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Writerly Resolutions for 2013

Hey there writers, readers and general people of the web-verse.

Happy 2013! I hope your resolutions are achievable and your will power is strong.

Here are a few of my writerly resolutions for the coming year. I’ve been looking at twitter, and everyone all over the place seems to intend to read more! Not a bad idea. There’s a strange level of disappointment in yourself when you haven’t read all the books everyone else has read, or whatever seems to be in vogue or is being made into a film. What books are you guys looking forward to reading this year?

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1. Learning to Love E-Books

This has been easier than anticipated. Since fighting violently against the e-book market, and denying that e-readers are at all a positive thing, I have got a kindle. And boy, I love it! I especially get very excited by scanning Amazon for books (as I did before) and then getting them automatically! Instantaneous reading excitement! It’s also very likely that when my book goes into publication, it will be as an e-book. So I want to convert as many people as possible. Plus, now I have more room in my bag when travelling!

I’m currently reading Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me At Hello, which has all the things I love, including sarcasm, snarkiness, nostalgia and a pretty boy. It’s also the closest thing I’ve found to my second novel The Last Word, so that’s comforting.

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2. Blogging the Crap out of Everything.

Whilst some people are probably sick to death of everything I say on this blog (please see comments on previous post for example, ha ha) blogging is how you get yourself known, and as countless SEO experts have said, it’s bloody important. I’ve been keeping up with my writing, reading and…no, not so much with the maths, but have been so busy doing it that I haven’t been blogging about it!

So 2013 will be the year of the blog…hopefully. And I’ll start uploading more samples of my work because when you let people know what you’re up to, you’re kind of obligated to keep going.

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3. Write, not just Type

I’m having a bit of a situation in figuring out physical mediums at the moment. Originally, I always used to write everything in a notebook, or write pages and pages of scraps, and then type once things already appeared to have a definitive form. With my latest project, I started typing from the get-go, and I’m not really sure about it. Also, I like pretty notebooks!

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4. Write Sober

Big fan of Hemmingway’s famous advice, and find it to be particularly useful, but seeing as I’ll be giving up alcohol for January, it’ll be interesting to see whether it’s easier to write when you’re not so foggy from a glass of red. I doubt it. I kind of believe that perception altering experiences are good, and that anything that brings your subconscious bleeting into the conscious in confused, pretty sentences is pretty damn awesome. But, maybe being sober will be a perception altering experience. Or I’ll drink twice the amount of tea.

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5. Believe

I will tell you the absolute truth, the same truth every person who calls themselves an artist and writes a blog, or gives out a business card or talks about their work thinks: I am a fraud. I’m only talking about what I know, and trying to make it sound as if I know exactly what I’m doing, or as if I have any control over who reads my books, who thinks I’m good, and who thinks I’m professional.

But that’s part of the game. I have to call myself a writer. If not, what am I? If I’m not, then how can I legitimately run workshops, give talks, feedback to other writers, edit other people’s work? We are all absolutely playing the part of the life we want, in the hopes that one day we’ll simply stop pretending and be. So I hope that you know that these musings are made delicately, hopefully and without ego. Or rather, just enough ego to appear confident.

And to all my other frauds out there- keep pretending. Most of them don’t know we’re faking it!

I’ll keep you posted about the novel publication, the latest project and all the wonderful things I’ve been reading on my magic electronic reading device!

Have a very happy new year, and keep writing! What are your resolutions this year, writerly, readerly or not? Stick them in the comments box!

 

 

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Writing Jobs…do they exist?

As an aspiring Creative Entrepreneur, the point is to make things happen for yourself, create your own opportunities. And with a magical thing like the internet, creating writing opportunities should be easy, look, I’m doing it right now.

Except it doesn’t really seem that easy to find writing work, let alone paid writing work.

So I thought I’d give a little run down of the options available, and see if you guys had anymore ideas.

1. Blogging

Hey there lovely internet peoples, I’m here with some words to tell you how I feel about stuff. Some blogs can be ridiculously effective and simple, it’s hard to predict what’s going to work. But if you are going to be a blogger, consider time constraints, updating regularity, and a brand. This blog has none of these, but if you check out cafedisaster.com you’ll see that I save my blogging work for there. This one is more my personal diary, hopefully including a little bit of useful information concerning writing. So blogs- all about time and content. Oh, and tagging and SEOs, and using social media correctly (IE bombarding people with your content)


2. Reviews

This is usually writing for someone else’s blog, unless you’re lucky enough to work for a paper, or perhaps have an ‘in’ at a local paper. It’s worth a shot. If you’re going to experience lots of stuff, have a great night out at the theatre, or really enjoyed that book, why not tell the world? Likely unpaid, but if you can get a writing gig with a film website, you get to see the film for free. And there’s nothing more exciting that telling people you’ve got to dash, you’re off to a press screening. However, again, you’re working to a deadline, and you’ve probably got your own life to be getting on with. Good starting point- review stuff on Amazon, restaurant services like Toptable (where you get paid in points for your review- it’s almost money!) or qype where the whole point is to review things. People want your opinion.

3. Fiction

Sucks to be a fiction writer if you want stuff in print. It involves laboriously hunting through the Writers and Artists Yearbook (which sadly, is a yearbook, as you might have guessed, so you have to update it every year. And it’s big and expensive. But absolutely necessary) in order to find a magazine that accepts your ‘type’ of stuff. And if you’re not a poet or flash-fiction writer, it’s getting more difficult. Add to that the Arts Council cuts and general state of the economy, and it’s not looking good, bucko.

Except that the internet comes to our rescue again. Now anyone can set up an online magazine, choose the content they want to display. In fact, if you’ve got a lot of talented artistic friends, you should put together your own site, make your own magazine. And then have people submit to you!


4. Competitions

This is great in theory. And there are loads out there. A particularly good site to find all of them is Prize Magic but again, refer to your Writer’s and Artists Yearbook. This is great if you’ve got a good back-log of work. Sadly with my own stuff, as soon as I’ve moved on, I tend to disregard it, considering it rubbish compared to everything I’ve done recently. That is dumb. Everything you have created is an asset. Look after it, update it, and use it.

Some have an entry fee, but if you’ve got loads of stuff sitting in shoe-boxes (or on hard-drives) it’s time to dust them off.

5. Content

Content is everywhere, thanks to the web. And a lot of the time, stuff that you may think is mundane is actually really interesting to everyone else. Or very useful to certain companies who want to fill up their blogs and sites and weekly emails with something that represents them. So if you want to write about your snowboarding holiday in the Alps, check out companies that run holidays there, or even snowboarding clothing companies. (The film Chalet Girl was sponsored by Roxy, which was obvious when watching, but it fit really well.) If what you you like writing about aligns with someone else’s interests, then why not take a chance? Lots of companies need stuff to fill their twitter feeds and facebook fan pages – Give them your content. You may not get paid, but you might get some free stuff.

6. Job Sites

Well, you never know. And you won’t unless you try.

So, general recommendations? Start a blog about something you’re interested in. What’s your angle, what do you do? Write a few updates, keeping them as uniform and continually updated as possible. And then use them as sample pieces for your work. Also, keep up to date with social media opportunities. It’s amazing what’s out there!

Also, if you’re serious about opportunities, but don’t want lots of junk mail, start an alternate free email address so when you sign up to these sites, you can see immediately what’s useful and what’s not.

You’re not just selling your ability to string words together and use correct grammar, you’re selling your opinion, your angle, your personality. So make it about you!

Happy Writing!