Word For Word 3/24/2006
I came across an old Estonian Proverb several weeks ago that says
“The work will teach you how to do it.”
How simple. How very true.
“The work will teach you how to do it.”
I receive emails and letters all the time from frustrated people
who have put off their writing dreams for years. While their individual
circumstances differ, basically, life got in the way and their writing
persona was put on the back burner. Of course, they never completely
shut off the power to that burner, so those dreams were on a slow simmer
for years. Because greeting card writing is short, it also is less
intimidating than longer writing—and as
such, they view it as the perfect venue to bring their dreams to a full
boil again, with the same passion and longing as before.
so it is.
so, because it is and because their expectations are high, before I
ever start their instruction, I tell them one thing: “I can’t teach you
what to write—wouldn’t presume to do so—but I can teach you how to
think, the way successful greeting card writers must think in order to
submit and sell their work in the freelance market place today.”
other words, I’ll guide—but you’ll work—and by working in this field, or
any other, you’ll learn by doing. And you’ll learn well...precisely
because you are doing it—not talking about it, not dreaming about it,
but just doing it. And whether it takes you a month to sell that first
verse or a year, if you’re doing it, you’re working at it and thus,
you’ve become a “working writer.”
above all, without possibly even realizing it, you’ve become living
proof of one thing.
work will teach you how to do it.”
that’s my Word For Word.
onto some business and news.
You’ll notice we’re updating the site more frequently now and have added
new features as well. We’re also in the process of bringing aboard
many new affiliates. While this site is free and offers many great
pages of instruction (again, judging by my emails), it is not costless.
So, while you’re perusing the pages of free advice, interviews, tip
sheets, FAQs and other tidbits, take a few minutes and peruse the
affiliates. If you can use their products or services, click on the
link through my site. Everything helps.
Spring, I was approached by Jennifer Maloney for an interview for 801,
which is Columbia School of Journalism’s Magazine. The result was the
“’Hi’ Concept,” an article focusing on how and why women buy friendship
cards to send to other women. The link is located on the home page at
the top under Media Interviews. There are other interviews there as
well—two you can listen to from Voice of America and the BBC. We’re
adding more all the time, so check back often.
of you know that besides greeting card writing, I also do other niche
writing, including quizzes and book reviews. Under one of our newest
features, “Headlines and Bylines,” you’ll see the current issue of
Pennsylvania Magazine with my tongue-in-cheek quiz: “What Kind of
Pennsylvanian Are You?” If you live in our state—or know someone who
does—check it out. I also have a weekly gig with a local newspaper
writing a content-based quiz on their articles. The weekly deadline is
good for me. Deadlines instill a sense of urgency—and discipline...two
traits not entirely incompatible with the freelance life.
Under “What a Hoot!” department was my recent photo on the cover of
Parade Magazine—their “What People Earn” annual edition. I shared the
cover with 20 other people and a monkey—King Kong. I knew I was to be
part of their magazine, but never dreamed I’d be on the cover, along
with Angelina Jolie, Kobe Byrant and Howard Stern. The funny thing is
King Kong outdrew us all—even put together! There’s a moral in that
somewhere, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to find it. Anyway, the
picture got a lot of play—according to Parade, they reach 35 million
few weeks, I’m scheduled to do an interview for the University of
Wisconsin writing class whose focus is the lives of real-life,
down-to-earth working writers—how we spend our days, smart (and dumb)
career moves, our favorite piece of writing we ever did (and
dumbest)...all topics designed to give college students a realistic look
at the freelance writing life. Sure wish I’d had something like that
back at Heidelberg—not that the Shakespeare courses didn’t help, mind.
Coming up, too, I’ll be speaking at the “Writing Your Passion” 15th
Annual Writer’s Conference in Stoneboro PA on April 29th. I’m scheduled
for one workshop in Book Reviewing and a double workshop for Greeting
Card Writing. If you’d like to attend this
Conference, contact Gloria Clover, Registrar:
in May, I’ll be going to the New York Stationery Show with my daughter,
Alexis. Besides publishers, I hope to meet with some students and see
people I haven’t hooked up with in years. With any luck, I’ll bring
back some terrific photos which we’ll post here.
Although in my last Word for Word I told you another booklet, entitled
Cover Vs. Query Letters: Allies In The Challenge Of Getting Published,
was due out shortly—this time, it really is!
I’m putting the finishing touches on
it and will deliver it to the printers next week.
Besides being so active I sometimes can’t
seem to come up for air, 2006 promises to be an interesting, fulfilling
year on many fronts. Writing continues to be an integral part of my
life—and I cherish not only the writing, but the wonderful people who go
along with it.
I wish you all good things in your individual creative pursuits
for 2006 and the years beyond.