Idea–Stolen

Well, not quite, but a few good pitches I’ve come up with recently have already been assigned to other writers. Doesn’t that piss you off? How do you ever really know? Since I’m still new, I spend a lot of time on my pitch letter and for it to get rejected simply because someone else had the same idea gets me frustrated. I keep reading, don’t take rejection personally, but it’s much easier said than done. I don’t even realize I take it personally half the time. 

So how do you make an idea different? There are only so many topics general lifestyle mags cover. It’s the same things, in a new light. How do you get that new light?

I guess I just have to keep trying.

Remember, the first draft is crap

I forgot that the first draft is supposed to be bad. Instead of letting my thoughts bounce around the page, I’ve been trying to create structure during my first attempt at writing a piece. Not a good strategy for me and for most writers.

I never wrote my college papers at the last minute. But, I studied at the last minute all the time. But, I needed to revise my research several times. I usually got all the meaty parts in during the first draft, but I needed several more drafts to fix pronouns, punctuation, etc. My friends always assumed it was no skin off my back to write a paper; after all, I was a Journalism major. Not true. I needed time to go through the nooks and crannies. My papers were the only thing I was that thorough about.

Since I started working as an editor, I have forgotten this process; probably because there’s too little time to devise three or four drafts for everything. An article in the February issue of Writer’s Digest magazine reminded me to slow down and focus more on my ideas than on getting it perfect early on in the writing process. 

Here are some tips I picked up from Elizabeth Sim’s Fixing Your First Draft

  • Don’t focus so much on getting it right the first time. Let your words flow onto the page. You can go back later and manage the technicalities.
  • Don’t try to write in order. Write in the order of what comes to your mind next and not how the piece should be organized. 
  • Give more, not less. Over-write, over-write, over-write!  There’s always room for editing and who knows which insane idea will give fruit to an entirely difference article or book?
  • Mark up the pages. Make notes as you’re writing. Use the margins to display ideas, questions, facts that may or may not come in handy later. Circle, draw arrows–the crazier the page looks, the more material you will have.
  • Don’t stress on the beginning. You don’t need an excellent start, just a start. It might end up being nothing like you originally thought, but your ideas will eventually lead you to the right one.
  • Write the first draft by hand. Like Sims, I work best when I write my first draft by hand and then type it in during the second revision. it feels less mechanical that way. Gmail and AIM distract me too much to ever really let  my words flow freely. I haven’t been doing a lot of this recently and this is definitely at the top of my writing resolutions list.**

Hope this list was helpful! Go check out the article yourself in the Feb. issue of Writer’s Digest. I’ve been visiting WD’s website for a while now, but never picked up the print issue until now. I assumed it was only useful to novelists and more seasoned writers. But, now I’m definitely a fan!

Merry Christmas!

**By the way, I hand wrote this post while reading this article and typed it in today, changing a lot of the structure. See, I’m following her advice already!

Doing My Own Taxes? Oh, No.

I got a job. A good job. It’s a freelance Associate Web Editor/Producer at a new fashion and beauty website that’s launching in February, along the lines of Glam.com and I am super excited! Today’s my first day and I just get a great vibe from the whole place. I actually found an old co-worker! Plus, everyone here has very impressive backgrounds, so I feel confident that this won’t be a fluke.

This was perfect timing and I can gain some really great experience before I move out to Atlanta in the summer. The genre is perfect–fashion and beauty–and so is the position. 

I am notoriously horrible at handling my finances and now that I an independent contractor (for reals!), I am dreading tax time. I’ve plotted in my head to set aside a certain amount from each paycheck so that I can pay my taxes and not be tempted to kill myself. But, I’m still worried. I’ve always skipped over the ‘managing your finances’ part of any article, blog or book I’ve read on freelancing and I think it’s time I start digging in!

Any suggestions/comments?

Why I'm Ready To Freelance

1 pitch accepted, another almost accepted, a few sent out, a dozen in the research stage and two contracted gigs later, I am officially a freelancer! Aside from the monthly blogging gig at the bridal site, I am also writing and editing the newsletters for a major lifestyle website. I should also be starting as a freelance web editor at the new magazine based in Atlanta, January 1st. Things are starting to look up!

One of my favorite freelance writing bloggers, Mridu, wrote a post on what makes a good freelance personality and here are my thoughts on myself.

– I like working alone which contrasts my extrovert personality. But, when it comes to socializing at work, I like to keep to myself. I think that’s because I’m afraid I’ll be a Chatty Cathy and go on and on. So, I’d rather just keep a distance. Besides, I don’t trust most people in the magazine world–it’s just too competitive!

– I’m good at marketing myself. My friends and co-workers were always astonished at how I constantly got interviews, whether or not they panned out into jobs. I can write a mean cover letter, which should mean my query letters should also be quite decent. I actually like pitching and researching story ideas. It’s my favorite part of the entire process.

– I suck at working underneath someone. I can’t address my concerns to my boss openly. If I can’t handle something, I take it on anyway and then I end up either working harder than necessary or just plain sucking at the task.

– I can deal with rejection over an e-mail or the phone. In person, my face reveals way too much and I start sweating. Not a pretty sight.

– I like working at my own pace and schedule. I will admit I’m not the best at deadlines, but if I know it’s necessary, it will get done.

– I love to multitask and do different things on a daily basis.

– I love seeing my name in print. The End 🙂

Things I’m worried about:

– Random payment schedule. I am NOT good at budgeting. Then again, that’s what the hubby is for.

– Rejection. Too many no’s will surely make me doubt my skills at times.

– Not getting dressed up and getting out of the house. I can become a real bum sitting at home!

Why I’m Ready To Freelance

1 pitch accepted, another almost accepted, a few sent out, a dozen in the research stage and two contracted gigs later, I am officially a freelancer! Aside from the monthly blogging gig at the bridal site, I am also writing and editing the newsletters for a major lifestyle website. I should also be starting as a freelance web editor at the new magazine based in Atlanta, January 1st. Things are starting to look up!

One of my favorite freelance writing bloggers, Mridu, wrote a post on what makes a good freelance personality and here are my thoughts on myself.

– I like working alone which contrasts my extrovert personality. But, when it comes to socializing at work, I like to keep to myself. I think that’s because I’m afraid I’ll be a Chatty Cathy and go on and on. So, I’d rather just keep a distance. Besides, I don’t trust most people in the magazine world–it’s just too competitive!

– I’m good at marketing myself. My friends and co-workers were always astonished at how I constantly got interviews, whether or not they panned out into jobs. I can write a mean cover letter, which should mean my query letters should also be quite decent. I actually like pitching and researching story ideas. It’s my favorite part of the entire process.

– I suck at working underneath someone. I can’t address my concerns to my boss openly. If I can’t handle something, I take it on anyway and then I end up either working harder than necessary or just plain sucking at the task.

– I can deal with rejection over an e-mail or the phone. In person, my face reveals way too much and I start sweating. Not a pretty sight.

– I like working at my own pace and schedule. I will admit I’m not the best at deadlines, but if I know it’s necessary, it will get done.

– I love to multitask and do different things on a daily basis.

– I love seeing my name in print. The End 🙂

Things I’m worried about:

– Random payment schedule. I am NOT good at budgeting. Then again, that’s what the hubby is for.

– Rejection. Too many no’s will surely make me doubt my skills at times.

– Not getting dressed up and getting out of the house. I can become a real bum sitting at home!