The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer Episode 7

Jennifer Hallmark here. Welcome to my You Tube series called “The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer.”

Today we’re continuing our new segment with the road trip question, How long will I stay?  A weekend retreat. Is your writing a hobby? Join me as we discuss this.

Episode 7: Today’s topic is Launch into the Adventure: How long will I stay?

Click to tweet: The YouTube series for the beginning writer. Catch Episode 7 on the Inspired Prompt blog: Writing: How long will I stay? A weekend retreat. #amwriting #WritersLife

3 Questions Wednesday with Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth is an international speaker and podcaster, and she’s the novelist and nonfiction author of over thirty-five books, including the latest: The Seven Deadly Friendships (Harvest House Publishers 2018). She loves to help people re-story their lives. She lives in Texas with her husband of 28 years and is the mom to three adult children. Find out more at marydemuth.com.

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Mary. Here’s our first question—

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Mary:  Authentic, communicator, empathetic

I love those, and I’ve read enough of your writing to agree with all three. Next question,

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Mary:  Geneva, Switzerland. I’ve actually had a conversation with a friend of mine who is interested in me possibly being a writer in residence there. I love Switzerland, plus I speak (bad) French. The food is amazing. The people are awesome. The scenery is magnifigue!

What a great place for a writer. The history, the scenery…the food! Question #3:

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Mary: In the Sun, by Joseph Arthur – The song has special meaning to me as we used it as the background music for a presentation we made when we were church planters in France. The year prior had been a literal hell, but we were still standing.

Here are the lyrics:

I picture you in the sun wondering what went wrong
And falling down on your knees asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in

May God’s love be with you
Always
May God’s love be with you

I know I would apologize if I could see your eyes
‘Cause when you showed me myself I became someone else
But I was caught in between all you wish for and all you need
I picture you fast asleep
A nightmare comes
You can’t keep awake

May God’s love be with you
Always
May God’s love be with you

‘Cause if I find
If I find my own way
How much will I find
If I find
If I find my own way
How much will I find
You

A beautiful song, and a wonderful memory. Sometimes you just have to walk through things. Thank you, Mary DeMuth, for taking time to answer our three questions.

And now, a treat for our Readers—

About the book:

There’s something wrong with your friendship, but you can’t figure out why. Is everything in your head? Unfortunately, toxic friendships happen to everyone, but we seldom identify the underlying issues while we battle confusion or the friendship breaks up.

Maybe you’re left bewildered in the friendship’s wake, paralyzed to move forward.

After wading through several difficult friendships, Mary DeMuth reveals the seven different types of toxic relationships and empowers you to identify the messiest relationships causing you the greatest anguish.

Face the reality of your broken relationship, and unearth exactly what went wrong. Discover why you may attract toxic people. Heal from broken relational patterns so you can choose safer friends. Evaluate when it’s time to press into a friendship or let it go.

You’ll gain a new relationship with Jesus as you trust him to be your confidant, healer, and life-giving friend.

Click to Tweet: Multi-published, award-winning author, Mary DeMuth, is our 3 Questions Wednesday guest via @InspiredPrompt. Leave a comment on the blog post for a chance to win her new book, The Seven Deadly Friendships.

Freelance Writing for Newspapers

by Shirley Crowder

newspaperRecently I was asked, “How did you get your articles published in a newspaper?” I laughed and said, “I read my Facebook (FB) comments.” I knew from the confused look on this man’s face that I should fill in more details. I continued, “I called an FB friend whose comment on one of my Christmas posts was, ‘Call me’ followed by his telephone number … I called!”

This friend, Harry Butler, coordinates writers for “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of  The Gadsden (Alabama) Times. He told me to expand one of my posts and email it to him. Why limit carols to Christmas? was published in the online and print editions in February 2014. My articles continue being published—when I have sense enough to write and send them!

Let’s look at some things I have learned about writing for newspapers. I hope some of these will spur you on to identify, investigate, and submit articles for publication in newspapers.

Aren’t Newspapers Obsolete?

Not at all! Newspapers today are not the same as they were when I grew up. In those days you had four main sources of news: television, radio, print newspapers, and news magazines. You couldn’t find the news any time of the night or day, you had to wait until the newscast came on, the newspaper was delivered, and for the magazine to hit the stands or your mailbox. Not so, now. You can go online and find news about events, places, and people all over the world, at any time of the night and day.

Don’t limit your scope.

When you think of newspapers, be sure to include the online news sources, not just the daily newspapers. Think print AND online.

  • Many denominations have weekly or monthly conference or associational newspapers.
  • Communities often have their own small newspapers and are looking for articles on a wide range of topics.
  • News websites often need writers.
  • Clubs, Organizations, and Associations are looking for articles about the passion or focus of their club, organization, or association.

“I don’t even know where to begin.”

As with any writing project you need to do research. Here are some suggestions on how to get started:

INvestigateInvestigate

The most important step in writing for newspapers, as it is with any writing, is to investigate newspapers/news sources.

  • What newspaper is for and about your city, county, state, etc.?
  • Buy or download a copy each day for a week or so and read them cover-to-cover, making note of the type articles in each section on each day of the week that are things you could write about.
  • As you’re investigating and getting to know the newspaper, look on their website and get the submission guidelines and procedures. Familiarize yourself with these guidelines and procedures. (NOTE: Many newspapers now have online portals through which articles can be submitted.)
  • Does the paper accept articles from freelance writers? If not, don’t discount this newspaper. See the section below, “Other ways to be published in a newspaper.”
  • What types of articles will they accept: fiction, non-fiction, real-life accounts, humorous stories, historical accounts, etc.?
  • What is the newspaper’s preferred style of writing? Do they prefer articles that are more folksy than formal?
  • How many words do they want for articles?
  • What topics have they covered recently? What ideas did those give you for articles at different times of the year: summer, start of school, Christmas, etc.?
  • What types of people, places, events, and things do they tell about in their newspaper?
  • Does the newspaper have a foundational political point of view? If so, does it match yours?

Think about …

You may get an inroad at a newspaper by writing an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a book review.

writeWrite

Now you can begin writing your article, keeping in mind all the things you learned about what types of articles the paper publishes.  

  • Make certain to follow their submission guidelines. How many words? Is there a specified font size and line spacing?
  • I always find it helpful to put whatever I am writing aside for a day or so and go back for a careful edit and proof. Then, proof it again! It is also a good idea to have at least one other person proof your writing before you submit it.

sendPitch / Submit

From the submission guidelines, you will know whether you need to send a pitch/inquiry or just submit your article.

If you are to submit a pitch/inquiry, be as concise as possible. Many editors say you should be able to state in one sentence what the article will be about. Remember Sergeant Joe Friday on Dragnet saying, “Just the facts.” The pitch or inquiry should include:

  • The headline or article title.
  • Some articles have a line that appears just below the heading that describes what the article will be about. You will know from your investigative work if articles similar to yours need to have one.
  • Write a paragraph that briefly describes the article.
  • Give them a bullet-point listing of your published articles, including the date of publication and the publication name. Do not embellish here.
  • Do not send attachments unless specified in the submission guidelines. Only send pictures if they request them.
  • Be patient as you wait for a response. Usually, the submission guidelines tell you in what time-frame they will respond to you and how they will respond, via email, snail mail, etc.
  • Keep writing and submitting articles while you wait!
  • Some newspapers pay for articles and some do not. The submission guidelines will specify this. If you are trying to break into freelance newspaper writing, you may want to write some free articles or articles that don’t pay much to get some articles in your writing portfolio.
  • If they accept your pitch/submission, be certain to meet their deadline, and if possible, get it in a little early. Editors will love you!
  • If your pitch/submission is rejected, carefully evaluate your article and submit it to another newspaper. Write another article and submit it to the same newspaper.

What idea do you have that would make a good newspaper article?

Click to Tweet: Do you have a great idea for a newspaper article? #amwriting #newspapers #inspiredprompt

Freelance Writing: Book Compilations

By Jennifer Hallmark

Book compilations. Freelance writing. Can the two be combined? Isn’t a compilation a bunch of novellas yoked together?

Sometimes.

A compilation is, in simpliest terms, a gathering or compiling of different items to produce a finished product. So, yes, a book compilation can be several novellas that fit together. Christmas and romance compilations are very popular.

But I’ve been part of four compilations that did not fit the novella template. The first I was part of, gathered by Tracy Ruckman, then of Write Integrity Press, was a novella called A Dozen Apologies. I was asked to contribute a chapter to the work which consisted of one novella. Later, Tracy asked me to contribute a chapter to another novella, Unlikely Merger.

I also took part in a short story compilation, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, compiled by Jennifer Slattery. She added two of my short stories to the compilation which centered around the Fourth of July.

Lastly, I contributed an essay to the non-fiction book, Not Alone: A Literary & Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility & Miscarriage, edited by Jessica Snell. I shared my difficult journey of a miscarriage that I hoped would help others dealing with this type of tragedy.

Four compilations. Four different works that had different contracts, expectations, and three different editors and publishers. But since a freelance writer is a writer who is self-employed, writing for book compilations is a good way to supplement your income. If you are prolific, you can make a living at it. Or at least make a little money while you write the next Great American Novel.

I love being part of a book compilation because the writing was fun and I enjoyed working with different editors and people who also took part in the work. It was a great learning experience for me and proved to be helpful as I prepare to launch my first novel next June.

I asked some of my friends the same question and they said:

I love being part of a book compilation because…

Julie Arduini: “I love being part of a book compilation because it allows the opportunity to work with some of my favorite authors. Before I started writing to publish, I was a voracious reader. The authors are talented and writing with them made me want to stretch and grow in my craft. Readers also are able to enjoy the creativity that evolves when the compilation has a theme, like A Christmas to Remember. The authors take that one premise and write. Not one story is the same, and yet they are sewn together by the theme. Mixing the authors and theme together creates a beautiful tapestry that I pray is a gift to readers when they open our compilation.”

Find Julie’s book at Amazon.

Eva Marie Everson: There is the challenge–and as an author I love challenges–to writer tighter than usual. I cannot tell my story in 100,000 words. Or even 85,000. I have 20-25,000 words to draw readers in, keep them in, and take them to a satisfying conclusion. A Southern Season was my first attempt at this. Much harder than I thought, but incredibly satisfying when I was done. And I got to work with great authors like Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda W. Yezak!

Find Eva Marie’s book at Amazon.

Claire Fullerton: Being a contributor to a book compilation gives the great gift of camaraderie to a writer. There is supportive resonance in group association, and I find the act of being a team-player rife with motivation. I was recently invited to be a contributor to a compilation of four novellas, in a book titled A Southern Season (Firefly Southern Fiction.) Four authors contributed to this book, with the only guidelines being that each novella was to be set in the South, during one of the four seasons. I chose the autumn, and felt as I wrote my novella that I was upholding my end of what would be a book comprised of a year’s full cycle. Because autumn is a month I associate with decline, I chose to set my novella at a Memphis funeral, replete with bouts of nostalgia, Southern customs, and social mores. Though I have been given the proof, intentionally I have not read the contributions of the three other authors who contributed to the book. I am waiting until the November 1st release of A Southern Season, and am looking forward to reading its entirety, with the satisfaction that will come from being a part of this compilation.

Find Claire’s book at Amazon.

Ginger Solomon: “I feel blessed to join with other authors in group sets because we all write with similar goals in mind, glorifying God in our writing and blessing our readers with clean stories. And it’s a great opportunity for readers to find out if they like what I write while getting other great books to read at the same time.”

Find Ginger’s book at Amazon.

Elizabeth Maddrey: “I love being part of a book compilation because it’s a great chance to be introduced to new readers who are fans of author friends but who are new to me.”

Find Elizabeth’s book at Amazon.
Linda Yezak: I love being in a compilation because it affords me the opportunity to write in genres other than my brand. I get a kick out of it. In November this year, my novella Ice Melts in Spring will be released from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina’s Firefly imprint. This is my first purely Christian Women’s Fiction novella, meaning that if you take the Christian theme out, the story will crumble. In August of 2018, my first historical romance novella, Loving a Harvey Girl, will be released through LPC’s Smitten imprint. Ordinarily, I write contemporary “cowboy” romance, so going off track is fun!
Find Linda’s compilation book at Amazon.

The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer Episode 6

Jennifer Hallmark here. Welcome to my You Tube series called “The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer.”

Today we’re starting on a new segment and our road trip question is, How long will I stay?  Is writing for a season, an extended period, or a permanent residence? Join me as we discuss this.

Episode 6: Today’s topic is Launch into the Adventure: How long will I stay?

Click to tweet: A new YouTube series for the beginning writer. Catch Episode 6 on the Inspired Prompt blog: Writing: How long will I stay? #amwriting #WritersLife