Have you ever found any good writing books on the bargain tables at Barnes & Noble? I think I found two that might become favorites of mine: Living and Teaching the Writing Workshop by Kristen Painter, and Writing Brave & Free by Ted Kooser and Steve Cox.
What caught my eye in Kristen’s book was a segment on time and the writer. She reminds readers that you don’t have to quit your day job to become a writer,
that many full time writers put in only two or three hours a day writing. She pointed out that J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone during her baby’s naptime.
“Don’t think you have to find an eight-hour stretch of time in which to retreat in order to write (not that some writers haven’t done that),” she said. “Simply find fifteen to thirty minutes at first and let that dictate how much time you need, then maybe some weekend you’ll go to the coffee shop and write for a whole hour or more. The more you think like a writer, the more time you will create for your writing.”
The important thing is to write every day, either in your journal or on some writing project that draws your interest. Kooser and Cox say you need to make writing as much a daily routine as having your morning cup of coffee or brushing your teeth.
“For writers, the one essential habit is writing every day. And it’s got three advantages over brushing your teeth:
You’re working hard at your writing for the pure joy of it, as Stephen King says—because you want to, not because a doctor or a spirit of your mother told you to.
Writing is a lot more fun than brushing teeth.
Brushing your teeth is pure process; all you have to show for it in the short haul is a mouth tasting of toothpaste. Writing daily is a process, too, but the result is a product—every single day you’ve got another entry in your journal. Instant gratification!”
Sometimes you can find little gems on the bargain book table.
© 2008 by Laverne Daley
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Regular readers of this blog know that Writer’s Digest is high on my list of must-read publications. They also know I prefer to buy my copies of the magazine at Barnes & Noble, rather than subscribing (so I can check out new magazines on the newsstand and survey what’s being covered in others). I am never disappointed in WD. I always find nuggets or larger chunks of useful information.
When I picked up the August 2008 WD, an article in the Inkwell column immedately caught my attention — “Don’t Be a Diva.” Written by author Mary E. Demuth (Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God and Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture), “Don’t Be a Diva” offers 18 tips to endear you to editors, agents and others who can help your writing career.
Everything on her list of tips is worth noting, and I was particularly interested in “Number 11: Become a Lifelong Learner of The Craft,” because of this advice:
Go to conferences. Read great books. Read outside your genre. Go to lectures. Take a class. Try new things. Grow, grow, grow.”
In an earlier age, writers may have sat alone in garrets penning their prose. Today, smart writers know that following Number 11 can expand their horizons, keep them aware of what’s going on in the world, and help them become more successful writers. In fact, I think it would be hard to be successful as a writer without following much of the advice in Number 11.
And here’s a tip of my own. I’m frequently pressed for time, so I take Writer’s Digest (or another writing magazine) with me on my twice-weekly trips to the gym. With the magazine propped up before me on the treadmill, I can spend 30 minutes each time I go, surveying market lists, finding ideas for articles, and getting advice from Mary E. Demuth and other writers and editors, who all share their expertise in the pages of Writer’s Digest. It’s a win-win situation: I can follow my exercise routine and be a more productive freelancer at the same time.
© 2008 by Laverne Daley
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If you’re finding it hard to break into the magazine market, you might want to consider some of the magazines below — these publications all say they “welcome new writers.” It’s reasonable to expect that editors of these publications really want to read and consider your query or completed article. As with any publication, before querying or submitting, be sure to read a couple of issues of the magazine and follow the guidelines carefully. All of the information below appeared in the magazines’ guidelines.
Take special note of the quoted material in each listing below, too. Editors often reveal extra how-to-sell-to-us tips in their quotes.
Sky & Telescope is about the science and hobby of astronomy and is read by more than 200,000 amateur and professional astronomers worldwide. Feature articles cover important new advances or current problems in astronomy and planetary science; key figures and events in astronomical history; and new ground- and space-based observatories. Features run 1,500-2,000 words; other articles run between 1,000 and 1,500 words. Pays for most articles on publication. “Most authors write for us again and again, but we’re always looking for new writers eager to share their enthusiasm, talent, and expertise with our readers.” For complete guidelines, click here.
QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) is a trade journal serving franchisees and franchisors of quick service restaurants (fast-casual and fast food). It reports on news, products, trends and information the restaurants need to survive and prosper in a competitive industry. Departments include “Short Order,” 400-700 word profiles, interviews and reports; “Franchising,” 800-1100 word interviews, profiles, book reviews; “Tools,” 800-1100 word reports on ideas and actions that successfully put technology and other tools to work. For Features, 1800-3000 words, writers and editors work together on finding the best possible angle for a topic and the best industry sources and facts for the article.
QSR generally buys all rights and pays within 30 days of acceptance, “We prefer to work with writers who know the quick-service industry and can make timely, informed queries. If you feel you bring valuable experience and contacts to QSR, please submit a one- to two-page query.” Go here for complete guidelines.
Stop Watch is a trade journal for truckstop and travel plaza operators. Features typically run up to 2,000 words and shorter pieces average 800 words. Payment is made upon publication. Buys First North American Rights. Click here for guidelines.
“We welcome new writers to Stop Watch because we want to keep a fresh perspective. We especially welcome truckstop and travel plaza members and drivers to submit their ideas. They know this business and our writers should, too. The best way to familiarize yourself with our style and content is by reading past issues. Accuracy is crucial. Please be sure every date is accurate and every name is spelled correctly.” Submit story ideas or articles to Mindy Long at firstname.lastname@example.org, or NATSO, Inc., 1737 King Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Paste Magazine is a monthly publication focusing on music, film, books and other forms of arts and entertainment. “We focus on Organic & Eclectic music, encompassing rock, singer/songwriters, alt. country, Americana, indie rock, world music and whatever else we think will grab music lovers seeking something a little deeper.” Paste hopes to cover the best music in the mix, devoting space to independent musicians alongside established artists. The magazine welcomes unsolicited articles from anyone who believes the piece is appropriate for Paste and its readers. (Hint: Best way to figure out what is appropriate is to read the magazine.)” The magazine is often available at Barnes & Noble. Check local your local newsstand for a copy.
Cover stories run 3000-4500 words; Features 1500-4000 words; Front of the book pieces 50-800 words; Film Reviews 200-500 words; Book Reviews 100-500 words; CD Reviews100-800 words. Pays on publication and retains the right to publish submissions on its website and other sites that use its content. Go here for complete guidelines.
Relix is another music publication looking for submissions. The present-day magazine is an outgrowth of the 1964 Dead Relix outlet for Grateful Dead tape traders. The emphasis has shifted away from the Greatful Dead over the years and now the coverage includes jambands and other non-mainstream types of music.
According to the guidelines, “We want to expand our coverage of new artists who might be of interest to our readers, so we are always looking for ideas. We also deal with environmental, cultural and lifestyle issues of concern to our audience. We are happy to welcome new contributors, so if you have story ideas, please feel free to drop us a note, preferably by email, to the appropriate editor.” Complete guidelines are here.
The magazine is looking for behind-the-scenes stories: “Straight-ahead interviews and live show reviews are fine (they’ve long been our stock in trade), but we’d like to see more intimate stories about the people who work out of sight, and the places in which they work.” Payment is made approximately four weeks after publication.
4WD Toyota Owner Magazine is an independent magazine for 4WD Toyota owners and enthusiasts worldwide. “It is a magazine that welcomes contributors of all styles, talents, and field. We welcome new writers, photographers, and yes, perspectives.” The magazine wants tech articles, trail run stories, cool rig features.
“Email us with your idea and we’ll give you a word count. 300 is typically the bare minimum.” Pays for submissions, with the rate depending on size of layout and amount of editing needed. Rates start at $50 and go up from there. Click here to read their entire submission requirements and information on how to email your story idea to editors.
Words into Print gives no warranty to completeness, accuracy or fitness of the above markets, although research was done to the best of our ability.
© 2008 by Laverne Daley
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Use the listed information at your own risk. Words into Print gives no warranty to
completeness, accuracy, or fitness of the markets, although research is done to the best of our ability.