Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Magazines, A Great Start

Magazine stand

Image by Tracy Hunter via Flickr

I’ve had many discussions with fellow writers about  just HOW to break in to the children’s book industry.  So I thought I’d share a little bit about MAGAZINE writing. 

Why start there? Here’s several reasons:

  • Writing in Demand–Think about it.  Most magazines run monthly.  This means they are filled with all sorts of information.  Magazines are always on the lookout for quality pieces with a fresh voice.
  • Specific Topics–Study any magazine and you’ll find they all have departments,many with special themes.  This is a great way for newbies who feel overwhelmed by too many ideas or worry with writer’s block where there’s no ideas at all.  This way you can find a topic you like and start there.
  • Word Counts— With these publications, there’s limited word space available.  That means every department/column must adhere to strict word counts.  For a newbie, this is great news.  First, you can breathe a sigh of relief–no pressure to write thousands of words like the latest YA bestseller. AND, it’s great discipline.  Strict word counts can teach new writers how to write tighter, keeping their pieces focused and clean.

So if a 50,000+ word count seems way out of reach or you’re just trying to get your feet wet in the world of children’s writing, magazines just may be the place for you to take the plunge.

With magazines, topics are endless and cycles continue.  Why not jump in and cycle along, too?  Next time, I’ll share a few more tips and links on KID MAGAZINE writing, so stay tuned. . .

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Tune In. . .to your Writing

Philips headphones

Image via Wikipedia

Do you prefer background noise when you write or do you need total silence?  For me, I prefer the quiet.  When I first began writing, I couldn’t compete with any sound. 

Still today, my best writing takes place in the early hours before the house fills with its everyday noises.  That way I can tune into the voices in my head.

But as a person totally in love with music and the feelings it stirs, I wanted to be like the rest of my writer friends and play some tunes while tapping away at my own keyboard.

Now that I’ve established a regular routine, the noise doesn’t bother me as much.  Although I still prefer quiet, I’ve trained my brain to tune into my storyworld and tune out my surroundings just about anywhere. 

So here’s what I tried:

  • white noise–For some reason, white noise is too loud for me.  My characters start crying for umbrellas in the rain or beg for lifesavers as they try to stay afloat in the ocean.
  • movie soundtracks–I like these because most are without words.  And they are meant to provoke certain moods.  I found these work best for me after I have the basics down and need to use more sensory details in a scene.
  • music of a time period–Right now I’m writing a story that takes place in the 70s.  The sounds of the 70s are crucial to my story.  Even though I can’t keep them playing constantly while I write, I listen to them while I do other things–cook, clean, exercise, etc.  As I’m listening, I jot down song titles that provoke a certain nostalgic mood I need for those lackluster scenes–yes, usually in the middle.  I play the song in the background while I read the scene aloud.  For me, this works well.