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I - Immersion

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Muselings -- Editor -- Susan Stephenson
 
 

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I – Immersion, that’s the stuff!

 

A new year prompts many of us to do a stock take in our professional and personal lives. We re-examine goals and dreams, trying to bring them into closer alignment. Hopefully, we spend time looking at how to turn our goals into realities. Sometimes, taking stock can give us a pleasant surprise, revealing we’re closer to realising our dreams than we knew.

At the beginning of 2004, completely ignorant of what it entailed, I decided to become a writer. After all, I’d been writing since Kindergarten, loved playing with words and was a voracious reader. How difficult could it be?

Yes, go ahead, laugh! It was gradually borne upon me that apart from two aged aunts, (one completely gaga,) and myself, there didn’t seem to be much of an audience clamouring to read my fiction and poetry. Either there was something very wrong with the reading public (possible) or my writing wasn’t as great as I’d always believed (more likely).

Luckily, I have the family curse. It is a gene for stubbornness known as the Murphy’s Mule Gene. Instead of forgetting the whole idea, I determined to become a writer or perish in the attempt. And now, here at the beginning of 2006, I have an "aha!" moment. Am I a writer yet? Well, I am less of a writer than I shall become, but, yes, I am definitely more of a writer than I was. I am making a small income from my writing; I have an agent interested in my second novel. But more importantly, when I finally recovered from an illness recently, I discovered how much I’d missed writing, not just for others, but also for myself. It seems to me that writing has become so much a part of who I am that writer-hood has crept up on me.

How did I do it? How did I learn how to be a writer? I can sum it up in one word: immersion.

I immersed myself in being a writer. I practised (Australian spelling!) writing, I re-wrote, I read about writing, I edited, I thought about writing, I discussed it and I studied writing in its various forms. I joined email groups and became a member of writing clubs and interest groups. I worked out how much time I could spare from my jobs and relationships, my familial and societal obligations and I devoted that chunk of time to writing.

Slowly, almost unconsciously, I began acting like a writer. I surrounded myself with several good texts on writing, a decent computer, desk and chair. I decided I liked clean, clear prose and very much enjoyed children’s and travel writing. I began to hone my skills in those areas and to make forays into travel and children’s markets. I entered competitions and read many winning entries, not always agreeing with the judges, but usually learning something. I discovered I wanted to be recognized by society for my writing and that I very much preferred if this took the form of an author cheque! I also discovered writing comes sweetly when my passions are aroused but passionless writing sits like cold porridge in the belly.

Becoming a writer is a slow process for most of us. But as every journey starts with a step, so every success starts with a submission. Writers need to develop a thick skin, ignoring rejections but continuing to write and submit. Until one day, when it’s time to take stock, you realise yes, there have been acceptances, yes, there has been positive feedback, yes, you and others have engaged with your writing. My golly, Miss Molly, you’re a writer!

And of course it helps if you have the Murphy’s Mule Gene for sheer unmitigated stubbornness.

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Have you visited these sites?

Children’s Writer Newsletter

http://www.childrenswriter.com/guidelines.htm

 

This 12-page monthly newsletter in two sections reports on the marketplace for children's writing--books, articles, stories, plays, activities, and more. Current news, trends, tips, how to write to publish. Highly prefer email submissions. See lots of details about the writing they require at the link above.

DARBY CREEK PUBLISHING
http://www.darbycreekpublishing.com/pdfs/sub_guidelines.pdf


Especially interested in nonfiction for ages 8 to 14 with
themes related to sports, science, history or biography.
Should be distinctive and unlike the competition. They are also
interested in high-quality fiction from early chapter books
to mature young adult.

Sad News – http://www.cobblestonepub.com/guides.html

"Cricket Books is temporarily suspending consideration of unsolicited manuscripts. Because of an increase in the number of submissions, we find ourselves unable to handle the volume."

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Last month’s prompt was to write your goals for 2006. This month’s prompt for writers is to take those goals and write next to each one exactly how you plan to attain them. Be as concrete and detailed as you can. If one of your goals is to win a contest this year, be specific about which kinds of contests you plan to enter, whether you’ll pay entry fees, whether you’ll consider postage or email for entries, how you’ll increase your chances of winning etc.

Until next time, write on!

Susan

muselings@yahoo.com.au