Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Always Learning Something New

Writers are lucky. We are like professional students since we are always learning something new. At least that's how I feel. I'll never be an "expert." There is always something that I can learn from an online writing class, a conference, or a professional writing group. My best advice, surround yourself with people who know this craft. That's what I'm doing and so far it seems to be helping.

When I began writing my YA novel I knew I could write and I knew (or thought at least) that I had a great idea but I didn't have the slightest clue on how to get into this business. And even though I'm a published freelancer with magazines both local and national I'm still not a published fiction writer but I'm getting closer with each step that I take. And I'm able to say this because of the situations that I've put myself in.

I joined my local RWA chapter almost a year ago. OK, I'm not a romance writer and I can't see myself going in that direction even though I adore the Blackdagger Brotherhood series! After looking into local writing groups and meeting the Chapter President at the time, Kimberly Frost I knew that RWA was for me. Why? Well, these women were making things happen. They weren't just sitting around talking about their dreams of becoming a publish author, most of them were! Like most professional writing groups, we have speakers come in to teach workshops. That's how I met Laurie Schnebly Campbell. Since then I've taken several of her online classes and have found them to make a huge difference in my fiction writing.

I've learned that feature story writing is a different animal from fiction and hearing her advice along with the dialogue amongst the other students has made me a better writer. Now, I just have to get through these revisions, finish my synopsis and submit to agents. But it's because of what I'm doing now, who I'm surrounding myself with that I know I will make it. I will look forward to the day when I can post an announcement on this blog that I'm a published author!! Until then, I'm back to work. Hmmm.. I may squeeze in an hour break tonight for Idol!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Perks of the Freelance Journalist

OK, so my last entry I introduced you to some of the downsides of being a freelance writer. Today I'm going to tell you about the perks! Oh, and there are so many! First of all I love the flexibility. If I need to run errands during the day I can. If I want to go out to lunch with friends, I can do that as well. What really matters at the end of the day or week is did I meet my goals and deadlines? If the answer is yes then I'm doing my job!

Another, perk is that you can own your topic of expertise. For example, as the Houston Budget Event Examiner I need to go to Houston area events so that I can accurately report about it. With this I get a lot of free passes or invites to local events. If I do have to pay for something then it's a tax write off because this is my business. It's fun to get out and meet people in the "event" circle. As I continue to build and foster such relationships I find that I have to dig for material to write about less and less.

So, if I left you on a down and frustrated note with my last blog entry this should perk you up and create more interest in what I feel to be an ideal job.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Waiting, More Waiting, Then Sprint!

This title basically describes the life of a freelance writer. Sometimes writing means that you do a lot of waiting. For example, when I get a topic I have to first research it which means I conduct a lot of interviews. Conducting interviews means that I'm dependent on other peoples time. So, yes I have a deadline looming over my head but my article/story won't be ready until I have all the pieces.

Once the last interview is done and I've reread all my notes it's sprint time. Then the deadline takes on its full weight since the only thing stopping me now from hitting that oh so fabulous "submit" button is me. After completing my last interview on my current assignment I'm gearing up for the sprint. But I thought that this perspective of freelance writing would be of great importance to anyone considering the field. You never have an 8-5 workday or weekends. You work around your deadlines. Which is wonderful and I love it because in many cases I can work ahead and move things around to fit the schedule I want. But there is always that one story that keeps you from the movie you want to see or the season finale you've been looking forward to. But it's still a career that I would choose again, and again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Back Examiner!

OK, I have had to cut back with my writing over the last several months due to the complications with my pregnancy. However, now that I'm feeling somewhat better I'm trying my best to return to the swing of things at least for now before our bundle of joy arrives! So today I've launched my summer article series as The Houston Budget Events Examiner.

Today, I covered how you can save money at the Houston Zoo by planning your trip ahead of time. This concept still applies to anyone, wherever you live. If you want to go somewhere always do your homework. Many places offer discounts, special offers, etc. You don't want to miss out on a great opportunity just because you didn't take a little time!

So here is the story: Find out from the Houston Budget Events Examiner how to save money this Summer at the Houston Zoo

Also, I've set up a Twitter account. You can now follow me @NatalieCMarkey.

Happy writing or reading or whatever you do!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Cleaning can Help your Writing!

So, yes we are now in summer ,especially here in Texas, but it's never too late to commence your spring cleaning. I tackled this job a few weeks ago and I'm still overwhelmed at how much it is helping my writing! Along with the usual task for spring cleaning I took on the huge task of reorganizing my files. You'd be amazed at how much stuff I found that I really didn't need any more!

In addition to organizing bills and other joyous stuff I organized and created files for my writing. I now have files for each freelance contract, freelance contract I'm seeking, novel ideas, current projects (each has it's own file) writing memberships and writing classes. Through this system I'm seeing great results. I now can easily reference something from a past writing class or find that note I wrote at some odd hour of the night. Just one day of work around the house and I'm feeling so accomplished. By keeping everything organized my work area has order to it and I can save a lot of time that now can go towards what I should be doing...writing!

Do you have any "spring cleaning" success stories? If so, do share!