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.

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14 thoughts on “The Year of Magical Writing

  1. Wow, excellent writing advice and cookies too. The Den has gone from being a hive of high writerly consciousness to a lifestyle! It gets better and better…

  2. You might be feeling complacent in your writing, Tom, but it sure doesn’t come across that way.

    And I’m certain that you’d make THE BEST use of a year’s membership in the Freelance Writers Den.

    Hope you win!

  3. Annie, I appreciate your warm words. However, I have the sense I’m dithering and without focus, and that the time I have to get anything of consequence done is decreasing. There will still be time for cookies though.

  4. 11:59? Agree.

    Dithering and without focus? Nah. Not you, Tom. I suspect it just feels that way because you do various and diverse kinds of writing. From novels to travel to technical and software manuals.

    Wasn’t “All your base are belong to us” one of yours?

  5. Rick, even your electronic pats on the back are more than patter. Thanks for being a scholar, a gentleman and a dentist that will someday give me a discount on some horrific procedure.

    No, “base” wasn’t mine, but I was the model for the “I can haz cheezburger” cat.

  6. Congratulations on your win, Tom. As a new den member myself, I hope to learn from you as well as all the others. I’m hoping to avoid the content mills, not sure what those are (how to find them) or how to market myself. I’m also working on a novel and wondering if I should step back and work on a short story. All of these take a lot of time when you’re learning. Challenges are great ways to jump-start the juices. Hope you find yours at the Den. Best wishes!

  7. @Bethany – what, do you mean that there’s cake too? I’m there! But thank you for the congrats.

    @Glen – yes, that somnolent writer’s butt of mine needs a kicking. (Hope none of the kickers are wearing heels, though.) I do appreciate the congratulations (and maybe even the pre-butt kick.)

    @Diane – I hear you on things taking up time. Good God, I’ve been playing with Twitter lately (or it’s been playing with me), and I could see I could sink into buttery glop if I continue. And if you don’t know what a content mill is, don’t go looking for them: they will pay you .01 a word for a deeply researched article, the dear things. See you in the Den!

  8. Wait, people leave bleeding kidneys on the doorstep of editors who’ve rejected them? Why didn’t I think of that?

    Seriously, that bit made me laugh out loud for a full minute. I can just imagine the kind of anger that would lead to that kind of action.

    The freelance writer’s den sounds great, Tom. I’m gonna have to check it out.


  9. Jai, I’m saving my kidneys for finer things. Yes, the Den has been very good so far, particularly all their webinar materials on a lot of aspect of freelancing. The forums are deep with exchanges and advice from all levels of writing pros, but I’ve been so dang busy lately I haven’t had the full chance to take advantage.

    I’m grateful that I have a whole year to really get into it.

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