Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
How to build a writing portfolio
‘I don’t write for free.’
Yes, we have all heard people say that. And I’m not saying that you should work for free forever. But please be realistic. What did you do when you wanted to get that first job, but you had no experience? You went out and volunteered. And got some experience pretty quickly.
How to build a writing portfolio?
Writing is not a get rich quick scheme.
Look for places where you can gain experience. It will help you find out if writing is the right career for you. Do not look down at opportunities to become published. Free online magazines, anthologies and competitions are all starting points. Remember even if you are writing for free, be professional. Complete the work and send it back to a high standard. Be polite. Thank people for the opportunities they have provided and end with a note asking for them to let you know if they have anymore work coming up.
To get clients you need to be able to prove you can produce good work, and to do that you need a writing portfolio.
You’ll soon find you’ve written about all sorts of topics for all sorts of mediums and have a sizeable amount of work for your portfolio to showcase on your website or blog. It helps to have an excellent range of experience. Just as you would do with a CV, you focus on what the client wants. It’s at this stage you delete all traces of yourself from projects that you started on and highlight the ones you are pleased with and think will help you get that paying job.
Have you got a niche?
Do you have specialist knowledge in a certain area, food, dogs, caravans?
I write educational resources, and film reviews. I’m a chatty person who sometimes can get interviews from more successful authors. I have used all these opportunities to get paid writing work. That doesn’t mean that I’m not keeping my eyes open for the next way in.
The best thing about finding a niche is that it cuts down on the feverish pitching new and unique ideas to editors. Once you find an area that you can write in, write lots of articles on that subject. That way they will come to you because of your specialise knowledge.
Do you know the difference?
Twitter fiction is among the most challenging to write because you're limited to 140 characters. That may seem like a lot when you're just mentioning what you are going to have for dinner, but when you're trying to tell a story, it is extremely restrictive. Twitter stories often leave a lot to the reader's imagination. They can also draw on common knowledge such as myths, history, and well-known stories to convey a tale with very few words.
Try a search on Terse Tales
A drabble is a story exactly 100 words long. Writing to a precise word length is difficult and makes you really weigh every word. (The big question to consider is do you count the title when doing a word count, I don't, although other writers may feel differently. The online magazine 100 Word Story publishes drabbles (and they don't include the title as part of the count.)
Flash Fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as six words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.
If you are interested in writing flash fiction why not get involved in National Flash Fiction Day? A new
Micro–Fiction competition is open for entries at;
On Sunday, I was invited to my friend’s cottage for a writing day. It was lovely. My friend had gone to a great deal of thought and preparation. She had prepared some lovely writing exercises. Some of which sparked five, yes FIVE flash fiction ideas.
It’s gratifying to spend time who like the same interests as you.
I have often brought objects into my writers group to provide inspiration, but it is strange and fun when someone else does the exercise. They pick things that wouldn’t necessary catchyou eye at first glance. I’ve always loved object writing.
It’s a simple and method of finding inspiration. You pick anobject at random, or in this case someone else provides aselection and focus your senses on it. All your senses. Spend a little time on each sense. Don’t make the mistake of focusingpurely on sight, smell and touch. Say you are looking at an old coin or shell, what would it taste like? It may sound stupid but incorporating senses into yourwriting makes it better.
Humans have different senses. Most people have experienced knowing who’s on the other end of the phone when it rings.They recognise the feeling that something has walked over their grave.
Think about your organic senses. Does your heart beat when you are asked to stroke a snake or hold a spider? Does any smells give you a head ache or make your mouth water?
Kinesthetic sense is fundamentally your relation to the world around you. Do you remember when you were a child, andyou would spin in circles? Think about feelings ofseasickness, blurred vision or being drunk.
Does the object stimulate any memories of organic orkinesthetic senses?
Object writing is best done is small bursts of five or ten minutes. See it as a starting point. You don’t have to be loyal to the object. Don’t feel as if you have to write your story or poem about the object, it was merely a way to open up the flood gates and get you into the zone.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Every so often in life you something happens and you can immediately identify with the other person.
Way back when I was a teacher, I had a head of the department who would literally make me physically sick with anxiety. She would see me in the corridor just after eight and say,
‘I’m really annoyed and upset with you. Really cross. I can’t talk about it now, but I want you to see me after the school day.’
I would be worried and stressed all day. After three thirty, I would find her and often it was something trivial and easily sorted. For example, when she accused me of taking the key to the DVD player home. Once I brought out the booking forms to prove that I had not signed the DVD player out for months she said simply,
‘You can go.’
I sometimes worry when someone asks to speaks to me. My initial reaction is always that I must have done something wrong. I feel as if cold water is pouring all over my body, my stomach churns. I can’t describe the dread I often experience towards a phone call or letter. Sometimes it can be triggered by a simple,
‘Can I talk to you for a second?’
I think it is all mixed up with being a people pleaser and strangely setting high standards. Anyway, the point is I have always felt it was just me.
Yesterday, while I was making my usual mess at dealing with a difficult conversation, the lovely lady I was talking to became visually concerned. It was resolved in seconds. We weren’t having words or anything like that. However, it was an eye opener for me. Someone else had the same stress reflex. I knew what she was feeling.
Every so often people on Facebook see messages like;
‘Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’
We share and liked these messages because they contain a simple truth. We don’t know what is going on behind closed doors or inside peoples minds. Appearances are deceptive.
I have a friend who has recently lost a family member. Now she and her family have another family member diagnosed with cancer. We drank coffee. My friend feels guilty because she feels tired. She wants to walk away. She can’t understand why she sometimes she bursts into tears.
My friend isn’t selfish. My friend is burnt out.
I can remember having similar feelings after the diagnosis of my own parents cancer. The feelings of pain and guilt. The worse emotion is that feeling of helplessness.
The point is that negative emotions have a way of making you feel that you are the only person who has ever felt like that. It is so easy to think that no one else understands. We can’t know exactly how others feel, but painful moments in our own lives should help us gain greater empathy.
I can’t help wondering why we don’t often deal with these feelings in our writing. Perhaps it’s because use writing to escape from our daily lives?
If anyone is interested in an example of excellent writing, which deals with strong emotions, I would recommend an outstanding book, ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness.