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Word For Word   3/24/2006

I came across an old Estonian Proverb several weeks ago that says it all.

 “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.

  And so it is. 

   And 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.”

  In 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.”

   And, above all, without possibly even realizing it, you’ve become living proof of one thing.

  “The work will teach you how to do it.”

   And that’s my Word For Word.

  Now 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.

   Last 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.

   Some 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 people. 

   In a 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:  gloworm@certainty.net

   And, 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.

 

Sandra

 
 

 

 

 
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