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Showing posts from October, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Insanity Begins!

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NaNoWriMo started on Monday, and I began with a bit of a rough start.
I spent the entire month of October plotting and sketching my mystery novel in my head and jotting down notes everywhere. Halloween night I finally wrote a basic synopsis, showing me the entire story from beginning to end. Then, I created the outline of basic plot points including a few notes on what information was necessary to include in each scene and leaving out any major details. This way I could really experience the creative process.
It felt good to have the story staring back at me, but for some reason it didn't feel right. My nervousness began creeping in. The 2,000 words I planned to write on Monday were weighing heavily on me. Questions prayed on my already weakening confidence, leading me to think I wasn't up for the challenge.
Does my story make sense? Am I going to be able to make it to the end of the month with 50,000 words written? What if I make it to the end with a terrible story …

New Internship Washes Away Bad Taste

Recently, I applied for an entry-level position with Philadelphia Magazine, but unfortunately my resume was discarded because I didn't have any magazine experience and I never worked with the computer program they use to put their magazine together.
And after an unsuccessful experience with my last internship, I applied to one with MetroKids, afree Philadelphia based magazine for parents, hoping for better results. I sent my resume and three writing samples: a personal essay and two biography entries. I was ecstatic about interning for a magazine. I would learn how it runs, how an issue is put together, experience working with an editor and get published.
Since I had worked with children as a former teacher, I thought I made a good candidate for MetroKids. The skills I would gain would increase my chances of being hired at a magazine if that's what I wanted to do once I completed the internship.
After I clicked "send", I realized I didn't include a cover le…

A Musical Muse Prompt

I receive emails from the Writer's Digest blog, Promptly, every couple of days. Using music lyrics to produce a few hundred words was yesterday's prompt. It hoped to inspire the writer by asking them to choose two favorite songs. Pick a line from the chorus of one song, and a line from the chorus of the other song and integrate into their scene.
I was really excited by the prompt because I love music lyrics. The song writers always seem to say exactly what I'm feeling when I've gone mute. The words evoke strong emotional responses from me. So, why not take advantage of the writing exercise and put the strong emotional responses down in a short scene, giving my thoughts a voice.
Alexi Murdoch's "Wait" and Florence and The Machine's "Heavy in Your Arms" and "You've Got the Love" are the three songs I chose (two songs weren't enough). I started the scene with "If I can’t be, all that I could be", used "I&…

Can I write a novel in 30 days?

A challenge of 50,000 words in 30 days or National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is quickly approaching. November 1st marks the day participants begin writing every day for one month in hopes of completing 50,000 words. The creators of this writing project hoped the dreams of aspiring novelists would come true by writing without inhibitions and putting the internal editor to sleep. Which, right now, is something I struggle with every time I sit in front of my computer.
Here's a peek into my daily writing routine: stop every few lines, go back, reread, shift words around, stare at the screen, plan my next move, check email, walk around, and repeat. I end up with more frustration than success. Perfecting an unfinished piece does nothing but waste time. You can't properly revise writing without seeing the whole picture. Yet, I do just that and all I accomplish is a lengthy list of excuses, getting no closer to finishing a project.
NaNoWriMo really challenges its parti…

Internship and Writing Project Leave Bad Taste in Mouth

When I began my internship with Mr. H, an English professor/playwright, in July, his close friend Mr. C needed a web page to inform potential investors and other interested people about the ballet company International Ballet Classique in Delaware County. As a board member, he hoped to keep costs down for the non-profit company by utilizing the free service of Wikipedia and Mr. H's interns. Ultimately, receiving free publicity. Mr. H offered the project to me, thinking it could lead to a Wikipedia writing business.
How often would I receive professional writing opportunities with no experience? I thought about it for a few seconds--encouraged by Mr. H's confidence in me--then said yes. I knew this experience would help me find paid writing jobs in the future.
The first step was to email Mr. C and attach a writing sample. I used the only one I had to date from college: Alice in Wonderland re-imagined. When I called him, he and I spoke about my piece and my writing aspir…

First Submission

Since I'm cultivating a freelance writing career, submitting my work for publication is Step One, I thought, to determine if my work is worth reading, letting me know if I could succeed. So, I drafted an essay for an online collection of commentary on trials, tribulations, and triumphs in the Philadelphia area called Metropolis.
To get an idea of the site's style preferences, I read a few essays. They ranged from writers discussing their love life to a play-by-play of trash picking in Society Hill to a woman complaining about the misuse of sidewalks by bicyclers, strollers, and alfresco dining in the city.
Thinking of events that occurred to me in the past month or so, I decided to write about a frustrating experience with the professor I intern for in Upper Darby and describe my attempt to steer clear of bruising his fragile, inflated ego.
Once I finished, I realized writing this piecewas a difficult undertaking, much harder than writing blogs, prompts, and short stories…

Bittersweet Contest Winner

I woke up to my phone alarm Saturday morning. As I turned it off, I noticed I had an email from Writer's Digest. I quickly opened the email in hopes to find out the results from the Office Swag Giveaway Contest I entered. I read the email as quickly as I could to find out if I had won, and there it was: "the names of all the authors who wrote stories went into the magic hat, and four emerged--Nathan HonorĂ©, Dare Gaither, Laura M. Campbell and Jo O’Connor." I won!
My excitement spread across my face and I bounced around in bed. Upon reading the email more closely, I noticed, although it required participants to send in their response to the prompt, the winners were chosen at random. Disappointment swallowed my joyous celebration.
They didn't even read my response. The winners weren't chosen based on merit? How anticlimactic. Sigh. I laid back down and stared at my ceiling, upset and embarrassed. How could I tell anyone I won a writing contest when it …