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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yes, You Can - Writing Challenge Day 17

I am now about 1/3 the way through Nancy's book. The section I am in right now asks the question, why do I write? The answer is not because I can or because I want to write. It deals with the reasons for writing. She notes that as a writer you should have 3 distinct writing goals.

The first should be writing for pleasure. This is writing the story you really want to tell because you feel inspired to write it. For me, this would be my romance novel that has about 200 pages. I laid it down a couple of years ago because writing it just wore me out. I like having a sense of completion which is why I like writing shorter pieces. I didn't feel I was getting close to an end with that book. More currently, I am writing a childen's Christmas story. This is like dessert to me. It is fun to write because it is whimsical. I work on that only late at night. I have the beginning and end and am slowly adding to the middle.

The second reason to write is to get published. That was funny to see as another reason to write, as I am sure all writer's write to get published. It is only the most reclusive of authors who want to hold their manuscripts just to themselves. She explained this more in detail as searching out sources who are looking for submissions. One of the ways I do this is by reading blogs that offer writing leads. These blogs give leads for submissions to high paying magazines, low paying or no paying leads. I also get on email lists for upcoming anthologies that are looking for contributing authors. Lastly, I get leads from my writing group as well. I am also starting to promote myself as a freelance writer to people I meet in case they might have some writing leads as well.

I also search out short essay writing contests online, but have a rule never to submit to any that have entry fees. In a way, I consider them as writing for no fee. There are usually thousands of entries and just a few winners. I won one of those contests a few years ago. I send out at least a dozen a year. It gives me a great experience in writing briefly. Plus, I like dreaming about winning the prize which is usually some sort of trip.

On the topic of no paying magazines that are either e-zines or print media, I am unsure of wanting to write for these publications. If accepted, they are then considered published sources which will make them ineligible for submissions to paying sources. These non-paying sources have high standards, they don't want poorly written articles. So, if I sweat out writing a piece for them that fits their needs I just get a writing credit.

In some cases, I would be willing to do this. However, in reviewing the details of some of these publications I have read that their "rights" to the piece are universal. They say they have the right to reproduce and outsource. So they have the right to sell my story/article wherever they want? They may be compensated but I won't? This really annoyed me in one case when I read the guidelines for a national publication that said they do not pay for any submissions. This wasn't just for opinion pieces, but for all short articles. I guess I should be happy with just the prestige of having my byline in their publication.

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