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  Issue #40

Free Writers' Newsletter

   June 24, 2006  

         

The practical approach
By Allison Whitehead

The market for practical, or how to, articles is a very promising one. Everyone wants to improve some aspect of their life, and the alert freelance can earn many a useful fee supplying the know-how in an easily readable form.

Generally speaking, practical articles can be one of two types. The first type is the how-to article, which describes how to make something, e.g. how to build a rockery, or how to do something better, e.g. ten tips on improving your cooking.

The second type is the self-help article, which either advises on how to attain something, e.g. how to get that job, or how to improve some aspect of a person's life, e.g. how to beat stress.

With both types of article, it's best to start with what you already know. This applies both to markets and to the subject you choose to write about. For example, if you happen to know a lot about cats, you could write a how-to article giving advice on buying a kitten.

But what about markets you are not familiar with? Enterprising freelances will try and get several articles out of each subject they write about, slanting each one at a particular market. Advice on buying a kitten could very well be welcomed by a juvenile market.

Illustrations are often essential to the sale of a how-to article, and it's best to find out what is expected of you in this way. Some magazines have staff artists and photographers who take care of the illustrations. Others expect the writer to submit a complete package. Either way, a discussion with the editor will clarify the situation before you start work.

If you are expected to provide illustrations yourself, don't panic. Anyone can take publishable photos with an ordinary camera, and even line drawings should be relatively easy to produce. If you doubt your artistic ability, you could either persuade an artistic friend to help you out, or contact a professional studio. Commercial artists can be very helpful, but be sure to ask about the fees first.

So much for the how-to article. What about the self-help approach?

To start with, illustrations are not as vital for this type of article. It is quite possible to write and sell an unillustrated self-help piece, although you will increase your fee if you can provide appropriate photos.

This type of article may well have a broader appeal than the how-to type. For example, a how-to piece on how to build a rockery is more or less restricted to the gardening press, whereas a self-help piece on how to beat stress could be angled at several different markets. You could write a piece slanted towards busy housewives and mothers; another directed at teenagers preparing for exams; and yet another for people who are about to take their driving test.

A good approach to take when writing a self-help piece is to begin by defining the problem. This is where personal experience plays a strong part. Let us assume we are writing a piece which gives advice on beating those driving test nerves. We could relate our own experiences of pre-test nerves and how they affected us, before suggesting some solutions for getting rid of them.

Don't forget to talk to people you know, in order to get different experiences from a selection of people. Find out if they did anything to calm their nerves. Perhaps you could point out that some methods are not as healthy as others – smoking, for example!

As I mentioned earlier, if you can provide an illustration to accompany a self-help article, so much the better. For the driving test example, you could go down to your local test centre and take some photos of the learner cars parked outside, making sure the test centre sign is in full view. Complete with a suitable caption, such a photo will no doubt be welcomed by an editor.

The most important thing to remember when writing practical articles is to pay careful attention to market study. This alone will tell you what style, length and approach the editor prefers. Do they like numbered points? Side-bars? Lengthy captions? Do they assume the reader knows the basics, or is nothing left to the imagination?

As with any type of article, if your market study is sound, you should be able to make quite a few sales in this sector.

About the author
Allison Whitehead has written countless articles on many subjects, including self help, motivational, writing related and business topics. She is also the author of "Hey! I Really CAN Sell My Articles!", the definitive four step blueprint to creating, writing and selling your articles for cash. Visit www.lulu.com/smoo_publishing for further details.

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The excellent writer within
By Michael Levy

The art of good writing comes from the artist within. All humans have the ability to become great authors, poets, artists and musicians, etc. so why do most folks find it such a difficult task? Why do many people say I could never be a writer or I could never aspire to write poetry? And why do folks who do write get discouraged when their work is rejected?

We are what we think, so if we believe we cannot succeed in our daily actions, then for sure we will never get away from our perception of who we think we are. This self defeating attitude was not of our making. As we were growing up and maturing into adulthood, we were indoctrinated with thousands of negative thoughts. This gave us a belief that we are only a housewife or only a truck driver. This limited vision of our role in life-gives us a limited life. People the world over have great creativity. Once we start to understand who we are and the reasons we exist, we start to cultivate eloquent works of creativity. 

Just writing worthy, meaningful, literature will not get the success it deserves unless we possess the resolve to carry on writing in spite of the critics. There will always be those who criticise a writer, no matter how good the composition. Rejection is an everyday experience for most writers. This is a joy we must accept and grow from. Just because someone does not like our essay, does not mean it has no value. It means it was not acceptable to the editor or book reviewer that was reading the essay.

We can do two things when we are constantly being rejected. We can give up and say it was not meant to be. Alternatively, we can say "how do I become a better writer and have my work accepted by more of the 'establishment'?" Once a small section of the general public start to take an interest in our writing, the sheep mentality of the "establishment" will no doubt follow. It always has. It always will. Success breeds success.

Until we can find the inner core of creativity and start to write from the soul, we will never become a great writer. We may achieve a modicum of success by writing a few columns for a newspaper or magazine but that could keep us in a vacuum. We can scrape a living, but may not amass a fortune, for we are trying to write and trying will never cut the mustard.

The secret to excellent writing is to enjoy with ecstatic abandonment each letter and syllable we put down on paper. The pure joy of writing makes us a success, nothing else will. Those who tell us we have to struggle and sweat have not grasped true meaning in their lives. We need no approval of any human to be a success. 

Stop trying to become a success. We are a success already. We were born.

We are a success of life. The sperm hit the egg and here we are. 

Hello world!

Everything else we do and achieve is just a bonus.

Life is to be enjoyed not endured. Joy brings true meaning to life.

Now the next question to ask is what is Joy? What does Joy mean and how do we achieve it? Look within – take time to silence the mind and feel the texture of nothingness. Smell the perfume of celestial splendour. Discover the sound of cosmic waves flowing though our subconscious mind. Palpate infinity. Breath eternity. Conceive the splendour of maturating into the essence of a successful writer. Be the word, become the poem, live the adventure. Everything we do is inscribed in our book of life. 

We just need to learn how to read the instructions written within every cell and molecule of our being. Each tissue and sinew bleeds muscular power of infinite, majestic might. Fly on the wings of limitless mastery. Escape the shrouded cocoon and become the enchanting butterfly. The dreams of authentic reality are about to manifest a rainbow of magical delights:-----: "Write On Time": -----: "Compose in Space"

J-ust 
O-bey 
Y-ourself (THE GENIUS) 

Michael Levy. 

About the author
Michael Levy is the author of seven books. His inspirational poetry and essays now grace many assorted web sites, journals and magazines throughout the world. His website is ranked number one in the world for the search term "Inspirational books" on Google and a deeper search will reveal the extent of his reach throughout the world. He is expert columnist for Positive Health magazine, the leading complimentary health publication in the United Kingdom. Levy has also been published by the The Royal College of Psychiatry many times over the past three years. Michael's new book The Joys of Live Alchemy is now available at all bookstores. http://www.pointoflife.com 

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In this issue:

Spelling conventions

fwn uses English spelling conventions. Spellings such as "realise" "colour", "theatre", "cancelled", etc. differ from other spelling conventions but are nonetheless correct. 

News:

Call for inspiring true stories
A Cup of Comfort is seeking submissions for three new volumes: A Cup of Comfort for Writers, A Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers (not focusing on a pet's death), and A Cup of Comfort for Single Mothers

The closing dates for submissions are July 31, 2006, August 31, 2006, and December 31, 2006, respectively.

Submissions should be true, uplifting, and between 1,000 and 2,000 words long. 

For more information, contact Cup of Comfort, Adams Media, 57 Littlefield St, Avon, Massachusetts 02322, United States, or email cupofcomfort@
adamsmedia.com
 

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Book marketing and promotion
Book marketing and promotion

New website offers free publicity for authors
bookhitch.com is a new website which allows authors and publishers to list their books online, for free. Authors can have their books registered with the site and can be viewed across the World. List books, or buy them. 
bookhitch.com offers authors a chance to post their books whilst giving readers the chance to read books that they cannot find in a traditional bookstore.

For more information email bookhitch at eward@bookhitch.com.

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Email screenwriting group seeks writers
The Actor's Project NYC is seeking new members. Writers accepted will write monologues, scenes, and plays that will be used in upcoming showcases.

Writers can join by sending samples of their work and participating by email. Accepted members will receive bi-weekly updates and feedback.

To enquire, please send a sample of your work to theactorsprojectnyc
@yahoo.com
; or call +1 (212) 560-0991. For more info, visit www.theactors
projectnyc.com
. Membership fees are $150 for four months, to cover meetings, editing, and other production costs. 

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Ghost writer needed
An fwn reader is seeking a ghost writer to help her pen her story of life working with the Teamsters Union in Las Vegas, NV, for over 15 years.

Interested parties should contact Rebecca at rebeccamarie631
@yahoo.com
 

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Florida summer writing retreat
A summer writing retreat is to be held August 12–18 at a rural convention centre in Florida, offering a get-away for any writer who wants to be free to write and relax, without having to be on a fixed schedule.

The organisers will be speaking about writing and the group will be critiquing each participant's works. There will also be one-on-one sessions with each participant.

For more information, visit www.acappela.com/
summer-retreat
 

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firstwriter.com 2006
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