Writing Quote, January 25, 2010 — “Opening a Vein”

There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
–Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

Do you pour yourself onto the page with everything you write?

Do you pour yourself onto the page with everything you write?

www.inkthinkerblog.com — I wouldn’t necessarily posit that ALL writing is tantamount to spilling one’s blood on the page. The good writing, though — the writing that grabs you and won’t let go — I think that can often come from a very raw, deep place inside the writer.

When I write the proposals I am so often called upon to create, I’m not exactly leaving my heart with them even though I always try to infuse even the most technical of writing projects with passion. But when I write about something that leaves me feeling affected — whether breathless, thrilled, disgusted, or otherwise — it’s a whole different ballgame.

You might think that by leaving a little piece of yourself in everything you write you would eventually be left empty. I’d argue that just the opposite is true: With each part of yourself you put on the page, you grow and become fuller and richer as a result.

What do you think about Smith’s quote?

– Kristen

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Kristen’s New Blogger Boot Camp Webinar: Jan 11-Mar 1

www.inkthinkerblog.com — If you missed the first session of my 8-week webinar series New Blogger Boot Camp, you’re in luck! I’ll be offering a second chance to attend Week 1 on Friday, January 15, 1-2 p.m. ET.

Those of you following me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn probably already know the dish on the webinar, but just in case…


Sign up before Friday and you won’t miss a thing! And for those who can’t attend but still want the content, I will make audio recordings available for each session for registered attendees even if you can’t actually be there. Now, go register! What are you waiting for?

AIW members check out the AIW website for a special discount on webinar admission. Past and upcoming SOBCon attendees are also eligible for discounts!

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

rearview mirror reflection car driving road streetwww.inkthinkerblog.com — I doubt anyone will argue with me when I say that this update is long overdue. Suffice it to say, it’s been a hectic couple of months. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version.

November turned out to be a bad month for me in terms of writing. There was illness, there was travel, and there was — drumroll please — a new job. (More on that in a moment.) At the end of the month, I finished with about 15,000 words. Some of it totally sucks, but in the process of plowing through I really impressed myself. I have a totally viable story idea and it’s something I’m actually interested in writing and reading. So this marks the beginning of something I’m really excited about and have wanted to do since I was a kid: actually writing a YA novel.

I’m doing okay on the morning pages plan, though not as well as I had optimistically set out. Which is okay with me. Having it there and being able to savor it when I can allow myself to steal a few moments alone with the pen is a gift, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. Except for the self-reflection part, which sadly comes with negative realizations as well as positive and neutral ones. But I’m finding that I feel more connected to myself when I have the opportunity to reflect on both strengths and weaknesses and how I react to things, and that’s definitely a growth opportunity that I’m gaining from in a large way.

Now, about the new job: A client I’ve been working  with for nearly 2 years needed to bring on another full-time writer, and they wooed me sufficiently that I accepted. Briefly, I’m doing the same thing for them that I was before I joined the staff: working 100% from home on proposals and contract deliverables. The only difference is that now it’s 32 hours a week and I get benefits including health insurance and paid time off.  So, there’s still time for freelance work but I also get this crazy thing called a regular paycheck.

The transition period has been a little rocky, primarily because my employer-provided computer is [[insert dramatic music here]] a PC and I hate it. It’s also been an ongoing process to balance my job requirements with the select freelance projects I choose to take on and the rest of my life. But as we have discussed before, balance isn’t just something that happens one time and it’s done; no, balance is a continuous event, something that you do daily or even hourly, and it’s never perfect. That’s what makes it fun, and a valuable pursuit.

So, that’s where I am at the moment. What changes have happened in YOUR life recently?

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Well, No One Said it Had to Be 50,000 GOOD Words…

screaming, pulling out your hair

www.inkthinkerblog.com — I’m starting to think that this month was a spectacularly bad time for me to decide to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

It started out great. Heck, I was even ahead for a while there, and I was cocky about it! And then reality hit, and along with it came a parade of lengthy meetings (including long drives there and back), an overnight visit to my grandparents who were so happy to see me that I feel I should be self-flagellating to atone for how little I visit them, and a multi-day overnight visit with my mom and foot-taller-than-me little brother (along with frantic cleaning before and after to give the impression that I am actually a sane adult).

In other words, well, I’ve written no other words.

The thing is, despite multiple plot changes resulting in more than one dream sequence that I refuse to throw away because I will not sacrifice those hard-earned words, my book actually doesn’t totally suck. And I’m bummed that I haven’t had the time I need to give it what it deserves.

But damn the torpedoes and whatnot — I’m going to bang out 50,000 words on this puppy whether they’re good or not, and whether they happen before November 30 or not (but yeah, still trying for that), because my book deserves it and so do I.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you?

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Fundamental Technology, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Networking — Session 4, AIW Going Freelance Seminar

www.inkthinkerblog.com — I’m liveblogging the AIW Going Freelance! seminar today at Johns Hopkins University. Forgive the typos, as I’m trying to keep up. You can handle it. Trust me. -kk

SHASHI BELLAMKONDA on social networking and your business…

Social media survey by Network Solutions’s Grow Smart Business indicated growth in use of social networking for small biz. At least 59% of active Web users have a social media profile.

Skeptics can suggest that social media is a passing fad, but time is showing that that’s not true. Social media creates a level playing field for small and large businesses alike. You’re no less likely to be seen online just because you’re small. It also gives you equal control in terms of managing your reputation online. It’s a business necessity to search your own name online.

Ideally your top Google results should be information you create yourself. If someone is creating a profile for you on some site you’ve never heard of, go join and at least put your correct info in because that will give you one more link in Google.

Know your audience. One tool is Google Alerts to notify you when your name, your business, your product, etc. is mentioned. Google doesn’t spider comments on photos, so BackType is a good tool to help you find content about you that Google might overlook.

Writers can use social media to identify ideas, trends, and buzz; find peers and network; distribute content easily; have a greater reach; and find new clients. Be a connector, one of the people who introduces people to others. Give without expecting anything back. Promote others not just yourself. Add value. [click to continue…]


It’s Time to Publish — Session 3, AIW Going Freelance Seminar

www.inkthinkerblog.com — I’m liveblogging the AIW Going Freelance! seminar today at Johns Hopkins University. Forgive the typos, as I’m trying to keep up. You can handle it. Trust me. -kk

Cathy Alter on pitching…

Figure out if your idea is even pitchable, then identify the right market. And test your pitch before you send it out. Cathy always goes for her “reach” option first and then works down from there. She recommends researching the market so you can match the style and tone of your query to that of the publication. And to find out who to send the pitch to, check the masthead. Avoid the general mailbox if you can. Putting a name on it essential. She recommends starting small. If you haven’t written for a publication before, pitch a front-of-book piece first rather than a feature to get yourself in the door and prove yourself.

Why now? What’s the news peg to hang your story on? Why is this a story. What’s timely and relevant? Make sure the publication hasn’t run anything similar in the last 3 years. Do homework, read the archives, and make sure.

Until you can say what your piece is about in just a few sentences, the pitch isn’t there and it’s not thought out enough for an editor to understand when you have in mind. When someone gets interested in what you have to say, you’re on the right track. Watch for when their eyes glaze over. Get to the point quickly and briefly and explain how you would write hte piece.

Pitches nowadays are much different. It used to be that she could just go out to lunch with and editor and talk a good game and she would get the assignment. Now, you need to show your style, why the subject is worthy, and what the idea really is. There is now a hierarchy that maybe didn’t exist so much before. An editor has to show it another editor and there are a lot of yeses to get through. The more you can show the editor what you can do, what you will do, and what you’re capable of. Make sure your pitch is complete — they shouldn’t have any questions at the end of your pitch. The only thing she hasn’t really pitched is personal essay, which she accompanies with a short e-mail stating what she has done in the essay and a brief overview of her background.

Make sure you’ve spelled everything correctly including the editor’s name. Editors move around, so don’t burn any bridges. You want to be on time. Fact check, spell check.

Cathy is still so appreciative to have an editor say yes to an idea, and it’s even better when an editor calls and gives you an assignment.

[click to continue…]

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