Standing on the Shoulders
“If a person is not talented enough to be a novelist, not smart enough to be a lawyer, and his hands are too shaky
to perform operations, he becomes a journalist.” Norman Mailer
“Doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal
by pack rats and vandalized nightly.”
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the
shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton
There are times in my writing life when I’m more of
an internitwit than an internet giant. I’ve acquired viruses by visiting music sites, am regularly and copiously spammed
from loving friends in Nigeria and seem to spend hours each day just clearing
But I’m here to say, my love for the Internet keeps
growing. I adore having an enormous library available 24/7. I place the friends in my virtual world far above rubies. Finally,
I ‘m obsessed with “finding out stuff” – where better than the net for that? With practice, I’m
also learning to discriminate between good and mediocre sites.
- One of my
recent writing goals is to use the net to work smarter. Here are some Google sites I believe help me maximize my time online:
Google is my best friend.
I have a Google toolbar on my browser, which means I can quickly check information or refine a search without opening
another browser page. The search box will open the page for me, and admittedly, it only saves seconds, but I like it. You
can get it here: http://toolbar.google.com/T4/
Google Alerts will email you with the latest references to
your choice of query or topic. You can monitor a developing news story, or keep tabs on your published writing by inserting
your own name. http://www.google.com.au/alerts?hl=en
Gmail is free web-based mail. I like its search facility and
that you don’t have to delete emails. It seems to identify spam well, too. You can find out more here: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/intl/en/about.html
Other Google products: http://www.google.com.au/options/index.html
- There are
so many terrific sites to help writers on the net. Ones I visit frequently are:
Word Counter picks up the repetitions I missed in my writing.
It is easy to paste text and it’s free.
Another free site (yeah, I’m cheap) and full of pleasurable
distractions, but I rely on it to tell me how to spell US English.
Preditors and Editors is valuable not just for warnings about
shonky editors and agents, but is chock-full of information to benefit a writer. Free, naturally.
Poynter Online is a site so packed full of learning for journalists
that, if I had to, I would PAY to get in! My current project is to add all Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools to my skills.
You can read about them here: http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&aid=103943
Writers Weekly is a great free site for markets. Anyone who
can write an article like this one by Angela Hoy, about raising rates for freelancers, deserves our support!
- The net has
made it much easier for a writer to discover contests. These can be a great way to gain recognition or used as a prompt. Some
sites that list upcoming contests for writers are:
Not all web sites are created equal. As Sir Isaac Newton said,
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” To me, the World Wide Web consists of
giants, dwarves and millions of in-betweens. I believe I can enhance my own vision as a writer by using the excellent information,
tools and networks the Internet has to offer. Standing wisely on the shoulders of Internet giants, means I cannot only see
further, but also work smarter.
I like that idea.
Have you been to these
Poetry Contest (no fee)
The League of Laboring Poets
The deadline for this contest is August 30, 2007. All forms of poetry are acceptable. Winners will be announced on Sept. 1, 2007
1st Prize = $50
2nd Prize = $25
3rd Prize = $10
Special additional prize of $25 for
the best haiku.
TransitionsAbroad.com invites you to enter its 2008 Expatriate
Travel Writing Contest. (no fee)
The Contest is open to professional, freelance and aspiring
writers from any location around the globe. Submit an original essay of up to 1,500 words relating to your experience living
or moving abroad. Please read the writers' guidelines for Transitions Abroad Magazine as well as sample articles on this site
for a sense of our editorial focus.
The Contest begins March 1, 2007, and all entries must be received
by November 15, 2007.
The first-place winner's entry will receive $500, the second-place
winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100.
Further details at site.
Call for Cup of Comfort Stories
Cat Lovers, Breast Cancer Survivors, Spouses and Children
of People with Alzheimer’s, Divorced Women are all coming up in 2007.
Until next month, write