up and d…

Now Available: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

Don't Give up on Your Rough Drafts

Over 10 years ago, I was taking a journal writing workshop through the community center in Mesa, AZ. We were asked to write a "Name Story"--what our names meant to us, what changes our names have been through, that kind of thing.

My first idea, the obvious--nobody knows how to pronounce Haapala (I actually wrote about this in "Finding Common Ground" for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles).

As I wrote out some ideas, I started humming a song. Of course. My name story had to be about the song that carried my name: Tina Marie '73. My dad had written and recorded it and sent a cassette tape to me in Arizona. I wrote a page for the next workshop. In that page, I talked a little about my parents divorce, a little about being a bratty teenager, a little about music. In the workshop, I played the song to tell the rest of my Name Story.

And then, for a few years, I put that page away.

It resurfaced when I moved to Texas. I d…

Write for Success!

More than likely, you've been there, pounding the pavement for a job, or, hoping to retain the one you have. You'll come across plenty of tips for job security; even what to wear. The common mantra is: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Dressing for Success is supposed to reflect your professionalism to the outside world, while making you feel confident enough to continue moving forward.

As a writer, you don't often get the chance to influence editors or publishers or even readers in this way. The threads that adorn you are woven with your words on the page or on the screen. Make them count...

Write for the Market you Want ...not (only) for the one you have
Appropriate Attire... Make sure your work is a good "fit" and doesn't clash. Your sci-fi story is out of place in the personal essay market.

Choose your Accessories wisely... Make sure your bright and shiny metaphors reflect your work-- everything should be held together in a fitting presentation.

All the Right Ingredients to Writing Advice

Last time, I talked about people in our lives that are pretty sure they know how to be successful writers, because they spent much of their time reading. Sometimes their advice can be a blessing, sometimes just the opposite. It is the same with the plethora of advice available from other writers. Have you checked out almost every book about the writing process from your local library at one time or another? Are your shelves lined with your own copies of "the-perfect-writing-advice-that-will-get-me-published-once-and-for-all"? Are you a member of multiple online writing communities? Do you hold your breath just a little bit when waiting from the critique from that "certain someone" in your writing group?

Yeah. Me too. And I don't think that gaining knowledge is a bad thing. We just have to be careful.

Don't Let Too Many Cooks Create a Recipe for Disaster
I love great food, I savor the tastes and textures of all kinds of cuisine; but unless I have specific, de…