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Writing News, Issue #002 -- Be a Better Writer
November 05, 2009

Writing News November 2009


This past month, I’ve been busy making artwork for the short stories published in Page Forty-Seven online anthology. I’m not finished yet, so keep watching. There are more to come!

New Short Stories:

I published five new original short stories in October:

  • His Life
  • by Kristine Kettle
  • Silk
  • by Hema Ramen
  • Death Comes for Simon
  • by Max Clark
  • Every Thursday
  • by Michelle Satchell
  • A Rose in the Morning
  • by George Lea

Click on Page Forty-Seven online anthology to read them.

Latest Tweet on Twitter:

Read the very first New York Review of Books published February 1, 1963 here

Writer’s Resources:

New to the Writing Resources page this month:

  1. The Vocabula Review A monthly journal about the state of the English language.
  2. Learn the business and craft of writing for children.

Writing Contests:

Two new Writing Contests, and four closing in November. Be sure to check out the Glimmer Train Fiction Award for New Writers.

Emergency Money for Writers:

If you or someone you know is struggling to finish a book but are unable to because of financial need, the Writers’ Trust of Canada can help. The Woodcock Fund was established in 1989 to provide emergency financial assistance to professional Canadian writers. Grants are normally in the $5000 to $10000 range and are administered quickly and efficiently by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Often recipients will receive the grant money within two weeks of applying for it. See PDF guidelines at the bottom of this page.

Setting Writing Goals:

Writing goals help to improve craft and will remind you to set aside time to improve your craft. There is no magic formula that will help you become a great writer, but you can take action that will move you closer to that goal. I suggest setting goals in three key areas:

  1. knowledge
  2. improvement
  3. submissions

  • First, set writing goals that will increase your knowledge of craft to some degree every month. Maybe you have time to read only one book about writing a month. That’s something. If you're pressed for time, search out YouTube videos that teach writing craft.

    A good place to start on YouTube is the MasterClass series by the Scottish Book Trust: Scottish Book Trust

  • Knowledge fuels improvement, but don’t leave your improvement to chance. Set writing goals that force you to measure change. You need an objective opinion on this, so if you can afford to hire a writing mentor, this is the fastest and most reliable method of determining your progress. Contact Me

    If you can’t afford private mentoring, join an online critiquing group. I occasionally provide free feedback at My Writers Circle and many other professional and amateur writers do the same and will provide prompt, valuable feedback.

    Also, keep an editing checklist and run a search on particular problem areas. If you tend to overuse adverbs, do a search for “ly.” If you overuse participial phrases, search for “ing” words. Your writing goals should be specific, such as that you want a 10% decrease in adverbs each time you check. So keep track of your numbers, and gauge your progress. As you overcome one problem, focus on another, so you have continuous improvement.

  • Don’t focus all your writing goals on weaknesses. Your work will sell because of its strengths, so keep honing them, and get reliable, objective feedback on that, as well.

    Knowledge and improvement are the writing goals that will bring you the most satisfaction at first, so buy a book, enroll in a course or writing conference, ask for a critique, pay a mentor, and do whatever is necessary to learn and improve.

  • And submit! The best proof of your improvement is a publication, so always have a submission in circulation. You may not feel that you’re ready to submit, but you may never feel that you’re ready. Get advice from a professional, and if an editor or mentor says a piece of work is ready to submit, keep it in motion. If an editor rejects it, ship it off to someone else.

    Make this part of your writing goals. If you don’t and you’re like most writers, you will procrastinate, or you will get one or two rejections and won’t want to risk more. Don’t give in to this feeling. Set a goal to have a new piece ready for submission every month, research the market, and send the piece out. After six months, you will have six pieces circulating.

    If you’re fortunate, you will receive feedback and encouragement along with any rejections. Better yet, you will be accepted for publication. But you will only be published if you force yourself to send your work out.

So there you have it. Three simple goals. They won’t be new to you, but are you already taking the necessary action? If not, set a writing goal right now that you will take action on at least one of these goals before the end of the week.

What specific aspect of your writing do you want to improve? Write it down as a goal, and take action. Thinking about it is not good enough. Nothing changes until you take action. Set some goals right now, act on them, and your progress is guaranteed.

Special Offer:

Here is a special offer to get you started:

Send me an email with 500 words of writing. Put your name and the words “Is this ready?” in the subject line.

For $25, I will pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses in the sample.

This is less than one third of my usual rate, as a special offer to motivate you. Contact Me

However you do it, I urge you to set writing goals and take action toward lasting improvement today.

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