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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 13:02       13,220 subscribers             January 24, 2013
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Do You, Author, Take This Novel... by Moira
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION:  What Do Your Characters Want?  (Part
Two), by Victoria Grossack 
FEATURE: Love Thy Enemy: How Your Competitors Can Help YOU Make
Money, by Devyani Borade 
The Inquiring Writer: Beating Copywriter Burnout, by Dawn Copeman
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
WRITING CONTESTS WITH NO ENTRY FEES                                
The Author's Bookshelf 

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* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.
DON'T GET SCAMMED!  Choose the right Self Publishing Company for
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Do You, Author, Take This Novel....?

It should be fairly evident to anyone who has been following my
editorials that I've been having just the teensiest bit of
difficulty getting to the second draft of my novel.  

I've found this reluctance a bit of a surprise.  While I approached
the first draft with a certain amount of trepidation, the
experience was actually a delight.  I LOVED writing that first
draft.  I don't think I've enjoyed writing task quite so much.  I
couldn't wait to sit down to the computer and begin the next scene.
 And much to my amazement, that first draft actually got FINISHED.

And that's where things came to a screeching halt.  Oh, I said,
I'll just give myself a bit of a break, and come back fresh.  Maybe
a bit longer break.  Maybe a sabbatical.  Maybe a round-the-world
cruise, followed by a lengthy quest for enlightenment at some
remote monastery, and then another cruise...  Suffice it to say
that time has passed, copious amounts of water have flowed under
bridges, and the second draft is no closer to being begun.  

Now we stand on the brink of yet another New Year, with that
first-of-the-year urge to set goals and tackle the important stuff,
and I'm asking myself... why?  What is it about a Second Draft that
makes it such a different, and more intimidating, prospect than the

And then it came to me.  The first draft was romance.  The second
draft is marriage.

The first draft was a dance of delight without commitment.  Put
simply, I could enjoy the relationship without worrying about
whether or not I could actually MAKE IT WORK.  One of the
mind-games I played was the classic "It's a first draft, it doesn't
HAVE to be good."  The words don't have to be right.  The rhythm
doesn't have to be perfect.  Plot holes can be filled in later. 
Research gaps can be noted and attended to in the future.  We're
just having fun together, my novel and I, spending time together
and seeing where it goes without worrying obsessively about whether
it's going "in the right direction."

But now, it's time to ask harder questions.  Tackling a second
draft is not just a stroll in the park.  It's a commitment.  One
can no longer get away with saying, "The little things don't
matter."  In a second draft, they DO matter.  One can't say, "Hey,
I don't have to worry about making it work" -- because making it
work is the whole POINT of a second draft.  

Nor is it just a commitment to "hard work."  If hard work scared us
away from writing, we'd never get anything done.  There are lots of
writing tasks one can undertake that involve every bit as much WORK
as a novel, but nowhere near the amount of commitment.  Because the
commitment isn't just about effort.  It's about emotion.

Writing a novel is, in many ways, a process of embarking upon and
committing to a relationship.  A novel is something you're going to
spend time with -- a LOT of time with.  It's going to consume hours
of your waking life.  Even when you're not working on it, you'll be
thinking about it, worrying about it, perhaps even having
conversations with your characters in your head.  You'll know more
about the lives of your characters than you may know about some of
your own relatives.  When things are going well, you'll wonder if
they're REALLY going well, or if you're just deceiving yourself. 
When they aren't -- well, stock up on the chocolate ice cream!

It is an EMOTIONAL commitment.  It raises doubts, fears, concerns. 
Is this the RIGHT book to commit to?  Is this really something I
want to dedicate the next X months or years of my life to?  Do I
have what it takes to make this work?  What if I DON'T have what it
takes to make it work?

Like any relationship, we come to it with hopes, expectations, and
dreams.  A novel isn't just a certain number of words.  It's words
into which we have invested our hearts -- and we hope that
investment will "pay off."  We want that novel to be a success.  We
want others to read it and fall in love with it, just as we've
fallen in love.  We don't want it to end up on the remainder shelf,
or worse, never make it to the top of the slush pile.  And if the
relationship doesn't "work out," we'll blame ourselves, and perhaps
start to wonder if we have what it takes to make ANY novel work.

In short, a novel has a unique power: It has the power to fulfill
our dreams, or break our hearts.  Mere "work" alone does not have
that power.  Only a relationship has such power.  

So if you are finding yourself shying away from a first draft, or a
second draft, or a third, take heart.  You're not lazy.  You're not
afraid of work.  You're afraid of COMMITMENT -- and everything that
a commitment means.  Deep down, we realize that only by giving that
relationship our all, and holding nothing back, can we truly "make
it work."  It's no small step to take.

But without taking that step, we fail before we begin.  So perhaps,
as we look ahead to a New Year, we need to say more than simply "I
will."  We need to open our hearts, embrace our fears, and say...
"I DO."

-- Moira Allen, Editor

This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained.  (For an author bio and complete
details on reprint terms, please visit 

Link to this article here:


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WRITING A MYSTERY OR CRIME STORY? Forensic Science for Writers: A
Reference Guide can help. Based on a long-running course offered
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For details visit http://forensics4writers.com/the-book


What Do Your Characters Want?  (Part Two) 
How to Use Characters' Goals to Move the Plot 

In the previous column, we considered how characters' different
wants and desires help define their personalities. The more unusual
their desires are, the more interesting the characters. Their wants
and desires can do much more than define them: these goals drive
the plot to breakneck pace and take your story along twisted and
unexpected paths. 

Goal-Driven Plots 
Your hero's main goal can drive the plot by itself; the more
unusual the desire, the more unusual the plot. But the plot
thickens as wants and goals of DIFFERENT characters conflict with
each other, and as their natural relationships are tested. Consider
the following four cases:

CASE A: Allies with Compatible Wants 

If you're writing about a pair of friends with compatible goals,
you have no conflict and no tension, and very little place for the
story to go. In fact, this is often where you want the story to
end. For example, a romance in which the hero and the heroine
finally decide that they love each other, that they plan to live
happily ever after, that they have worked out their differences --
you recognize this is the end of the story, and not the beginning,
don't you? 

Of course, sometimes having allies with mostly compatible wants can
be very useful. They can function together as a team, a fellowship,
or even as hero and a sidekick.

CASE B: Allies with Different Wants 

Your plot thickens when your characters are naturally friendly with
each other but have wants which conflict. Consider a mother and a
daughter who truly love each other. The mother, however, wants her
daughter to stay and marry a local boy, so that her daughter does
not go far from home. The daughter, on the other hand, wants to
spread her wings and explore the world. What will happen? The story
can run in many different ways, usually leading to some personal
growth and insight. Many "coming-of-age" stories have this set-up. 

CASE C: Enemies with Compatible Wants 

A promising set-up is when the characters are natural enemies but
are forced to collaborate by having the same goal. Imagine two
soldiers from opposite sides of a war who are washed up on a desert
island. They have a common goal -- survival -- and perhaps they
need each other. On the other hand, they don't trust each other,
and perhaps one of them will be so swayed by his loyalty to his
army that he tries to kill the other -- despite the danger to

Many stories use this technique. It is rich with possibility, and
the resolution can be complex, as loyalties and prejudices overlap
and conflict. 

CASE D: Enemies with Different Wants 

When you are writing about enemies with opposing goals, you often
get typical good-guys-versus-bad-guys plots. Often the bad guys are
trying to destroy the world, or kill the good guys, or do some
other terrible thing to the good guys. Car chase scenes, shoot-out
scenes, and all sorts of other action scenes are based on this
set-up. They are very exciting -- but they don't lead to much
character development. Have you ever noticed how little
conversation takes place during these scenes? Partly it's because
the characters are running and are too out of breath to say much,
but it is also because the possible depth of the conversation may
be limited. If the good guys and the bad guys are close enough to
speak with each other, their talk may be confined to shouted
insults -- which admittedly can be lots of fun to write! 

Wants Move Scenes Along 
Characters' goals can do more than set up conflict. A character
entering a scene with a goal adds tension to that scene. If
character Keith's main reason for arranging to talk to his boss is
to ask for a raise, your readers will watch eagerly to see if Keith
summons his courage and how his boss will react. Readers, along
with character Keith, will "read" more into every word Keith's boss
utters. Is the boss in a good mood? Is the boss in a bad mood? We
also read more into each time Keith opens his mouth. Will he ask
for the raise? Or will he chicken out? Or will something unexpected

You don't have to answer the question in your scene. You can leave
the reader hanging, by turning the plot in another direction. For
example, assume that you deflect Keith's goal to get paid more by
interjecting the boss's concerns and goals. What if the boss has
something else on his mind? He might be distracted by a sudden
lawsuit, his discovery of his wife's affair, or the fact that he
has just been diagnosed with cancer. Should Keith ask for the raise
or simply offer sympathy? If the boss turns him down, how will he
react? To keep your story going, you can come up either a refusal
or a plot twist, such as, "You can have a raise if you donate a
kidney to me." 

Changing Characters' Wants 
What should happen to the characters and their wants as your story
progresses? Of course, the decision is up to you, the author, but
here are a few suggestions. 

Characters sometimes change want they want -- but this should only
be with reason. The character may be going downhill, maturing, have
new information, new loyalties, whatever. But it should not be
without reason. In order to satisfy readers, generally characters
in fiction have to be more consistent than people in real life. 

At the End 
At the end of the story, your characters' wants are generally
resolved, by one means or another. Not resolving them means leaving
your readers dangling. This may be intentional on your part;
perhaps you want to write a sequel. A very tricky but clever
accomplishment is when you manage to do both: give readers a sense
of satisfaction yet leave open the possibility for more. 

Another point to consider is HOW you resolve your characters'
wants. If you reward the good -- your heroes -- your story will
have a happy end. If you punish the bad characters, you will give
your readers the sense that there is justice in your world
(especially if you punish them in a manner which originates from
their own evil deeds and desires). If you also resolve the wants of
the lesser characters, your readers will close the book with a
sense that at least the fictional world is a well-ordered place,
where no one is forgotten.


Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English
Literature at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and
articles in publications such as Contingencies, Women's World and I
Love Cats. She teaches a variety of writing classes at 
http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/courses.html.  Victoria
Grossack is the co-author of the Tapestry of Bronze series
(Jocasta; Children of Tantalus; The Road to Thebes; Arrow of
Artemis) based on Greek myths and set in the late Bronze Age. 
Besides all this, Victoria is married with kids, and (though
American) spends most of her time in Europe.  Her hobbies include
gardening, hiking and bird-watching.  Visit her website at 
http://www.tapestryofbronze.com, or contact her at tapestry (at)
tapestryofbronze (dot) com.   

Copyright 2013 Victoria Grossack

This article may not be reprinted without the written permission of
the author.

Link to this article here:

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Lulu Makes Changes to Digital Rights Management
If you have self-published books on Lulu or intend to do so, you
need to note that Lulu have now removed the option to apply Adobe
Digital Rights Management (DRM) to all their ebooks.  If you have
set DRM to your books, as of t March 12 they will be listed as
private access and removed from the Lulu Marketplace.  For more on
this story visit: http://www.lulu.com/blog/2013/01/drm-update/

Amazon Children's Publishing Launches Two New Imprints
Amazon has announced it is launching two new imprints as part of
its children's publishing division.  Two Lions will be an imprint
for picture books and fiction for middle grade readers, whilst
Skyscape will publish YA.  For more details on this story visit:

Osprey Publishing Launches Fiction Imprint
Osprey Publishing, a well-known publisher of military history, has
launched a new imprint known as Osprey Adventures will focus on
"the blurred lines where fact and fiction meet."  The first series
to be published by this imprint are Myths and Adventures, then Dark
Osprey, and finally a third, digital-only series for which, at the
moment, no details are available. For more on this story visit:


FEELING PRESSURED TO PRICE A JOB? Follow the 3-step process in
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Writing Jobs and Opportunities
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So I have spent night and day for the last 6 months creating
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It's about 75% finished at the moment and I really need some
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I would like to invite the readers of Writing World to test out
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Please go to www.7write.com right now and submit your email address
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Mainstream and genre fiction


The Book Editing Associates freelance network needs additional copy
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Applicants for these openings must pass our copyediting tests
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Editors work directly with clients and have an independent
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Women, Work, and the Web: How the Web Creates Entrepreneurial

Book Publisher: Scarecrow Press

Seeking chapters of unpublished work from writers in the United 
States and Canada for an anthology. We are interested in such
topics as: Women Founding Companies Existing Only on the Web; Women
Working on the Web With Young Children or Physical Disabilities; Woman's 
Studies Resources and Curriculum Development Webmasters; Women as 
Founding Editors of Webzines and Blogs; Surveys/Interviews of Women 
on the Web.

Chapters of 3,000-4,000 words (up to 3 co-authors) on how the 
Internet has opened doors, leveled the playing field and provided
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Please e-mail two chapter topics each described in two sentences by 
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Please place INTERNET/Last Name on the subject line; if
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Writing After Retirement: Tips by Successful Retired Writers
Book Publisher: Scarecrow Press

An anthology of unpublished 3,000-4,000 word chapters by
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previously following other careers than writing.  Looking for
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Networking, Using Life Experience, Surveys/Interviews on Retired
Writers, Finding Your Niche, Getting Published, Following Dreams
Put on Hold, Privacy and Legal Issues, Working With Editors, Time
Management. With living longer, early retirement, popularity of
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Please e-mail two chapter topics each described in two sentences by 
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FEATURE: Love Thy Enemy: How Your Competitors Can Help YOU 
Make Money
By Devyani Borade

We all can do without competition. Be it for the time of that much
sought after nanny for the children, that plum freelance
assignment, or that exclusive house in the highly desirable and
posh neighbourhood, competition can sour things up pretty rapidly
and thoroughly. As professional writers, we are particularly
vulnerable to competition, which comes not just from our
contemporaries but also from those who are long dead and gone but
have left their lasting mark in the annals of literature.

However, did you know that your competition can actually come to
your aid? Other writers help us writers make money just by being
published. How? Simple -- by providing you with new markets for

Read their biographies and bibliographies
Make it a point to read the bios and publishing credits of any and
all writers that you come across. Most writers mention a few key
markets that their writing has appeared in or will be forthcoming.
Some of these markets may be new to you, and just right for your
genre. Check out the complimentary copies of magazines and
anthologies that you have received to browse through contributors'
pages. These are a veritable mine of information about new markets.

Like all freelance writers, I, too, maintain a personal list of
markets and have added over a thousand new ones simply by employing
this method as frequently as possible. Naturally, the more you
read, write and are published, the more writers you will come
across and the number of new markets will increase exponentially in

Visit their personal websites
Nowadays every writer worth their weight in words has an electronic
or online presence. This is most commonly in the form of a blog, or
in the form of an "official" website. Take a few moments to visit
these. Trawl through their "About" and "Contact" web pages to get
to a list of all the avenues in which they have been published. You
are guaranteed to stumble across new markets on such pages.

As a start, I invite you to visit my own website Verbolatry at
http://devyaniborade.blogspot.com, where I have listed all my
previous publishing credits with hyperlinks to the markets. Each
post is categorised as fiction or nonfiction, along with the genre
it belongs to, e.g., Science Fiction, Drama, Humour, etc. Beneath
each post are original snippets of feedback sourced directly from
editors and publishers, which will give you an idea of their tastes
and the styles they are looking for in their publications. Since
these comments are also from related or unrelated publications, you
can see what other markets are similar or dissimilar to the one
that has published the story.

Exploit their gaps
Writers write about many things. However, there is always a
particular "slant" to the story, an angle from which they are
covering the topic. Read other stories carefully and see if they
trigger thoughts about topics that have NOT been covered by the
published story. Then you can write a piece that touches upon these
overlooked areas of the subject matter and end up creating a brand
new story. You also have a ready-made market, because you know that
a particular magazine has covered the topic in the past and will be
willing to do so again in the near future, especially if the
"slant" is complementary to something they have already published.

For instance, I once read a very short 500-word article on the
topic of manuscript titling. The writer had listed some bullet
points giving examples of how contemporary bestselling authors
usually followed a predictable pattern for naming their books.
CLICK! A bulb seemed to go on inside my head. I began to wonder if
there wasn't more to manuscript titling than the sparse few
sentences written in front of me. Wouldn't it better if the ideas
came from the veritable sources that the writer was quoting, sort
of straight from the horse's mouth? Wouldn't these bestselling
authors themselves have something useful to say on the subject?
Putting my plan into action was, with me, the work of an instant.

Quickly I thrashed out the draft of an article that started with a
mock storyline, and with several examples walked through all the
different ways in which a title could be found for it. Then, with
the help of their official websites and contact information, I got
in touch with several of leading authors and requested them to
comment on the subject. All -- ALL -- of them replied and were only
too happy to express their thoughts. They provided advice, revealed
secret tips and confessed to unusual habits. Et voila! A brand new
article full of concrete methods of titling a manuscript was
created, the voices of the authors lending weight and expertise to
the subject matter and making it stand out of the ordinary. My
article then went on to be snapped up by not one but two magazines,
one of them the very magazine where I had first read the original
piece! In fact, I didn't even to have to make an extra effort to
pitch to that particular editor, because he straightaway realised
that the material in the article was far more valuable than
anything else he had previously published on the subject. 

Embrace their strengths
Study previous stories in your target market and analyse them to
find out what makes them tick. Why would an editor choose this
story over yours? Some talented writers have a very distinct and
individual style or "brand" that becomes an immediate recognition
factor in all their work. Other writers are very versatile and
tailor their writing according to the topic and market. However,
regardless of their modus operandi, every writer who has been
published has at least one strong point to offer that has caused
the editor to select his/her work. These will differ from writer to
writer. Find out what they are and then see if you can incorporate
it in your writing too to strengthen it.

For example, a popular trade magazine recently ran an article about
how to incorporate humour in your work. The article itself was
written in a punchy, fast-paced, light-hearted tone and was a
perfect example of how to 'lead by example.' I observed how the
writer had used hyperboles to exaggerate some situations, how he
had used outrageous similes and metaphors in other scenarios to
emphasise and highlight, and how an unexpected twist at the end of
a sentence jumped out at the reader and served to make the point
memorable. It was no wonder that the editor gave the article a
prominent place in the magazine as the lead feature piece.

Past copyright? Re-write!
When content is past its copyrighted date, it is open to the public
to be (ethically) re-utilised. If you are certain that an old
winner will also work in today's market, see if you can re-write it
in any way -- perhaps as a screenplay, a parody, a poem, or even
make a cartoon illustration out of it! What makes your work unique
to you, despite a "borrowed" idea, is the fact that you infuse it
with your style, your voice, and your own perspective: no one else
sees the world exactly like you do and therefore your point of view
is going to be different and will make all the difference. The old
greats are always open to new interpretation.

So when does copyright expire? Copyright laws are complex and
writers should ensure they know what they are doing to avoid
copyright infringement, which is a crime and punishable by law.
Ignorance is not an excuse.

In general, for literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
copyrights lasts 70 years from the end of the calendar year in
which the author died. If there was more than one author copyright
would last 70 years from the death of the last remaining author.
This is different (25 years) for articles' layout or appearance in
print, and the situation becomes further complicated if a new
edition comes out or a new introduction is added to the work.

[Editor's Note: Do not confuse derivative works, as described here,
with plagiarism.  It's perfectly acceptable, for example, to write
an original piece set in Alice's Wonderland - but it is still an
act of plagiarism to submit a copy of "Alice in Wonderland" to a
publisher under your own name.]

And an extra tip -- check out the "Links" in your own markets
When you receive a new issue of any literary or trade magazine,
there is usually a page devoted to new and established markets that
are open to submissions. Most magazines also have a "Links" or
"Friends" section on their websites that lists some popular and
favourite markets and markets that are similar to their own genre
and style. Voila, more opportunities! The added advantage of such
online listings is that since they are in the form of hyperlinks,
they can be accessed with a single click, so you don't have to
waste time hunting around on Google to get their web addresses.

So the next time you read a story by somebody else, don't be
envious; be canny! Your competition can open newer and broader
vistas for more work, help you win more assignments and make more


Devyani Borade cannot believe she's helping the competition by 
revealing her secret market tricks with this article! Her own
fiction and nonfiction has been published in magazines
internationally, many of which have been discovered from articles
by other writers. Visit her website, Verbolatry, at 
http://devyaniborade.blogspot.com to contact her and read her other

Copyright 2013 Devyani Borade

This article may not be reprinted without the written permission of
the author.

Link to this article here: 

A publishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what
is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks.


The Inquiring Writer: Beating Copywriter Burnout
By Dawn Copeman

How are you all doing?  It's been a long time since I got to write
to you way back in November when it was too early to wish you a
Merry Christmas, and now it's almost too late to wish you a Happy
New Year. But I do hope that you make 2013 your best writing year
ever and that if you have any problems or questions concerning your
writing career, we can answer them here for you in the Inquiring
Writer column.  This column exists, after all, to help our
Writing-World readers to greater success.

Back in November we had a troubling question from Charlotte, who
wrote: "Until recently, I'd say sometime in the past six months, I
had no difficulty in writing.  I am a commercial writer for an
online company and spend my day writing press releases, web pages,
whitepapers, ebooks and manuals. Recently, however, I have noticed
that I am finding it harder to motivate myself to work.  I am still
writing, but the words don't come as easily as they did before. I
have read many of the articles at Writing-World on dealing with
writer's block, but unlike freelancers I cannot switch to a
different genre or activity; I have to produce the words day in,
day out no matter what. It's taking me longer and longer to do my
work; I'm working through lunch and doing unpaid overtime just to
meet my deadlines.  I'm worried I might lose my job unless I can
sort this problem out.  I hope someone out there can help me."

I was, personally, quite concerned about Charlotte's predicament as
it is hard to beat down writer's block when you cannot effectively
take a break from the type of writing that is blocking you.  

Thankfully, a lot of you have come to her rescue, such as Batya
Jacobs, who wrote: "Dear Charlotte, my husband had something quite
similar. He was studying for his law exams when he suddenly ran out
of umph. I helped him over that hump using the narrative therapy
approach. Viz:

"A) Finding out what was stopping the flow. Giving it a name (e.g.
barrier - or whatever seems a good name to you) then think what
'barrier' is stopping you from doing. How is it doing it? Is it
there all the time? What is it telling you to prevent you from
writing how you used to? What does it want from you? What does it
know about you that it is using against you? Is it a good thing or
a bad thing? 

"If there any good aspects to it, could you get those things
without allowing 'barrier' to interfere with your writing? 

"Does Barrier represent any value of yours?

"B) Think about the time when you were writing in the way you
liked. How was that for you? How did you manage that? What skills
did you use to succeed at your writing tasks? How did you learn
those skills? Was there any one you looked up to as a model for
your success? Who wasn't surprised at your success? Were there any
actions, exercises etc. that you did when you were studying that
helped you become more professional?

"C) Perhaps you could give a minute or two to other genres. In your
spare time you might try the odd nonsense poem or essay about a
thought or two.

"You could certainly start writing letters to 'Barrier' asking him
how he's managing to block you etc."

Larry Van Deventer can sympathise entirely with Charlotte and
believes a short vacation might be the cure.  He wrote: "I also
have those times when I cannot seem to find the words.  Words are
the tools used to communicate.  I am not fortunate enough to have a
job such as you have but there are times when I just cannot produce
any more words, so I take a break.  I take a vacation for a time. 
At other times words comes in a flourish like a rushing mighty wind
and I write furiously and become so productive that I amaze myself.
 In antipode to what you find yourself working endlessly, try a
vacation and let the words pile up and then open the door and let
them out."

Katherine Swartz thinks that "Maybe the problem is too much of the
same kind of work for too long. If you can't take a vacation now,
try proposing to your supervisor that you work on a new kind of
project -- say, a blog on a closely-but-not-too-closely-related
topic. Or focus your off hours on getting into a totally different
frame of mind: write poetry or fiction, perhaps. Or, find (or
rediscover) an absorbing and challenging hobby that takes your mind
off writing completely."

Audrey Henderson wrote to say that in her opinion: "It sounds to me
like Charlotte may be suffering from writer's fatigue. 

"That can be a tough problem to tackle.  In my experience trying to
force myself to write only resulted in producing subpar work and
eventually totally burning out. At one point I walked away from
writing completely for more than 10 years. (I had been an active
writer since I was 11 years old.) 

"Charlotte should not allow herself to reach that point.

"She said she cannot switch to a different genre or activity at
work, but can she do so away from the job?  If so, maybe she can
pour some of her creative energies into a different activity, which
might relieve some of the writer's fatigue she is experiencing.  

"Another strategy I would advise is taking a break from writing --
not a 10-year break, but maybe a few days or a week. 

"If she is truly suffering from writer's fatigue, what she needs is

"Does she have vacation time coming -- and somewhere she wants to
go? If not, even small breaks during the day may help.  Instead of
working through lunch, take that lunch hour and have lunch with a
colleague or go to a park or museum.  If she's still not done at
quitting time, she should go home if possible anyway. If she wants,
she can take work with her and do an hour or so (no more) after
she's had a chance to unwind and decompress at home.

"I would also advise Charlotte to disconnect from her work process,
and concentrate on why she is writing a given piece. What audience
is a white paper intended to reach? What information is a reader of
a press release hoping to find?  This approach allows the writing
to be more of a guiding force, rather than Charlotte pouring every
ounce of herself into every word.

"Finally, and this is hard advice to follow, but especially for
someone suffering from writer's fatigue, it is essential: sometimes
good enough is good enough. Of course Charlotte takes pride in her
work, and she wants to produce excellent copy or prose.  But
sometimes, especially under time pressure, the best anyone can do
is to make sure that the essential elements are included and
expressed in a coherent fashion, and let the rest go. 

"This is counterintuitive too, but my guess is that Charlotte will
find that writing begins to come easier, and what she produces will
be good, if not sparkling."

I agree wholeheartedly with Audrey's advice and suggest that
Charlotte remembers that in copywriting there are, if you look for
them, formulas to follow that will take the stress and pressure
off.  Most copywriting follows the same formula for one very good
reason: it works.  

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel or come up with a
staggeringly new approach to a press release, just stick with the
basics.  Use these tools, these formulas to support your writing.  
Use books such as Andy Maslen's "The Copywriting Sourcebook" or
read or re-read the classic "The Copywriter's Handbook" by Bob Bly
-- sometimes just a small refresher course can re-invigorate your
copy and your approach to work.  Or visit Copyblogger and take
their free copywriting course, Copywriting 101, 

Use these formulas, these tips and advice to support your writing
while you re-discover your creative spark. 
Then to inspire you further, think about the reader; try to find
something in your work that sparks your interest and take regular

Finally, stop being so hard on yourself, this will only add to the
pressure and make things worse.  A well-known and successful
copywriter, Nick Usborne, says "It's okay not to be the best at
what you do."  Do your best, give yourself time to rest and heal
and you will still be producing valuable work. 

Style Guide Advice - Extra
Before I move onto this month's question I have a belated note
about writing style guides.  Tom Bentley emailed to say that he has
written style guides for many companies and has produced a free
e-book on how to create style guides, which you can download from
his website: http://www.tombentley.com/

This month, our question comes from Alex, who writes: "I used to be
a freelance writer; that is to say I wrote in my spare time and
enjoyed moderate success submitting articles to magazines on health
and cookery.  However, for one reason or another -- work, family,
moving, I have been out of touch with writing for the past 7 years
and now I want to get back into it again.  I find, however, that
the writing world has moved on incredibly and I now feel quite a
dinosaur.  Even some of the terminology has changed!  I don't even
know where to begin these days -- traditional mail-based queries? 
Do I need an online portfolio? All my clips are paper-based and old
-- will that count against me?  Should I just start again from
scratch or build on what I've already done?  Any help from people
who've returned to writing or editors gratefully received."

Also gratefully received are any and all writing based questions
you might have.  Email your replies to Alex and any questions you
might have to editorial@writing-world.com.

Until next time, 



Copyright Dawn Copeman 2013  
Dawn Copeman is a UK-based freelance writer, copywriter and
ghostwriter who has published over 300 articles on the topics of
travel, cookery, history, health and writing. An experienced
commercial freelancer, Dawn contributed several chapters on
commercial writing to Moira Allen's Starting Your Career as a
Freelance Writer (2nd Edition). She edits the Writing World
newsletter and can be contacted at editorial "at" writing-world.com
and at http://www.linkedin.com/in/dawncopeman 

This article may not be reprinted without the written permission of
the author.

Link to this article here:


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