Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The Writing Life

I used to teach a few different college courses on writing, mostly journalism and magazine writing. Getting paid to stand up and talk about me to a group of people has always sounded like a sweet deal and I've really enjoyed every time I've done it. I'll probably end up doing it again, possibly on a permanent basis.

One of the more gratifying aspects of starting this blog has been the number of readers who have taken time to email me to ask for my advice or input on various aspects of writing or breaking into magazines. I don't always have the time to respond to everyone in as much detail as I would like, but I enjoy and appreciate the exchanges

This blog was originally intended to be much more about the writing and editing life, but, true to form, ended up being about me. That said, there are a few posts I've made here that might be useful to aspiring magazine writers, so I thought I'd put them here. This doesn't mean folks still can't email me, but perusing these might tell you some useful things. Or not. You'll decide for yourself, I guess.

Story pitches and slush piles:
The slush pile is the great mound of unsolicited manuscripts people send to magazines. Many magazine editors don't even bother wading through. I do.

Ideas in Unlikely Places:
You know how writers always bitch about how much they hate being asked the question, "Where do you get your ideas from?" Well, I don't mind. Here's one answer (but bear in mind there are several).

Feeding on Failure: I wish it wasn't true, but failure and rejection are a big part of the life. For what it's worth, here's how I've dealt with it.

Blind Luck as a Career Tool:
Luck is just as much a part of the life as failure. But often as not, you make your own.

Get the Picture? How not to get an editor's attention. Unless, you know, you're uber-cute.

Tetris editing:
A brief note about a favorite editing technique.

Wordplay I: If anything has made me a better writer over the years, it's been my habit of doing things like this...

Wordplay II: ...but sometimes you can get carried away.

Rejection Letters: I've received tons in my career. These days, I mostly send them out. Here's what I'd really like say in those letters.

Exercise in Ethics: What would YOU do?

What Works For Me:
Things I do to stay in writing trim. Your mileage may vary.

Getting An Editor's Attention: The best advice I can offer aspiring freelance writers. No photos needed!

Magazine Mistypes:
Not advice, really. Unless the advice is: type carefully if you don't want to make the hilarious typos I made.

I'll add more as we move along. And if anyone out there has any specific questions about magazines and writing, here's the place to ask 'em. Maybe I'll address them in a future blog entry.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

Thanks you for the smiels ad day from across the ocean. You truly make me laugh out loud. Your blog is the first one I look for in my feeds. Don't ever change.


Come visit my blog

I don't ever plan on being a real writer, but I can appreciate the advice you give to those who would like to make it a career some day. So many people are afraid to give up their "secrets" to help others succeed.

Thanks for not being one of "those" people.
not to edit the editor, but isn't there a typo in the "rejection letters" line?

Ah, you know I wanna be you when I grow up.
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