Saturday, March 28, 2009

Writing For Money

A magazine has decided to give my writing a test run and I have no idea what to write about. They're looking for a piece that is between 500 and 1,500 in word count and talks to one of the following topics. Faith. Health. Leadership. Relationships. Success. Teamwork. Wealth. Seems like it would be a no-brainer for me huh? Those topics are the very ones that this blog centers around. Seems as if I can write about some of these things in my sleep. This time though, I feel like I have nothing to say. However, even though I have nothing to say, my tactic (for when I do decide that I have something to say) is to keep it raw and honest. I've learned that when I let my heart beam from the page, it's always well taken. I have until the 25th to turn it in so I'm not really stressing right now, but I sort of would like to begin brainstorming. I wonder though. What would be more effective? Brainstorming and outlining an article or writing free off the dome like I normally do. Which one will stand out more? The intelligent thought-out article or the free passion-willed article? Gotta think about this one.


MJ said...

Some subjects lend themselves to research... For instance, health is something that we read into for sound advise. Other subjects are best stated as your open honest opinions, through which you are able to persuade others to see things your way. Either way, I'm sure you will do great with this assignment.

Lionel said...

First of all, congratulations on landing this assignment. I studied creative writing in college and was a full-time journalist for a few years, but before I took that plunge I made a lot of friends read a lot of my writing. It's very exciting moving from writing for yourself and people you know to an audience of potentially hundreds or thousands.

The first thing I would do is pay close attention to the style and format of the publication you're writing for and the section of the publication where your work might appear. Reading several examples of what usually runs in that spot can clue you in to what it is the editors want. What angle do writers take on broad or controversial topics? How long are the paragraphs? Is the writing quick and fluid or more detailed and thoughtful? Is the tendency to tell stories or present factual information?

Find out which style guide they use. The style guide lays out how the publication approaches everything from the use of commas to the colloquialisms and abbreviations they will and will not accept. Associated Press and Chicago are two big ones. Some publications adopt one but make a few of their own modifications.

As for whether or not you start with an outline or just let it rip, I'd say do whatever moves you, but don't be afraid to write, re-write, and write again. This was the most surprising part of my move from recreational to professional writer, how draft after draft can help you narrow in on perfection. Sometimes the sole purpose of my first draft is to get all the information I've accumulated out of my head and onto paper. That's it. Only then can I begin to understand what the story wants to be, and even for a very short piece, it could take three or four more takes before I get it there.

Good luck, and have fun.

MysTery said...

Yay!!! Pray about it girl and be open. God will give it to you.

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