Warm Applause for Writers Who Give Generously

'Writing Home In Calling Lake Alberta' photo (c) 2011, Mennonite Church USA Archives - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/

I spend entirely too much time reading about writing and reading about writers rather than writing myself, but when I am reading, I want to be provoked, challenged, stimulated and amused. Over the course of 2013, many writers I read have done these things, and some of them consistently do them all. Here’s a list of writers who through their blogs, podcasts, newsletters and ululating cries from the tops of (non-ivory) towers give generously of their time and talents to the benefit of other writers (and readers of every stripe, of course). To all of you, a hearty thanks!

Carol Tice is a long-time freelancer and author who is the brains behind the great Make a Living Writing blog. She founded the equally great Freelance Writers Den, which is a rich resource for support and education for all levels of freelancers. She knows her stuff—and is willing to share.

Linda Formichelli is the head renegade at the Renegade Writer blog, and one of the helpful “Den Mothers” at the Freelance Writers Den mentioned above. She sends out to her email list daily (and juicy) “Morning Motivations for Writers.” She recently published Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race … and Step Into a Career You Love, which I recommend to those weary of rat-racing.

Ed Gandia is an exemplary freelance copywriter, author, speaker and coach—and a great guy (at least from seeing, reading, and hearing him online). His The High-Income Business Writing podcast hosts informative writers talking on practical freelancing topics. He’s the co-author of the bestselling and award-winning book The Wealthy Freelancer, as well as the founder of the International Freelancers Academy.

Peter Bowerman is another great writer, strong writer’s counselor, and also a great guy, one whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet in person. His The Well-Fed Writer and The Well-Fed Self-Publisher are essential books on the freelancing life. Check out his Well-Fed Writer blog.

Joanna Penn is one of the standout voices in the maelstrom that is the publishing world. She provides an always perceptive take on what’s what in publishing, and how to take the reins of your writing career in firm hand. Get her fine counsel at The Creative Penn and check out her novels and nonfiction too.

Jon Morrow is the agent provocateur who regularly kicks writer’s butts with his posts on not just thinking or talking about writing but actually taking risks and getting real writing work done. He was the associate editor of Copyblogger (a marketing/copywriting site I can’t recommend enough), and now throws lightning bolts from his site at Boost Blog Traffic.

Jonathan Fields is a guy who almost seems like a data-delighted high priest of writing, and you’ll often see on his blog a winning blend of logic, science and especially the human touch to plumb and understand the depths of communication. His Good Life Project is a probing, reflective series of interviews with people who have struggled in their work and personal lives and gained great (and instructive) ground in understanding and elaborating on the human condition through work and play. And how to live richly and well within that humanness. Fields is a fine author as well.

Hope Clark has long sent out a writing newsletter that’s been chockablock filled with writing tips, grants and other publishing opportunities for writers. I’ve subscribed for years, and am always delighted, particularly with her thoughtful editorials. She’s also a mystery novelist of some acclaim.

Chris Brogan is an author, entrepreneur, and genial gadabout who runs Human Business Works and other ventures to help other entrepreneurs and businesses make their fully realized and authentic way in the world. His weekly newsletter supplies great motivational tools—and he will answer every reply.

Porter Anderson is one smart cookie, who writes with insight and wry wonder at the crazy minefield of the publishing industry. He blogs seemingly all over the durn place, but prominently at Publishing Perspectives, Jane Friedman’s (see below) site and (see below again, if you dare) Writer Unboxed.

Jane Friedman’s site, magazine and general work examine with an analytical but empathetic eye the windings of many writing roads, from individual authorship to self- and traditional publishing to diverse matters of writing craft and business. She is on top of the latest developments—and offers clear interpretations from that peak.

Writer Unboxed is not a single writer, but a site that hosts daily posts on issues of writing craft, writing business and the vagaries of the writing life. The posters run the range from aspiring writers to authors with decades of experience and decades of publishing success. And the spirit of the site is open, generous and deep. (And they’ve even let me post a few times, despite my hairdo.)

And I wasn’t going to include any of my personal friends in this list because I don’t want you to think I can be bought off (I can, but send fifties), but I’m compelled to salute Joel Canfield, who counsels authors looking to self-publish at his Someday Box site, guiding them from the starting of sentences to the polishings for print (and wiggling electrons too). He’s a mighty nice fellow as well.

Thanks to all these writing stalwarts, and great success to all in 2014!

The Year of Magical Writing

Writers’ funks are funny: sometimes it’s a single botched sentence that can send them into a tizzy. Or maybe reading about the success of something like 50 Shades of Grey turns them 50 Shades of Green. My own writer’s funk is restlessness. I do OK as a freelancer, both in writing for businesses and getting my stuff into magazines and other publications. I’m a long ways from writing for content mills or leaving a bleeding kidney on the doorstep of an editor that ignored my query. I’m two-thirds of the way through a second novel, and I know I won’t abandon it to die hungry in a cave.

But my attentions are scattered, and my discipline needs disciplining. I’ve been in the muse stew lately, paddling about the chunks of “why spend time writing that?” and “aren’t you just repeating yourself?” and “yeah, but you have to make a living, right?” A lot of the stewing has to do with thinking I’ve been writing at the same level for a while. I’ve become a bit too comfortable with both my professional and my personal writing—though god knows they’re still six stars short of stellar.

You see, I fear I’m the proprietor of Ye Olde Writer’s Junque Shoppe, where you can find a case-study plate with a little bit of food still stuck on it, another coffee-stained press release, a short story wearing worn shorts. I’m hungry for a challenge to my complacency.

Get Your Red-Hot Writing Wisdom (And There Might Be Cookies Too)
That’s why I’d be thrilled to win a free year of Carol Tice’s Freelance Writer’s Den. Carol is the den mother (along with the formidable Linda Formichelli), and the big brains behind the Make a Living Writing blog, which I’ve read for a long while. The level of practical writing (and writing-career) advice on the blog is consistently high—imagine what it might be in the close confines of the Den, where there are in-depth discussions on the nuts and bolts of writing for a living, and writing as an art. And besides the year in the Den, there are more perks galore to the winning writer.

The Den gives you access to webinars with guests like Peter Bowerman, Sean Platt and Chris Brogan. You learn juicy stuff like how to negotiate with clients, setting rates, knowing your audience, dealing with billing, and scads more. At least I hear you learn all those things, because I’m on the outside, looking in. But I know a big part of being a Den member is the electric exchange of ideas with fellow writers, who understand the struggles of freelancing. And who would likely prod someone suffering from Midlife Writer’s Crisis with a swift and deserved keyboard kick. Or an electronic hanky, if need be.

So, admission to the Den wouldn’t be a retreat, but an expedition to new writing territories, a Lewis and Clark unfolding of a new writing map.

Besides, I suspect there are chocolate chip cookies there too, and I’m hungry.