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                      W R I T I N G   W O R L D

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 11:02           12,202 subscribers         January 20, 2011
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
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THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S DESK: Be Realistic Not Pessimistic, 
by Dawn Copeman 
THE WRITING DESK: Interviewing Celebrities, by Moira Allen
FEATURE: When You're Not in the Mood to Write, by Noelle Sterne
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
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* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.

Be Realistic, Not Pessimistic

Ah, it's January again, the time of year when most of us review our
writing goals or plans from the year before to see what worked and
what didn't.  The time when we once again ask ourselves where we
want to be this time next year and plan how we are going to get
there.  This period has another name: recrimination time.

It's all too easy when we review our past year's writing work (or
lack of it) to be very hard on ourselves.  To downplay the
positives and any achievements we made and to make more of the
negatives than is reasonable.  I say us, but I also know some
writers for whom their lack of success is, in their eyes, entirely
down to someone else.  It's never their fault that they haven't got
published, even if they've never submitted a single piece of work. 
But they are, I believe, in the minority.  Most of us would be
abject lessons to psychologists trying to explain biased thoughts;
we tend to overplay the negative and eliminate the positive. 

For example, last year I set myself the following goals:
To find new markets and submit regularly
To complete the first draft of my novel
To produce an updated version of the Newbie Writer's Handbook

I didn't achieve a single one of them.  Whoa.  What great progress
I made!  I should give up right now and get a 'proper' job.  But
that's the pessimistic take on events.  If I were to be realistic,
however, I would take into account the constraints I had to contend
with and evaluate my progress accordingly.  I suffered from Post
Viral Stress Disorder for six months, which severely affected my
productivity, forcing me to step down as editor of NewbieWriters
and to abandon my plan to update the book; I simply did not have
the energy for it.  Plus, I might not have achieved those
particular goals, but I did achieve other writing goals that
weren't even on my original list: writing two chapters in a
non-fiction book that will be published shortly, picking up new
copywriting work, and developing my characterisation skills. 

When you are reviewing your last year as a writer, be realistic,
not pessimistic.  Are you setting yourself achievable goals that
really take into account how much time and energy you have to
devote to writing, or are you doing some wishful thinking when it
comes to allocating your goals? 

Several years ago, some research was done into goal-setting and
found that if researchers set a group of university students the
goal to learn ten new foreign language words a day, they learnt and
remembered on average 8 out of 10 and were happy with their
progress.  If the researchers set another group of students the
task of learning 40 new foreign language words a day, they learnt
and remembered on average 32 out of 40 and felt that they weren't
making any progress at all.  Yet they still scored the same
percentage as the 10 words a day group, 80%.  The difference, the
psychologists decided, was that one group was overloaded and
couldn't take any pleasure in any small tasks they achieved, whilst
the 10 words a day group were happy to achieve each day's tasks as
they came.  The answer is not to overload yourself.  Be realistic
with what you can achieve in the time you have available for your
writing and reward yourself for every goal you DO achieve. 

I'm going to reward myself now by watching something with David
Tennant in it! I sooo miss the tenth doctor!

-- Dawn Copeman, Newsletter Editor


CHILDREN'S WRITERS' PUBLISHING NEWS Over 1,000 children's editors
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THE WRITING DESK: Interviewing Celebrities 
By Moira Allen

I have to interview a TV personality; what questions should I ask?
Q: Hi, I'm 15 years old and have recently become part of a magazine
for teens.  I have to interview a TV personality and was wondering
if you had any advice on what kinds of things I could ask.  Sorry
to sound so obscure, but I'm quite freaked out and was looking for
some guiding light. 

A: If I had to interview a TV personality, I'd be freaked out too. 
I've interviewed quite a few people, but not quite of that
You haven't mentioned what you need to interview the TV personality
about, so I'm assuming this is a personal profile.  Think about the
audience of your magazine. What would these readers want to know
about the person you're interviewing?  How can you relate this
interview to teen interests?
One way to start is to simply sit down with a pad of paper and jot
down all the things you'd like to know about this person.  Don't
worry about making your questions sound "intelligent" -- just ask
yourself what you're most interested in.  Then, take your pad of
paper and ask a few friends what they'd like to know about this
person.  See what questions come up most often.  For example, maybe
you and your friends would like to know how you could become
"stars" -- what steps did this person take?  If the TV personality
is younger, what is it like to be a young star?  What is it like to
work with some of the big names?  How does the person balance
stardom with "normal life"?  What are some of the best things, and
the worst things, about celebrity status?  Ask for anecdotes --
"when did you first realize that you were famous?  How did it
feel?"  Ask how other members of the person's family handle the
star's fame.
When you're interviewing, try to ask "open-ended" questions.  In
other words, avoid questions that can be answered "yes" or "no" --
because all too often, that's all you'll get.  So don't ask a
question like "Do you enjoy working on television?" because that
could just be answered "yes."  Instead, ask something like "what do
you enjoy most about working on television?"  Of course, that begs
for another question: "What do you enjoy least about working on
television?"  Notice how questions like this force your interviewee
to actually talk to you, and give you stories and anecdotes. Ask
questions like "Where would you like to see yourself in five
years?" or "If you could work on your ultimate dream project, what
would it be?"  Or, you might want to talk to the person about what
they do when they're not on camera -- what their interests or
special causes might be.
If you're interviewing in person, observe your surroundings while
you talk.  If you're in the person's home, what does it look like? 
Does the person live in a casual environment, or is it fancy?  Does
the person seem to spend money lavishly or live simply?  How does
the person dress when not on camera?  Pay attention to tone of
voice, facial expressions, laughter, etc., to build an impression
of who this person really is (rather than who s/he portrays on
television). Does the person seem at ease and relaxed with your
interview?  Or is s/he uptight and impatient?  How does the person
treat you?  (This would be an interesting observation, in my view,
because obviously -- no offense -- you're not a "big, important"
interviewer.  So -- does this person treat you as well as if you
were interviewing from TV Guide or some big magazine?  Or does s/he
brush you off?  That says a lot about personality as well.  Note,
by the way, that it doesn't say anything negative about you!)  Your
impressions can be just as important as what the person actually
Good luck and congratulations on your assignments.  I have no doubt
that you'll do exceedingly well!

Copyright (c) 2011 by Moira Allen  


BE YOUR OWN EDITOR, by Sigrid Macdonald, is a crash course in 
writing basics: everything from run-on sentences to character 
development to organizing essays and nonfiction articles is 
covered here. Buy it at Lulu (http://tinyurl.com/yehze36) or 
Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/be-your-own-editor)


UK Teacher Sacked for Writing Novel with Pupils
Leonora Rustamova was sacked from her job as an English teacher
after writing a racy novel with her pupils which inadvertently
ended up on the internet.  Her husband had planned to print twelve
copies of the book to give to the fifteen year old boys in her
class when they left school. For more on this story visit: 

Library Emptied of Books to Protest at Closure Plans
Members of Stony Stafford Library in Milton Keynes, UK, have each
taken out their maximum number of books to empty the library of all
its books in protest over local council plans to close the library.
Over 16,600 books were taken from the library in a week, leaving it
bare.  For more on this story visit: 

Christmas Sales Figures for Books Low
Christmas 2010 was not a happy one for publishers, with book sales
across the world down from previous years.  In the US the number of
books sold dropped by 8%, in Germany by 6% and 7% in Ireland. In
the UK sales dropped by 3.6%.  For more on this story visit: 




O Books Seek Authors
O Books publishes around 200 books each year in the following
genres:  spirituality, religion, philosophy and psychology, fiction
and biography, culture, women's studies, the environment and
self-help. Authors come from all over the world.  For more on
writing with O Books check out their website: 

Grand Magazine Open to Submissions
Grand Magazine provides information to grandparents of all ages and
deals with a wide range of topics.  For writers' guidelines check
out their website: http://www.grandmagazine.com/article.asp?id=151

American Bungalow Open to Submissions
American Bungalow covers a wide range of topics: the Arts and Crafts
movement, collecting, bungalow neighborhoods, new construction,
gardens, art, period lodges and home renovation, among others.
Surprise us; we love to publish little-known gems. Typically,
American Bungalow articles run between 800 and 1,800 words.  Check
out back issues before submitting and check out full writers'
guidelines here. 


ARE YOU A WRITER WITH A DAY JOB?  Do you steal moments late at 
night or on your lunch break to write?  Then The Nighttime 
Novelist: Finish Your Novel in Your Spare Time, by Joseph Bates, 
is the guide for you, with techniques, mini-lessons, exercises 
and worksheets to help you get that novel finished. From Writer's 
Digest Books. http://tinyurl.com/28zl756


By Noelle Sterne

If you believe you must wait to write until the right mood strikes,
you'll never get much done. Many writers nevertheless persist in
this myth and support it with impressive rationales. Some blame
external circumstances:

* "I can only write in the cold weather -- it's so invigorating!"         
*  "I can only write in the spring. The warm breeze caresses my
forehead and fingers, and I melt into the keyboard."
* "I can only write in the middle of the night, when the busses
stop roaring, my family and dog are snoring, and I can play my
favorite jazz CDs."
Other writers make excuses from the inside:         
* "Before I can sit down to write, I've got to have all my monthly
bills paid."
* "I must get nine hours of sleep. Otherwise, my eyes burn, my head
fogs, and I can't think."
* "If I've had a fight with my partner, we have to make up before I
can face the computer."
* "I can't work if I have the slightest headache, backache,
stomach-ache, earache, shoulder-ache, wrist-ache, or finger-ache."

Writers who limit themselves with any of these conditions swear
they're legitimate. But if you depend on cold winter air to inspire
you, your writing will wilt in the summer. If you think you can
write only with emotional equilibrium, enough sleep, or flawless
health, you'll spend most of your time not writing. 

Do you assume you have to be in the mood to go to work? Does your
employer? Must you be in the mood to feed your family? Do they
assume this when their stomachs growl for dinner? 

Once you renounce the pretext that you must be in the mood to
write, you've accepted writing as your daily business. As many have
observed, this is the only way to complete your projects and reach
your goals:

* A longtime editor snapped, "I don't believe in writers' blocks or
magic moods. What's needed is to apply the seat of the pants to the
seat of the chair."  

* The American short story writer Flannery O'Connor advised an
aspiring author: "set aside three hours every morning in which you
write or do nothing else; no reading, no talking, no cooking, no
nothing, but you sit there"  

* Woody Allen, the witty comedian, prolific film writer, director,
actor, and short story writer, admits he writes daily only four or
five hours. "Getting to the typewriter every day is what makes for

* The novelist and writing teacher Leonard Bishop admonishes, "A
writer must write EVERY DAY. You may try to soften, sweeten, doctor
or rationalize away the purity of this traditional verity -- but
the effects of not writing every day will prove its validity."    

Without regular, if not daily, writing, your zeal fades, you forget
where you were, and you lose touch with your intuition. You're sure
you'll never be a real writer and succumb to cleaning out the

Professional athletes train daily, whatever the weather, their
muscle aches or moods. Concert pianists practice incessantly,
whether their fingers are warm, cold, stiff, or relaxed. As serious
writers, we are no different. 

I used to give in to the mood-to-write rationale, especially since
I was usually in the mood to do other things. After long struggles
and reading of others' battles, I developed many strategies for
deflating the justifications. Here are eleven:

1. Schedule realistic times to write. 
This means more than yielding to spurts of excitement. For example,
a beleaguered mother of four scrawled in determined letters on the
refrigerator chalkboard, "Put the kids down for their naps. Write
3:00 to 4:00!" A paralegal chortled to the mirror while shaving,
"When I get home tonight, no TV, no Internet, no phone. It's the
manuscript for two hours!"

What happened? The mother's hour was consumed with three calls
about the car pool, the PTA, and the class play costumes. The
paralegal's session dissipated into too many beers with buddies
after work, and he got home just in time to catch the final
baseball scores and conk out on the sofa. 

The lesson? Schedule regular and REALISTIC times for writing. Base
your schedule not only on your daily responsibilities but your
self-knowledge. You may fantasize about writing at 6:00 a.m. and
savoring the hush and new light. If you're truly a morning person,
you'll have a great session. But if 6:00 feels like 3:00, schedule
your writing sessions to honor your needs and body clock.
2. Mark your calendar. 
Put down your scheduled writing time like you would a dentist's
appointment, car tune-up, or meeting with the boss. This action
says you take yourself and your writing seriously. Your writing
session with yourself is an appointment -- and possibly more
important than any other. 
3. The night before, plan exactly what to work on. 
When I began scheduling specific writing times, I'd show up at my
desk but always give in to opening mail, sorting files, or bolting
up to wash the three dishes in the sink. When I complained to a
consistently productive colleague, he shared his method: "Before I
quit the current session, I decide exactly what's next. Then I lay
out everything that applies." So decide where you'll start and set
out the materials you'll need.
This technique will not work if you shrug and mutter, "Oh, I'll
look at the Western novel or Christmas short story." Get specific.
Is it the essential saloon scene? The dual-career couple's fight
over who will take the kids tree shopping?
Find your notes, if you've made them, and plunk them on top of your
pad or keyboard. If your write with the computer, use the excellent
"bookmark" feature. You can type notes at the bookmarked spot and
"save" it all. 
4. Start with something easy. 
As long as the task relates at all to writing, it's fair game --
printing a draft, addressing an SASE, investigating a market.
However, such jobs won't take long, and you may be tempted to veer
off into the day's TV offerings. So...
5. Set small goals you know you can meet. 
Whether you're motivated by resolve or shame, turn the timer to
five writing minutes, or vow to finish a paragraph or a page. If
you clock your words, settle on a small daily quota. Want
perspective? Hemingway recorded his output at only 450, 575,
sometimes 1,250 words a day; Irwin Shaw strove for 1,000.    
Once you start, you'll probably get so immersed you won't even hear
the timer bell or stop at your promised quota. The strategy works. 
6. Sneak into it. 
If you're still having trouble starting, try a variation of Number
4. Instead of beginning at the bookmark of your last session, go
back a few paragraphs. Pretending nonchalance, glance at the screen
or page.
Your editing reflex will spring up, unstoppable. Yield to it. As
you casually delete this, add that, you'll have eased into your
session, all stalling gone. If you need a more severe version,
retype several previous paragraphs. Before you can say "Shift,"
you've sailed into new writing. 
7. Make a list. 
Sometimes we avoid writing -- and blame it on the weather, that
taco, or the latest spat with our spouse -- because we feel
overwhelmed. This is especially true with a long and involved
project, like a book proposal, screenplay, or novel. 
Making a list keeps you organized and motivated. Contrary to
another myth, lists do not diminish your creativity or metamorphose
you into a left-brain drudge. The artist has to keep a list of
painting supplies, the sculptor an inventory of muds. Writers need
to keep lists of paper, pens, ink cartridges, laptop batteries,
scenes, characters, characters' characteristics, etc., etc. 
When you make a list of all aspects of your project, you get the
worries out of your head and curb that feeling of endlessness. The
list is your master plan, like a blueprint. For a book proposal
that froze me, I finally made a list of at least fifteen necessary
sections (introduction, promotion plan, competitive books, sample
chapter, bibliography). What broke my paralysis? The next
8. Choose one thing from your master list. 
Despite the advice to Alice in Wonderland, you don't have to start
at the beginning. For my proposal, I started near the middle, with
what was easiest. 
I realized the competitive books section called for mini-book
reviews. My courage stirred as I remembered earlier book reviewing
experience. Starting here not only broke my ice but also forced me
to ask what my book had that the others didn't -- which is the
point of a competitive books section. So examine your master list
for what you can ease in with. It all counts.
9. Use the "diaper method." 
I devised this method for clients who feel snowed under by their
own interminable lists, intricate outlines, and unremitting
editorial critiques. 
Take a pair of post-its, index cards, or sheets of paper and stick
or clip them to your list. Position the "diaper" so it blocks out
everything but the single item you've chosen. With all others out
of sight, you can now focus on what's in front of you. When you
finish this segment, move the post-its or cards so they show only
your next selection.  
With the diaper method, you keep your attention on the visible
section, heading off any thoughts of overwhelm or endlessness. When
you finish this section, you're ready to move the diaper. And
you'll probably feel, as I do, a sweeping sense of accomplishment
and excitement at the forward movement.        
10. Keep a log of your writing time. 
You may groan at keeping more records, but a weekly or monthly log
has significant benefits: 

* It helps you see what days you miss. Is there a pattern? Do you
take weekends off? Do they slide into Monday? 
* The log helps you become more conscious of where you're choosing
to spend your time.
* The log shows you when you prefer to write -- morning, afternoon,
or dead of night.
* The log helps you practice forgiving yourself for not writing as
much as you think you should.
* Analyzing the log spurs you to figure out how to devote more time
to writing.
Keeping a log bolsters your conviction of yourself as a writer. As
you enter each session, praise yourself for your steadiness,
persistence, and increased hours.
11. Accept your "moody" feelings. 
Despite all these pointers, if you simply CAN'T settle down to
write for any reason, even knowing you've manufactured it, accept
the feeling. If you berate yourself, you'll only feel worse.
But instead of giving up, bargain. Ask yourself, "How can I tease
myself into a just a LEETLE stint?" Your first answer may be to
type a label, stuff an envelope, update your bio (see Number 2).
If you must, run for the caffeine, chips, or chocolate -- anything
to get you going. Some writers blast music or talk radio. One
writer confessed that before she could confront the screen she
stuffed down three raisin-nut-spice muffins (with a little water, I
hope). Use your most effective and favorite teasing remedies. You
can start the diet once the draft is done.        

With these solutions, your writing schedule won't be buffeted by
changes in the atmosphere, either outside your window or inside
your head. You'll stick to your schedule, sit down, and write
regularly because it's your business to. And you'll banish any coy
excuses and stalling tactics that you've got to be in the mood to

(1)Flannery O'Connor, Letter to Cecil Dawkins, November 12, 1960,
The Habit of Being: Letters, ed. Sally Fitzgerald (New York: Farrar
Straus & Giroux, 1979), p. 49.
(2)Robert F. Moss, "Creators on Creating: Woody Allen," Saturday
Review (November 1980), p. 40.
(3)Leonard Bishop, Dare to Be a Great Writer (Cincinnati, OH:
Writer's Digest Books, 1988), p. 280. 
(4)Ralph Keyes, "Keep Hope Alive," The Writer (November 2003), pp


Writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant, Noelle Sterne holds
a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia
University and publishes in writers' and mainstream magazines. Her
articles have appeared in Archetype, Children's Book Insider, Pure
Inspiration, The Write Place At the Write Time, Writer's Digest
special issues, Writers' Journal, and The Writer. Her column, "The
Starbucks Chronicles," on the struggles of writing and joys of
latté-sipping appeared for over a year in the Absolute Write
Newsletter. Noelle is completing a psychological-spiritual
handbook, based on her academic consulting practice, to help
doctoral candidates finish their dissertations (finally). Her new
book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams,
available from Unity House, is a manual of practical spirituality
for reaching lifelong yearnings. Visit Noelle's website: 

Copyright (c) 2011 by Noelle Sterne

For more tips on how to handle the writing life and manage your
writing time check out our section at: 


WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of 
writing markets if you subscribe this week. Discover almost 
2,000 writing markets from USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australasia. 



Writing for Radio
This is a small but comprehensive site that details how and how not
to write radio plays and tells you which stations around the world
commission or buy them.  

How to Write a Screenplay
This site from the BBC written by two successful screenwriters
tells you how to go about writing a screenplay and has links for
further information.

BBC College of Journalism
This is a comprehensive free site that covers all areas of modern
journalism and includes basics tips for beginners.  


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. Newly updated for 2010, WRITING TO WIN
by Moira Allen is the one-stop resource you need for contests
and contest tips. Visit Writing-World.com's bookstore for details:


This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. Unless 
otherwise indicated, competitions are open to all adult writers. 
For a guide to more than 1000 writing contests throughout the 
world, see Moira Allen's book, "Writing to Win: The Colossal 
Guide to Writing Contests" 

DEADLINE:  February 6, 2011
GENRE:  Books
DETAILS:  Unpublished or self-published novels. Two categories:
General Fiction and Young Adult. 50,000 - 150,000 words.
PRIZE: Winner in each category (General Fiction and Young Adult)
receives publication by Penguin Group USA and $15,000 advance along
money for travel expenses to attend Grand Prize event in June.
URL: http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011 

DEADLINE: February 14, 2011
GENRE:    Short Stories
DETAILS:  2000 words maximum short story on the theme of compulsion.
PRIZE:  £5000 and a place on an Arvon Residential Writing Course
and publication on the Writer's and Artists' Website.
URL: http://tinyurl.com/65zcql8

DEADLINE: February 15, 2011
GENRE: Nonfiction
DETAILS: Professionals, freelancers and aspiring writers are
invited to write articles which describe their experience living
abroad. Often your experience abroad may be extended by working or
studying in the host country, so living, working, and studying
abroad are often inextricable, and we are interested in these
aspects as well. 1000 - 3000 words.  
PRIZE: $500, $150, $100, 
URL:   http://tinyurl.com/2ez54cs

DEADLINE:  February 15, 2011
OPEN TO: US Authors 18+
GENRE: Short Stories
DETAILS: 1 - 2 short stories, maximum 10,000 words. 
PRIZE: $5000, three runners-up prizes of $1,500 and publication on
the Chicago Tribune or on their website.
URL: http://tinyurl.com/6zddo9d

DEADLINE: February 16, 2011
GENRE: Poetry, Nonfiction
DETAILS:  Memoir can be biography, autobiography, autobiographical
fiction, flash memoir, essay, reportage, diary, etc., in either
poetry or prose format. 1-5 poems or one prose piece, maximum
10,000 words. 
PRIZE: $500, $250, $100  
URL: http://memoirjournal.squarespace.com/contest-details/  

DEADLINE: February 28, 2011
GENRE: Books
DETAILS:  From Dumfries to Dundee, Glasgow to Aberdeen and
everywhere in between, we are looking for Scottish children's
novels with a difference. Fantastic fantasies, awesome adventures,
and sensational sci-fi - the Kelpies range of Scottish children's
novels has them all. But we are still looking for more. Do you have
a cracking story, with strong characters and believable dialogue
which children won't be able to put down? Then we want to read it!
Manuscripts must be set wholly, or mainly, in Scotland and
incorporate subject matter to which today's children can relate. 
Manuscripts should be suitable for children aged roughly between
eight and twelve years old. 40,000 - 70,000 words. 
PRIZES:  £2000 and publication
URL: http://www.florisbooks.co.uk/kelpiesprize/enter.html


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NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to
find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com!


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Upon the Breasts of Heaven, by Rick Zabel
A Nose for Hanky Panky, by Sharon Cook
The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals
(Second Edition), By Moira Allen

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just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
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Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

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Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial"at"writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2011 Moira Allen
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For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor