So! I've been learning about writing, and thinking about writing, and even actually writing, but my blog is suffering! This is amusing. And it seems that if I follow the advice given me by Serious Writers and Tutors, this blog would become a Serious Thing, a tool to further my success. But you know what? I like this blog just the way it is. I need my friends here, this community we've created. I really love the therapy. This blog is a HOBBY, and hobbies are good. Plus, it's fun to just write whatever, and not think about grammar and spelling perfection and How Many Words and What Does the Editor Want and Oh, Can I SAY That? Here, we can say anything! (Go on, say it!)
I love to write. I've always loved to read, and at school we girls were drilled in Good English by the indomitable Mrs. Cumerbatch et al until we could recite Shakespeare in our sleep. You can tell a Bishop's Girl... just use the word "presently" wrong and you'll see her wince and look down to make sure her skirt falls two inches below her knees. So, thanks to Mum instilling a love of reading, and thanks to the training at school, I can write and I love it.
I would like to climb up to my rooftop for a moment, and shout: "Wow, doing a writing course is so cool! You should all do this!" You are all great writers, you bloggies... (Or 'Citizen Journalists', if you please) and think for a minute: there are SO MANY magazines and newspapers and websites out there, and they all need articles. Go to the store and look around. There's Cat World, Yoga Journal, Historical Tractors Monthly, Knitting World, Guitarist, The Vegan, Spin, Glamour, Family Fun, Woman's Day, Field and Stream, Surfing, Cosmo, Crochet Monthly, Frog Enthusiasts... okay I made that one up but I BET THERE'S ONE FOR FROG ENTHUSIASTS!
Okay. I checked and there's 'Frog Magazine' which is arty, but there's also National Geographic for kids and they are BIG on frogs there.
See, my bloggies? You could write an article on ANYTHING, and if you knew how, you could sell it to a publication, and they would pay you. If you visit the websites of your favourite mags, you may even find they say what they are looking for and how much they pay.
So the course I'm doing with Writer's Bureau is helping me to understand this, the Business of Writing. How to turn my skill into a freelance business. I am really enjoying it, it's thorough and excellent. I'm pretty certain now that I can be a successful professional writer. If I can ever finish Assignment 2!
Having said that, I would like to point out that before the Writer's Bureau, for me, there was The Internet and the community of writers here. Honing your talent in public, with instant feedback via comments, is excellent practice for a writer. Whatever you are into, there is a website for you, or you can just start your own!
Some of the more wonderful and amazing sites for writers:
The Inferno, for short story challenges and feedback.
Womag Writer's Blog for short story tips of the trade.
Mistakes Writers Make (And How To Put Them Right), a blog by an experienced writing tutor.
Simon Says! for more tips on non-fiction writing.
There are many more. Look around! Add them in comments if you'd like to share.
Fiction is not really my thing, so far. I want to write stuff that inspires parents and makes their job easier. I want to make women laugh, and be strong. I want to inform. But the business of writing is similar, whatever you're writing.
A few months ago, I downloaded an E-Book, The End Of The Book: Writing in a Changing World. This book does focus mainly on fiction, but it was a good investment for me anyway, full of creative advice. Different from the course I'm doing now, The End of the Book explains how important it is to get together with other writers for creative brainstorming and feedback. It also informs writers HOW to set up a writers' group, if there isn't one in your community.
And while we're on the subject of Books, there is one thing all writers need to have if they are planning on selling their work: an annual handbook listing publications, addresses, editors and up-to-date tips. In the USA it's The 2010 Writer's Market, and in the UK it's The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2010. I have also borrowed dozens of books from the library on writing style, correct grammar and spelling and all of those boring things that a writer MUST be sure of. Spelling and Grammar are a writer's tools. Keep them sharp, I say!
I went to a Free Lecture at the University of Bournemouth just before Christmas (Re-Envisioning Journalism), and I'm on the lookout for more. The University Students were a little, well, clique-y. The two people who I attempted to strike up a conversation with made it clear that they were SERIOUS JOURNALISTS and this was NOT a social event. However, the lecture was really really informative, thought-provoking and I want to go back next term! I'll be watching their website for interesting upcoming lectures. Most universities have free lectures that you can gate-crash, and they are very good.
Everyone who is a writer or artist should watch this video clip on my friend's blog: Finding Your Inner Genius is a short talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of 'Eat, Pray, Love'. In this clip she talks about discipline and creativity.
So. I was an Artist, and now I'm a writer. Same thing really.