One Quick Tip for Revitalizing Your Writing Life

creative nonfictionThose who have been reading this blog for the past, um, forever know I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump.

I’ve been feeling burnt out on the same old same old, lusting after lit mag credits, and wondering how to find a balance between the two.

As a result, I just slowly… stopped… trying. I maintained the work I already had, but stopped looking for something new. This has led to terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bank account balances.

Then, like flicking a switch, the ASJA conference sparked something in me.

Suddenly, I felt inspired. I felt motivated. And, almost like magic, things started picking up again. [Read more…]

How To Achieve Full-Time Success with Part-Time Hours

Forget grad school. As most of you know, I’m a huge proponent of learning by doing. Of course, before I do anything, I also typically read a shit-ton of books. (All of the education at a fraction of the cost!)

Back in 2007, it was Michelle Goodman’s The Anti 9-to-5 Guide that got me up and running as a full-time freelancer. Later on, I read My So-Called Freelance Life (also by Goodman) and wished I’d had it from the very beginning.

Last week, I speed-read Kelly James-Enger’s Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success and realized it was the book I should have had when the economy — and my business — first hit the skids. Luckily, no matter how long you’ve been freelancing, there’s always something to learn.

I’ve been reading Kelly’s blog — Dollars and Deadlines — for awhile now, and also recommend her book on ghostwriting and coauthoring — Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks — to just about every writer I come into contact with. So I was thrilled when I heard she had written a new book. In fact, I devoured the entire thing in two days, dog-earing pages on market research, story ideas, reprints, and contract templates.

What struck me the most, however, was that Kelly had created a level of success that allowed her to bring in a full-time income while working part-time hours.

Basically, my idea of perfection.

After the jump, Kelly is generous enough to share how you can do the same. [Read more…]

Been Writing for Years? You Still Have A Lot to Learn

Many of you already know my writing history.

Awful poetry at the age of 5.

A part-time gig at a weekly newspaper at the age of 19.

Writing sex toy reviews by the age of 22.

And now, at the age of 31, I’ve created content for online magazines, alternative newspapers, both regional and national print magazines, and a slew of blogs.

Not too shabby.

What I’ve always wanted, however, is to write a book. A book that garners interest from traditional publishers, and that eventually ends up on the shelf at Barnes & Noble or McNally Jackson or the Trident Bookstore/Cafe.

Up until recently, however, I didn’t do a damn thing about it. [Read more…]

Need New Material? Try Living Your Life

About two and a half years ago, I blogged about feeling limited by the sex writing niche I’d found myself in. Since then, I’ve been an editor at a web magazine featuring content on love and sex, I’ve had my own sex column, I’ve co-written an ebook with Ian Kerner on spicing up your sex life, I’ve been interviewed as an expert on vibrators, and more. When all is said and done, I suppose the sex writing thing has been good to me.

Still, it’s tough to continue getting mileage out of that first sex party I attended five years ago, or that one time I posed nude for a portraitist. Plus, even sex gets boring!

Which is why, in this month’s edition of Word Nerd News, I urged readers to get the hell out of the house and live a little.

[Read more…]

Reason To Write: So That Others Will Live

Bill Dameron

It’s been awhile since I posted something new in our Reason To Write series, but when Bill contacted me with his story, I immediately connected to his personal reason for writing… not because of the events that got each of us writing, but because we both often write to make others feel less alone.

Bill is a full-time IT Director who’d rather be writing. In fact, when he’s not as his day job, he blogs over at The Authentic Life. (His blog posts make me LOL.) Married to a woman for 20 years, he’s now with Paul. They’ve been together for four years, and happily married for one.

Bill’s story — as detailed below — makes me think of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project. The takeaway is the same. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

In 1977, I was unceremoniously dumped into the public school system after eight years of Catholic school.

Studio 54 debuted, Donna Summer oozed disco sex, and Saturday Night Fever introduced me to polyester boogie nights.

It was also the year of my rhinestone-studded pants, and my brief professional writing career.

[Read more…]

Spill It: What’s On Your Magazine Bucket List?

After resigning from YourTango, and before my time there was even up, I started making plans.

I secured a writing partner who could keep me accountable as I worked my way through several information products. I invested in some educational materials, and a new resume, in the interest of building my business. I even got some professional head shots done up.

All of these were things that would help me earn money in the long run.

But short-term? The best thing I did was to set a weekly query goal for myself, and to start meeting that goal even before I’d left my part-time, permalance gig.

The results? Though I’m only about three weeks into my post-YourTango life, I’ve already secured seven magazine assignments, snagged one rush copy editing project, am in talks regarding three, large ebook projects, and have been invited to lunch by a magazine editor at a national magazine.

[Read more…]

Breakneck Book Report: Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I realized I could be funny.

I had just transferred to Emerson College and, after workshopping a series of overwrought essays about my last romantic relationship, I wrote about running out of underwear, finding a gaping hole in the street where my laundromat used to be, and finally going commando.

My classmates looked at me, perplexed. It was obvious they didn’t think I had it in me. Either to write with such humor OR to go frolicking about without my cotton granny panties. But as blindsided as they were, they loved it. And I loved that they loved it. The humorous personal essay? Alright then. I was hooked!

[Read more…]

Reason To Write: To Change My World Through Creativity

Susan Finch

What does creativity mean to you? For Susan Finch, the guest author behind this latest Reason To Write post, it’s about more than just her writing. It’s about her whole world. Before you dive in, check out her website, where she blogs about creative strategies for artists, writers, and entrepreneurs searching for alternatives to business as usual, and learn more about her travel and lifestyle writing.

Even though I blog about creativity, it’s hard to answer my own question to myself: Why does being creative matter to me?

I was self-employed as a video editor for eight years before becoming a travel writer and, later, the Multimedia Director for a marketing firm. Now I’m self-employed once again. My road map has been a long and winding one. And along my creative journey, I never knew for sure why I had traveled the path.

Why did I care? What motivated me?

[Read more…]

Wanted: A Writing Partner Who Can Kick My Writing Ass

Wanted: A writing partner who can kick my lazy, procrastinating writer’s ass. Must: Thrive on deadlines, and be willing to offer up honest and constructive criticism, while still being mindful of my multitudinous neuroses, my overwrought sensitivity, and my blind, codependent love affair with my own words. Should enjoy: Caffeine addiction, cats, serial commas, fuzzy pants, Slankets, and dance breaks. Must have a zero-tolerance policy for: Auto DMs, Foursquare, and checking one’s smartphone while in the company of others.

Interested? For the love of god, please e-mail me. Like, right now.

[Read more…]

Reason To Write: To Ask Questions

Vera Badertscher

For our latest entry in the Reason To Write series, let me introduce Vera Marie Badertscher, a freelance writer who also blogs about travel-related books and movies. She is also the co-author of Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist, an art biography that will be released in April, 2011. Why do I love Vera’s story so much? It highlights the importance of writing about the things you want to know more about, rather than being limited by what you already know.

My father said my constant refrain as a little girl was, “Why, Daddy?”

That may explain why I wound up in a profession that asks questions. I’m curious about just about everything and everyone.

Freelance writers have to be curious. It may feel snoopy and prying, but we’re not satisfied until we’ve probed and picked away at the surface of things, and mined the real story lurking underneath.

The little secret of our trade? People like to talk about themselves.

[Read more…]