writing day-by-day

I stand corrected

There’s nothing like getting all of the writing piece right; there’s a sense of satisfaction. Then it takes something more to correct one small part to get it 100 per-cent right.

They tell you, politely, that something needs redoing. It’s seemingly insignificant, but one understands, in fact what they say is 100 percent correct and something needs correcting.

But it takes more time than anticipated to correct this seemingly insignificant detail. But it must be done, I have no doubt.

I had a guy who said to me to just write it and not to worry about the way, shape and form so much. Just do it. He’s wrong because he’s not a writer and may not even be a reader. It does matter how things are written. The little nuances and details add up a great deal. The way it is written matters in terms of how it will sound to the reader. So, it’s very important to make the writing sound the way it should.

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writing day-by-day

What is writing “on spec”?

Writing on spec involves reading the writer’s guidelines of a newspaper or magazine, online or in print, and deciding to submit an article, poem, piece of art work, or story to that publication, according to their guidelines.

The on-spec part is that the piece isn’t guaranteed publication once one sends it. It may be accepted or rejected. That’s the risk the writer or contributor takes in submitting on-spec.

All that hard work and it gets rejected. Well, you try another publisher and another one, until it gets accepted or until one has exhausted the possibilities and you realize that it will never get published as it is. Re-write it, perhaps, and try again.

Submitting on spec is a treadmill at times and it’s hard to write on-spec when you don’t have guarantee it will get published. Writing on assignment is guaranteed but writing on-spec can be a test of a writer’s perseverance when there’s a chance of getting it rejected. Why bother?

But if one can get in the mood to write on-spec, why not? One may get published somewhere along the line.  Write it well, send it well. Go well. See what happens.

writing day-by-day

A little annoyance that one didn’t expect coming

A little annoyance in the writer’s life is good for the soul (not). Like you’re expecting an overwhelmingly positive reply, as you think, almost beyond a doubt, you are going to get the publication slot. But you don’t. It just seemed that way. It’s like a trick played on you, but you’ve been self-deluded. A wake-up call in many ways, but not a fully soul-destroying one. A writer just keeps on going, nevertheless, and processes the “trick” played on you by someone you trusted. Then, you start over again, perhaps a little more guarded next time.

writing day-by-day

On a wing and a prayer

What does a writer do when the tools for doing the writing thing are in need of repair? A writer may panic because the writing is on hold. They may get bored with waiting around until the writing tool is back and going. Other writers may devise plans to get around an expensive repair. Sit back and relax for a while. It will come out in the wash.

writing day-by-day

Getting the job done

One of the pressures of being on “assignment” is getting the job done on time. It requires a little foresight and maybe planning. If one is very busy it takes astute time management around other activities, work and social life. If one has the time, being on assignment should be a breeze, but then again who has that kind of time these days? For most, writing on assignment requires time management to get the job done.

One thing the publisher does is penalize writers if they don’t hand the work in on time. It may be a loss of some of the fee or you forfeit the whole fee if the work is too late. The publisher has assigned the work and needs it, so brings some sort of “incentive” to get it done, like losing some of your fee which is a good way for them to see the work on time.

For busy writers sacrificing one assignment for a better one may be the way if one can’t fit it in. One just doesn’t hand in the assignment and suffers the penalty. It may mean the writer loses with one publisher and gets no more work, but hopes to make up for it with a better one, or thinks it’s a better one.

There can be plusses and minuses of this. The plus is that the publisher you send the actual assignment to pays better than the other publisher you rejected. You can spend more time on the assignment and do a great job of it and then maybe get more work with the same publisher.

The negatives is that the other publisher you’ve let go may be a good one. They may have provided more assignments and quite a steady stream of jobs.

Is it better to sacrifice one assignment, but go with the other assignment which pays better? Or does one do the lesser paying job which may provide more work in the future?

But the bottom line is always this: how much stress, in one’s present reality, is one or the other or one over the other? When everything in one’s life is considered, which assignment is going to be the more realistic option, and be honest about it.

And only do both, or whatever number, if one can do them all on time. It’s always a better look and shows one is reliable. Otherwise, don’t take on the assignment if you can’t. One should always take on assignments one intends to do on time.

writing day-by-day

The journey to an assignment

Cold calling is a lonely business. After all, cold calling is just what it says it is. It’s cold because one is calling some one out the blue who may not want your business. And if they don’t want your business, it’s a cold spear to the heart.

Nevertheless, a writer may do cold calling at some stage or throughout their life. Cold calling has various forms, such as taking your business to the streets and knocking on doors and doing the rounds calling people up on the phone, but that was the 90’s.

With the advent of the internet, cold calling can take the form of emailing. Though with the internet, it does not have to be cold calling as the ability to message prospective clients, such as ones you’ve built a relationship with on Twitter and Facebook, has made cold calling a bit redundant.

However, sometimes, one must do the cold call and email has it’s pluses and minuses. It’s easier for someone not to reply. If one faced them out or called on the phone you should get a reply straight away, hence the 1990s were good for a straight up reply.

Email can bring a bad reply, though, or no reply at all. When the good ones come and with more frequency, email is a friend. You cold called a publication and got an assignment and contract. Then, onto another one!

writing day-by-day

Ideas galore: how to get through the flow.

There’s an easy way to file away ideas and thoughts. It’s not by filing ideas and thoughts for different genres into different notebooks, but simply keeping a notebook for everything that comes to mind.

I’d been doing it the other way, though, but realized the put everything in one place approach is better.

I’ve been keeping my Bible reading notes in one exercise book. This was for the purpose of jotting the ideas I get from reading the Bible which could become devotions, meditations and reflections.

When other ideas came to mind, say a story idea that jumped into my head, I had to find a different notebook, or piece of paper, to jot the idea down.

But it would be quicker just writing the idea in my devotional notebook because that was handy. I don’t like mixing various ideas around in a notebook intended for one thing, though.

It makes much better sense to include everything in one notebook, doesn’t it?

So, all one has to do is headline each notebook entry for what kind of idea it is: be it devotional, story, article, poem, etc.

And if one is the run, one may keep a recorder, or something like it, for easy recording when ideas come to mind. Keep the ideas in one place on the recorder and indicate what each idea is, whether story, article, poem, etc.

Much better. All in one place and headlined for easy reference. All one needs now is a good notebook and/or a digital recorder. Digital recorders hold more information so spending on one is probably cheaper in the long run than buying notebook after notebook. May be just invest in a simple digital recorder for notetaking, if one likes, or if that’s easier when on the run. Or write it down, if that’s preferable.

writing day-by-day

A little mystery is good

Is it good to tell others everything about your writing? Sometimes, it’s not. One may face people who wish they could get your job. Why stoke their flames by saying you’re doing this and that?

Otherwise, one may select what one tells others.

It’s a good thing to remember the proverb of concealing what one knows. Not only in terms of facts and subjects, but in what one does with their time and how this applies to writing.

A little mystery where appropriate can give a colour to your profile, whereas saying everything you know lacks discretion.