Friday, October 28, 2011

Organizing Your Writing Assignments

I have a wonderful problem. I have too many writing assignments and no way to organize them.

I have to somehow organize them by deadline, by if it's a blog post that I'll have to rewrite to submit to the regionals later, by if it's just going to the regionals, by season, by topic and so on.

I've tried a spiral notebook. I lost it. I think it turned into the grocery list spiral notebook instead.

I would like to try something like Google Calendar but I like having things at my fingertips. I like to TOUCH my assignments and be able to immediately see what I have going on. I also like being able to throw a piece of paper away once the assignment is done.

So I got out a recipe box and am keeping track of assignments on index cards. I'd show you a picture but I'm a little embarrassed! I think Christina Katz said in one of her books that she keeps track of her assignments by clipping pieces of paper to a clothesline so they are always in her face and she knows when to follow up on queries and such.

So how do you organize your writing assignments? And if you don't have any assignments yet, it can be just as nutty trying to organize the things you WANT to query or write about! And I haven't even checked out any editorial calendars lately!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Go For Your Dreams, a Drill Team Story Related to Writing

I was either 13 or 14 years old and in junior high school. I practiced for drill team tryouts like a mad woman to Jungle Love (hey, it was the early 80s, what do you want?). I had the routine down, I smiled, and I served it to the judges. I knew I had this. I wanted this badly.

Did I get on the team and get to dance my heart out for a year?

No. Why?

Because I didn't get my permission slip signed by my mom. I don't know if I lost it or forgot or whatever. It wasn't her fault; it was mine.

I learned a massive lesson that day. I learned that if you sit around dreaming about something but don't follow through, you will never get it. But if you GO FOR IT and have everything in place, you at least gave it a shot.

Over the years, this comes to mind often. I've given things a shot and I have failed. But I smiled because I knew I had tried. I knew I had practiced AND gotten my proverbial permission slip in.

So you've written some articles. Great. Now what? Are you going to TURN IN THE PERMISSION SLIP (submit them) and find out if your dreams could start coming true?

Report back here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Love Affair with Writer's Digest

This photo was taken of me in 1995, before I even met my husband! Notice the Writer's Digest on the couch next to me. It was my date. I love it dearly. I must admit I even slept with it.

I have always loved Writer's Digest, and it is a huge help to me. My subscription has run out, and I will be hinting at my dad to re-up it for me for Christmas.

What writing magazines and sites do YOU love?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is $25 decent pay for 1,000 words?

Below is a response to an email from an ebook buyer. I apologize for the horrid all-caps and no caps. I do know how to write; I am just time crunched!

now, i do not think $25 is decent for 1,000 words at all. BUT I am doing it ... at least, my pieces are around 750 for an RPM blog and I'm getting $25 (I love when writers can talk honestly about money!). i'm doing it b/c it is making me write these pieces. then as i'm writing them i'm thinking of how i can change them by 20%. like i just sent one out about a specific subject. the one i sent them is pretty straightforward. as i wrote it, i wrote alternate paragraphs (more personal and first person) and just did a page break after the original piece and put my notes down there. Then when i send the actual piece to the RPM, I copy and paste it into the body of the email. If they want it in a document, I will just make sure I CUT and paste my notes for the other article and start a new document. It gets confusing! Then someday you will want to take the same piece and make it a QUERY for nationals and then you will really get confused.

The reason I do this is b/c like I said (1) it gets me writing (2) it makes me some REGULAR money (3) I can rework it and send it to more pubs to make more money (4) I can someday make it a query and retool it again for nationals or onlines.

I am being honest with you about pay. Some places will give you $50 and up for one reprint, but that is rare. If I'm asked what I charge, I say $35. I'm doing a special thing for this RPM. the people who tell you that you are writing for too little also have daycare and 40 hours a week to write for tons of money. most of us are doing this for extra money, clips and to get our name out there FOR NOW. I don't want to do writing of manuals and stuff b/c it bores me, even though it makes more money! The clients are weinies sometimes, too. Editors for RPMs are generally so simple to work with!

P.S. You make more doing this than writing for $15 an article for article mills, and they OWN your piece for life, friend. When I think of all the stuff I did for, I made a few bucks and they booted me off anyway, I could spit.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Real Paychecks

Holly just asked today how much I make doing this writing gig.  I told her those kinds of questions are never too personal! 

Here are a few posts about that topic (click on the word Here!).

I don't make what most people would consider "real" paychecks, but it is real money. I consider a "real" paycheck to be $700-1,000 writing for a national magazine, and I'm not quite there yet, although I am querying, putting different angles on my pieces that did well with the regionals. My checks are from $15-120, but they are consistent as long as I have lots of pieces circulating.

I currently have about 40 pieces out and some do better than others. October was a good month since I have 3 pieces for halloween. Still, a good month means only about $400-600 for now. For me, I love it b/c I can stay home with my kids and I am on nobody's schedule usually. It covers our groceries! You can't get rich writing for the regionals, but it is steady and you can get assignments, credits and experience so you can jump to the nationals! oh, and it took me about a year to get going like this, but i know others who write better pieces than mine who got like 50 new credits in their first year.
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