Category Archives: Writing

4 Essential Items for Anyone Starting a Writing Career

For writers wanting to turn their passion into profit, the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming. “Paralysis by Analysis” is common, and we end up reading a lot about how to get our writing off the ground, without taking any action to actually make it happen. Since a lot of information on how to make a living as a writer is often conflicting, many writing hopefuls give up out of frustration. Don’t be that person. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, concentrate on the things that matter and that will actually help you.

Here’s how to use the great information at your disposal to your advantage, rather than letting it become a hindrance: choose items that will help you take action. Writing blogs are great, but unless they’re giving you clear steps to follow, and unless you have a plan to actually follow those steps, reading those blogs is a waste of time.

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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Getting Paid for Your Writing

 

 

I’ve been working on something super exciting this year! If you’ve always wanted to make writing into a career, I’ve got just the course to get you started. Hop on over to Facebook, read the note, and follow the steps. I’ll be selecting 10 people to participate in the first go-round of this course for FREE! Click here to get all the details.

Universal Letter Writing Week Challenge

 

I saw this comic strip a long time ago, and I laughed out loud, because it’s so relatable:

I think this comic strip describes reality pretty well, at least for me. I get so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of email I receive in a day. It’s nuts, and a lot of it I don’t even want to read (or have time to read). But when I receive a handwritten letter in the mail, I can’t wait to make time in my schedule to read it. Receiving a handwritten letter is such a wonderful feeling. I think it’s because we know how busy everyone has gotten, so we feel special knowing that someone took the time to sit down and write us a special note.

Maybe that feeling is the reason that Universal Letter Writing Week started. Whatever the reason, I think focusing on handwriting letters for a whole week is a wonderful idea. I also love a challenge. So here goes: for Universal Letter Writing Week on January 8th to the 14th, I challenge you to write one handwritten letter every single day. If you can mail it to a loved one, even better. Here are some ideas about who to write:

Write to an old friend with whom you’ve lost contact – see if you can find their contact information online, and let them know you’d love to re-connect.

Write a letter to your mom and/or dad just to tell them you’re thinking of them.

Write a letter to your best friend.

Write a love letter to your partner.

Write a special note to your children.

There are so many options here. The point is to sit down and take a little time out of your day to let someone else know that they’re special to you. To revive the art of handwriting, and to have a little fun.

What will you write about, and who will you write this week?

Yes; I have the editor’s email address. No; I’m not going to give it to you.

I see this scenario played out over and over on Facebook (and increasingly, in my inbox): you post an article that you have gotten published, or you mention you’re an author at a large multi-author site, or people think you’ve got some kind of clout in the publishing world. Then, there is always someone who comments on your post or emails you asking you if you have the editor’s email address. These people have read somewhere that pitching an editor directly increases their chance of being published, and they think you have the email address that will be their ticket to publication.

If I have published articles somewhere, chances are, yes, I have the editor’s email address. But no, I’m not going to give it to you. It’s not because I’m a snob. It’s not because I don’t want to see you succeed. On the contrary, by denying you that email address, I’m doing you a huge favour in helping you to grow your writing career. I’m also saving my own behind.

Picture this: you’re sitting down to a lovely meal with your family. Everyone has just been served, and the scene is set for a wonderful time of shared food and talking about your day. As you’re about to take your first bite, the phone rings. And it’s a telemarketer, trying to sell you something you don’t want.

When you ask me for the editor’s email address, you’re the telemarketer. And if I give you the editor’s email address, I’m the person who gave the editor’s name to the telemarketer.

 

Here’s why I’m not going to give you the editor’s email address (unless that editor has specifically asked me to share that address with others, and has done so of his or her own accord):

I don’t know you.

Without exception, every single person who has asked me for an editor’s email address was a total stranger. Most of them don’t even follow me on social media. If you’re one of these people, I know nothing about you. For all I know, you could be a psycho stalker. And you’re asking me to give you someone else’s information. Sorry; I can’t hand my editor’s information to  a psycho stalker.

The editor doesn’t want to know you.

Most editors are extremely busy people. They don’t always get to all of the pitches they receive, and they’re very selective about the emails they open on a day to day basis. That’s why they’re not interested in people who don’t know anything about their publication, except the editor’s email address.

If you’re going around asking people for editor’s email addresses, this tells me two things:

You haven’t taken the time to research this on your own; and

You might not know much about the publication you’re trying get into.

Those two things right there tell me that you’re the last person to whom I want to give away editors’ information.

You can’t speak English – not well, anyway.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I receive messages of request for help to start a writing career – from people who can’t write. Not in English, anyway. If you’re not fluent in English and you’re trying to start a writing career, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself and fix your priorities. Even if I were willing to give you the editor’s email address (which I’m not), you’re not going to get a higher chance of getting published simply by pitching him/her directly. When editors see your poor writing skills, they’re not even going to look at the email. Fix your English. Then worry about starting a career. I know this sounds harsh, but someone’s gotta say it.

I don’t give away people’s personal information without their permission.

Most editors have not given me their permission to share their personal information, and I’m not interested in asking for their permission, either.

Sharing a personal email address with a stranger without permission is considered a huge invasion of privacy by many people. Editors are no different. Would you want me to randomly give your email address to anyone who asked me for it? If so, you’re a rare breed, and you need to understand that the majority of the world doesn’t think the way you do. And it’s going to be a long and arduous road if you expect them to do so.

That’s not to say I’ll never share an editor’s email address.

My editor at a certain publication specifically asked me to share her email address with potential contributors. I made the mistake of giving it to anyone who asked, without checking any samples (I simply didn’t have the time). She got bombarded with people who have great ideas for articles, but can’t actually write in English. She’s far too graceful to complain about it, and even asked me if I knew of resources she could point these writers to. She truly is an amazing lady.

The one and only time I’ll ever give a random person an editor’s email address is if that editor asked me to do so. And no, I won’t ask them if I can share their email address if you ask first. The editor has to initiate that interaction. This is simply a matter of manners and respect.

Still really want that editors’ email address?

I’m not going to give away people’s personal information simply because strangers want it, but if you really do want that editor’s email address, here’s a detailed article from yesware.com on how to find it – but make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the publication before emailing the editor.

The Complete Guide To Finding Any Email Address: Tools, Tips, Tactics, And More

The bottom line:

You’re not going to get published simply because you pitch an editor directly. You need to pitch them with an idea that flows with the publication, that is interesting to the readers, and you need to write it in not only fluent, but excellent English. If you’re going around asking for editors’ email addresses, you’re going about your writing business the wrong way. You’re putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Start by familiarizing yourself with the industry and with how people became successful writers. Guaranteed, it wasn’t by asking for handouts.

Great Christmas Gifts for the Writers on Your List

This year, I’m on top of things. I had all my Christmas gifts purchased before December hit. I finished my handmade stocking gifts well before Christmas eve. But of course, in typical Mariana fashion, I can’t remember where I put one of the gifts, and chances are, I’ll still be scrambling to get ready for Christmas Eve, even though I had planned everything well ahead of time.

If, like me, you’re not always on top of things (even when you think you are), you might still have some gifts left to buy. Do you have a writer on your gift list? Or someone who would love to pursue their writing more seriously? Here are some ideas that’ll make their faces light up. The best part? You could buy some of these on Christmas Day, and
they’d still get to enjoy them on the same day (ah, the joy of membership communities).

Here are some awesome gift for writers.

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Write Every Day Challenge: 2017

 

Are you an aspiring writer? Do you want to be published one day? Do you wish you had more time for your writing? Are you tired of saying “one day I will…” and want to get your writing done now?

I wish I had a magic wand that would add two hours to my day – two hours with complete silence and without interruptions. I’d write my heart out during those two hours. Unfortunately, magic wands aren’t real, and our world works on a 24-hour clock. So if you and I want to get our words out into the world, we’ve got to make the time to make it happen. Enter the Write Every Day Challenge 2017. Here are the details:

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The 5 Blogs You Need to Follow if You’re Starting a Writing Career

In February of 2016, I started writing for fun, and I soon discovered my fun could turn into profit. In a matter of months, working very few hours each week, I made enough to finally visit my family in Brazil (it’d been 5 years since I had last seen them). In my road to a writing career, I joined and left many mailing lists, and followed and unfollowed many blogs. Here’s the ones that made the cut – and why.

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How I made enough from my writing to finally visit my family

I have lived an international life. I grew up in Brazil, then spent my high school years in a suburb of Chicago. After that, I immigrated to Canada with my dad, stepmom, and siblings. I was fortunate enough to have my mom also move to Canada some years later. My sister moved back to Illinois after a period of time. All in all, though, I have almost my whole immediate family in the same province where I live, and I get to see most of them several times per year. Because of that, some people tend to minimize what I’ve left behind.

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How to motivate yourself to write when you have no support system

How to motivate yourself to write

 

Like I said in a previous post, there is no shortage of naysayers discouraging me from my dream.

The hardest part about pursuing something that isn’t a “traditional” job, is that often, the people closest to you are the ones squashing your dreams, even if they don’t quite realize it. They mean well, they really do. They truly don’t believe that what you want is sustainable, or that you’ll get anywhere, because this is a very difficult field to make money in (because you know, that’s still how our society measures success – by how much money you make). They want the best for you and don’t want to see you get hurt, or fail.

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