Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today's Inspiration

I have a confession to make. I can't sew a button. I can't even thread a needle. My grandmother has always sewed, and I used to love hanging out in her sewing room when I was a kid. But I have never considered myself creative in any design sort of way and resigned myself to that. But in my job I get to cross paths with so many people who are wonderfully imaginative in so many ways, and I wish for once I wasn't just writing about them, but could be them for a day.
I'm writing about a local woman who buys clothes from secondhand stores, cuts them up to make new garments, and sells them affordably to give them new life. She calls it upcycling. She has the neatest sewing studio in her house, and I loved sitting there on her yellow leather couch watching the photographer capture her inner and outer beauty and her fashionable designs. It was a nice escape from deadlines and worrying about where the next paycheck will come from.
She is a cancer survivor, and recently lost her mother to cancer, and she finds solace in sewing. Some of the costume jewelry from her mother's collection adorned the mannequins around the room.
I think we cross paths with people for a reason. Devon and I found out our children attend the same preschool and we had never seen each other before being thrown together on this assignment. Now I can't wait to take my daughter to her home to try on some of the little girl creations and maybe even have her take sewing classes there in a few years.
Thank you Devon, for inspiring me today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writer's Resume

This morning I have the daunting task of cleaning off my desk so I can actually be productive for a change. But before I do that, why not distract myself even further with a little blogging?
I came across this article by Moira Allen at WOW! Women on Writing about the concept of a writer's resume. I've had to dust off my resume lately while applying for various writing and editing jobs and thought it looked a little convoluted, as it contains all my work history in chronological order. Luckily, in my case, much of my work history includes writing and editing positions, but I do also have a few advertising positions thrown in there as well. I know many writers who may not have previous writing experience are at a loss when it comes to sending in a resume for a job posting. I think I'm going to go back now and rearrange it per Allen's suggestion so it reads something more like this:

Contact information
Writing and editing qualifications
Work history
Awards and memberships
Personal information

How is your resume arranged?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Food for Thought

I finally watched the movie "Julie and Julia" this past weekend. It was pretty good, although it did drag in some parts because the screenplay had to weave two different people's lives together. I'd like to read the book now to compare. What most intrigued me was the deadline Julie Powell gave herself -- blogging about cooking more than 500 recipes in 365 days. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say she succeeded, and landed herself a book deal in the process. (By the way, there is no way I could eat that much butter in one year and live to tell the tale). Maybe I've finally figured out what I'm doing wrong.
I have deadlines with magazine articles I write. But when it comes to anything related to "extracurricular" writing (such as fiction, blogging) I DON'T give myself deadlines for some reason. I've never participated in NaNoWriMo. A one-month deadline terrifies the heck out of me.
I was discussing my lack of personal deadlines with my husband and he reminded me that every spring, I take on some big life-changing project. The past few years has been related to training for different road races, but this year he suggested I finally hammer out my novel April-June, then work on revising it. If I put together a "training" schedule like I did when I trained for my half-marathon, maybe this could work.
Have you ever given yourself deadlines for non-paying work? How did it turn out?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freelance Writing Workshop

As part of the new LakeNormanMommies Learning Series, I'm offering a workshop on breaking into freelance writing at my home in Huntersville next Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. Below are the details:

During this two-hour class (which includes coffee/snack time), you'll learn how to:
  • analyze the mastheads of local publications to see where writing opportunities are
  • brainstorm article ideas
  • find expert sources to quote in your articles
  • query a national publication
My writing credits include:
The Charlotte Observer
Lake Norman Currents
Charlotte Parent
Little Ones
Carolina Parent
Piedmont Parent
Huggies Baby Network
Funds for Writers
The Writer

You can find more bio information on my web page,
The class fee is $20 and a portion of the fee will be donated to LakeNormanMommies as a fundraiser. There will be door prizes, too, and great opportunities to connect with other creative LKNM moms! Contact me if you would like more information. We have 6 spots left in the class.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Productivity Pitfalls

Sometimes, you have to just give up and admit your weaknesses. I've realized this the past few weeks. I swear I would bring in so much more money with my writing if I could just get my act together. As the mother of two young children, I have precious daytime hours to work while they are in elementary school and preschool so I don't have to shell out additional money for child care. But lately I've been finding myself piddling around during their school hours and not being very productive at all. Sure, I may get to the gym, but what about all those perfectly crafted query letters in my head? I tell myself if I work out in the morning I'll focus on the writing business in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, but let's face it. By that time I've endured the afternoon carpool, run one or two errands with both kids, worked on school assignments, made dinner and generally ensured my brain has turned to mush. I end up in a daze on the couch watching whatever show is waiting for me on the DVR.
So here is my new method. For the next two weeks, I am not allowed to go to the gym during daytime hours until I have at least three writing-related tasks checked off my list. Next I have to work on creating a calendar so I can get specific tasks down on paper. We'll see how this goes.
Oh, and speaking of query letters, check out a great example of a query letter that rocked, courtesy of Linda Formichelli over at The Renegade Writer blog.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Letting the Words Fall Where They May

There are words inside of me that are calling to be released. I've kept them in my mind for too long. They keep me awake at night. They are a multitude of stories, childhood experiences, spiritual awakenings and realizations. They are fragments of songs that play inside my head daily.
There are different places for all these words. I struggle as I try to figure out where they all fit. My big resolution for 2010 is to actually make progress on my novel. I've realized that I'm afraid to write fiction. I think it's because every word that comes from me is personal and steeped in reality. But I must let go of that fear and see where I end up. These characters deserve to find their place in the world. They are beautiful and unique, and I love each and every one of them.
A few years ago I won a beautiful leather-bound journal in a contest. Very simply on the front, these words are engraved:
"If you wish to be a writer, write."
I carried this journal with me yesterday and wrote as I waited for my son to complete his speech therapy session. I couldn't believe how easily my character's story began pouring out. Maybe I have to take a more organic approach to putting this piece of work together. Later I can transfer these words onto my computer, but for now I feel free and ready to take flight. Stay tuned.