Thursday, January 31, 2008

Writing Rainbow: finding my place

Melissa at Writing Forward asked this week: What kind of writer are you? This follows nicely on the heels of my Five Reasons and Loving to Write posts. So here is my less than succinct answer -

Currently my writing work would fall under the freelance umbrella. I write a weekly local events newspaper column as an independent contractor. When I was a part-time office assistant for a sales office, I did proofreading of marketing materials, wrote sales letters, and created handbills and flyers on the side.

Do you write mostly in one area or do you explore other areas?

Since Melissa didn’t state a time frame I will assume that she wants to know what kind of writing I do mostly at present. I would have to say that it is roughly divided between journalism-style for my weekly column, other nonfiction style for my blogging activities, and working on some fiction in the background.

Writing fiction started as an exploration but I have started working on actual stories and hope to find a place some day to get these published either through a contest or for pay. In addition I occasionally dabble in poetry writing but have no training in the form. I keep these in a secret file. (tee-hee)

Seriously, though, I see my writing balanced for the near term between art and cash cow.

Have you ever gotten paid for writing?

I get paid for my weekly column at a base rate per column plus photographs. Occasionally there are opportunities to pick up extra columns. I would like to find another source of writing revenue soon. (Non-competing for the present as I am not ready to give the paper column yet.)

What is biggest writing goal or dream?

I haven’t settled on the big career culmination goal at this point. However, I do have some down the road a ways ambitions that I hope will move me toward a big career goal. One of those ambitions is that I would like to win a somewhat substantial competition - actually two, one nonfiction and one fiction. I’m not certain that is actually a goal because it is difficult to quantify and measure progress.

In the spirit of career goals though, it’s hard to not think about writing goals and dreams in economic terms and often I just hope I can keep writing and not starve. From that standpoint it can be tempting to wonder if I could make my blogging pay something, but looking over the current landscape of blog monetization I don’t hold too much hope in that prospect.

Lately I have been nudged from various sources to think farther down the road than next month and next year for what I want my writing life to look like. I have also had some serious proddings to think about writing something book-length. At first that sounded very scary, maybe more scary than a suggestion to try out fiction. However, the more it sits on my contemplation list the more appealing the idea sounds. If I write a book, though, it has to be meaningful and not just a pretty face in the bookstore window or the coffee table.

Now it's your turn. Either comment here or write your own post about the kinds of writing you do.

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AuthorMomWithDogs said...

Great questions. Interesting answers. Your pointing out that there are as many diverse kinds of writing as there are writers is helpful for would-be writers to know.

Melissa Donovan said...

Another inspiring post! I love reading your posts, and would also love to hear more about your fiction and poetry!

I don't know much about writing competitions, and I don't think I've ever entered one. I would love to learn more about some good ones, especially nonfiction, since all I ever see are fiction and poetry contests!

Melissa Donovan
Writing Forward

Sylvia C. said...


I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on writing, and what areas interest you.

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by your interest in winning a competition. I can't say I have any interest in that, so it just struck me as surprising because I haven't ever considered it.

Best to you, as you look forward into your writerly life!
(I'm sure that you will not STARVE!)

Sylvia C.

G's Cottage said...

Maybe I should clarify the competition thing a bit. This is an "at last thing" rather than a first-order objective.

I am first motivated to get settled writing what and where and to whom I should be writing. Then I would be interested in whether any of those projects would be appropriate for submission to a competition. It would be like adding candles to a well-made and beautifully decorated cake.

As an aside though, I do use local contests as springboards for trying out new forms or stories whether I submit the copy or not.

I am a competitive by nature and for decades others declared it was a character fault. So I kept trying to root it out, hide it, and reframe it which served to define it as a point of shame because I failed to get rid of it.

My university experience was instrumental in clarifying that being competitive and winning were not character flaws though the way they could be pursued might be. I learned that it is okay to win or beat somebody at a competition and that it did not mean I was treating them badly just because they felt badly about losing.