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Friday Finds for Writers

Treasure Chest
Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend.

  • Daniel Mendelsohn and Anna Holmes take up the question, “When It Comes to Fiction on National Tragedy, How Soon Is Too Soon?” – a question, that, as you may recall, hits close to home.
  • Insights from Dorothy Allison, Cathy Day, and Christi Craig on “Writing About Place.”
  • Writers writing about money (or the lack thereof).
  • An inspiring set of “Summer-Inspired Writing Prompts” from Anca Szilagyi, on the Ploughshares blog.
  • Since I had the chance to meet novelist Robin Black this week, today seems to be an appropriate time to share her recent essay about the evolution of her writerly identity.
  • Have a good weekend, everyone.

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    Friday Finds for Writers

    Treasure ChestWriting-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend.

  • Bonnie Tsui describes what happened when she “accepted a friend’s offer to share an office at a longtime writers’ collective and began writing in the company of others a few days a week.”
  • Speaking of writers in the company of others: Take a listen to this graduating speech delivered by Sophronia Scott at the most recent commencement ceremony of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program.
  • How to Create, Publish, and Market an Anthology (and why you’d want to)”–thanks to @JaneFriedman for leading me to this one.
  • Lovely post by Ellen Meeropol on her favorite reads in 2014 (so far).
  • The New Yorker is overhauling its website and making all the articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers.”
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    Monday Markets for Writers

    dollar-sign-mdMonday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction). Continue reading ›

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    Wednesday’s WiP: My “Success Story”–and Quite Possibly Yours

    If you follow the “Monday Markets” posts here, you know that I recently shared another call from WritersWeekly.com for “Success Stories.” As indicated in the guidelines, these particular “freelance success stories should, through your personal story, offer advice to other writers on how they, too, can succeed. Please note we do not publish ‘one-shot’ success stories – meaning we don’t publish stories on how a writer sold one story to one publication. We prefer to focus on actions the writer took to become a successful freelancer or a successful author. Please note that we do not publish success stories that detail the writer writing for free.” For a 300-word piece that involves minimal (if any) research, a writer is paid $40.

    When I saw the most recent call for success stories, I’d just sold a piece that seemed to me to fit within a pattern that has emerged in my writing practice. A little bit of thinking and a little bit of writing later, I had a new success story to submit.

    Here’s the text of that article, “Converting Coursework into (Publishing) Credits–and Cash,” which was published last week.

    Each year about this time, a new set of graduates with fresh, new academic degrees embarks on post-academic life. Especially among those who majored in a humanities field, or who earned advanced degrees in creative writing or literature, the road to graduation was likely paved with plenty of course papers and presentations. I’m not sure how many new graduates (or, for that matter, those with degrees earned in years past) realize that this work needn’t simply gather dust – literal or virtual. Sometimes, it can be transformed for publication and payment.

    I’ve had good luck converting coursework (and the occasional academic or professional conference paper) into an article or essay for another audience. My earliest such success came more than a decade ago, when, with an editor’s help, I adapted a paper that I’d written for a literature class some years earlier for publication by an online magazine. (Neither the magazine nor even the adjective “online” had existed back when I took the class.)

    As an MFA student, I knew I was on to something with a short seminar paper I’d written; a print publication bought an expanded version. Then, I received acceptance letters and paychecks for two articles that originated as academic conference presentations. Most recently, an editor has offered to purchase and publish the text of remarks that I delivered at a writing conference in Boston in early May. That piece should be out later this summer.

    So before you relegate the fruits of your academic labor to the past, consider polishing a piece or two. If you’ve written with style as well as substance, with vitality and voice notwithstanding “academic” writing’s unfortunate reputation for deadly dullness, the work may well serve a new – and profitable – purpose.

    Now I’ll add a list of (paying) publications that seem to me particularly prime possibilities for work that may originate as an MFA course paper or a conference presentation. Continue reading ›

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    Sunday Sentence


    In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

    Eventually a poem was accepted by Poetry (Submission No. 179) and then The New Yorker (Submission No. 240), and that changed everything.

    Source: Jesse Lichtenstein, “The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas” (profile of Patricia Lockwood), The New York Times Magazine.

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