Monday, December 21, 2015

End of the Year Scramble

Zoom! Did you see 2015 fly by? The year went incredibly fast and with 2016 less than two weeks away, most of us are evaluating the year that was.

I've said many times that I don't set yearly goals or resolutions at the start of each year. I make plans.
Plan your work and work your plan is a much used piece of wisdom at our house. For many writers, planning has to be done around another full-time job or taking care of children. Plans often fall by wayside. When my children were all at home, I used to say I never made plans more than 12 hours in advance.

Before planning for next year, look back and evaluate 2015. Did you write down your goals last year? Did you check them all off or are many of them still outstanding debt toward your plan for the last twelve months?

I confess to a strange love of planners and journals. I love to write by hand and my planner shows it. The past few years, I've purchased The Old Farmer's Almanac Engagement Calendar style planner. Every inch of space gets filled with jotted notes and reminders. I secretly crave a Moleskin Planner just because it's Moleskin but I've never found one that suits my needs. I like the planner to lie flat on my desk so I always get a spiral bound one. But the point is, this is what works for me to keep track of my plans for my novels writing and everything else.

I don't think I would keep up my blog without my planner. Already in my 2016 model, I have notes jotted in April for the A to Z Challenge. I have marked the days for guest posts, for IWSG, for bloghops, and writers' meetings.

I know lots of my friends have digital calendars on their smart devices to remind them of things. Those things work great and are pretty easy to use. But I prefer writing it down. I always seem to remember if I write it down without even having to look at it. And remember, studies show that writing things by hand stimulates the brain more than using an electronic device.


I'm sure that the first IWSG posts on January 6, 2016, will be filled with goals and plans for the coming year. Go for it! Make 2016 your year!

What works best for you to keep track of goals and your plans? Are you a Moleskin lover or think they're just overpriced name-droppers? Are you already thinking of your goals for next year?

And I'll say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with this.

"May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart." Eskimo Proverb

Monday, December 14, 2015

Print Book Formatting Programs - Which One Should You Use?

The ease of self-publishing has lured many writers into publishing their own books. Publishing an EBook is cheap and the formatting and conversion simple. The author’s book can be for sale within minutes of upload.

While it’s a thrill to see one’s book for sale online, nothing beats holding a print book in your hands. There are costs involved though. And many more details, including formatting for print, which is different than formatting for EBook. What are the options?

There are dozens of programs you can purchase or use, including:

InDesign
QuarkXPress
PagePlus X9
CorelDraw X7
Microsoft Publisher
PageFocus Pro
PageStream

Let’s look at cost first. At the high end, we have QuarkXPress, which is $849. to purchase new. (The upgrade is $349.) At the low end, we have InDesign, which is no longer sold as an individual program but rather “rented” from Adobe Cloud for a monthly fee of $20. (Upgrades are included free.)

Most of the programs will come with a learning curve. It takes some instruction reading and playing with the program to figure out how to use it properly.

Many of the programs also come with options to convert the print book into EPub. InDesign, QuarkXPress, and PagePlus all have this feature.

It also depends on whether you have a PC or a Mac. A few are not available for the Mac.

And of course, you have to consider the ease of inserting tables, graphics, images, and other extras you want to include in your book. From those listed, PageFocus Pro and PageStream are more limited.

Top Ten Reviews offers an excellent comparison of the ten best print book formatting programs available. InDesign, the program most traditional publishers use, scores perfect in every category.

You’ll notice one program that many authors use that’s not listed here or there - Microsoft Word. While fine for formatting EBooks, it was never intended to format print books and the results are often amateurish. For a professional look, avoid using Word.

If formatting your own book seems like a monument us task, you can always hire someone to format it for you. We have many listed on the Self-Publishing page here and several of our IWSG members format print books. (Myself included.)

But if you’re ready to tackle formatting yourself, do your research and get the program that best suits your needs. Because hopefully, you’ll be using it for years to come.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Second Draft by Jessica P. Morrell


The Much-Needed, but Sometimes Dreaded Second Draft
Jessica P. Morrell
I don’t write easily or rapidly. My first draft usually has only a few elements worth keeping. I have to find what those are and build from them and throw out what doesn’t work, or what simply is not alive.” — Susan Sontag

Jessica P. Morrell
This column is especially meant for those plucky souls who have recently survived November’s hellacious, glutton-for-punishment and yet exhilarating challenge—NaNoWriMo or National Writing Month. But then every writer faces a second draft. And a third….and we could keep counting here, but let’s focus on the second one of a book-length story or memoir. Because you’re in for a deep rewrite along with analyzing, musing, and asking a lot of questions of yourself. 

Your second draft focuses on larger issues, consistency problems if the plot hangs together and the architecture makes sense. A lot of second draft fixes solve structure problems; fix places that needs bolstering or sections that need to be eliminated or relocated. You’re also judging plausibility and motivations. You’ll be making your major revisions at this point, deciding whether you need to change the beginning, ending, or viewpoint. This means you’re searching for scenes that don’t accomplish much, big plot holes, unanswered questions, and wimpy stakes. You’ll make certain your key events occur in the right order. And remain open to change: would allowing for some unplanned, newly-inspired twist transform or deepen the story even if it’s different from your original plan?

Start with a plan. Your first trick is to achieve psychic and emotional distance. Stephen King’s advises letting the manuscript cool for a few months, but for most writers that cooling off period can turn into a deep freeze and you might opt to avoid the hard work needed. A few weeks helps just fine, especially if you’re on a deadline. No matter your timeframe, print it all out in a different typeface than the one you wrote it in. Many mistakes you won’t notice by reading it on a computer screen will become apparent because you’ll be habituated to ignore them.

Next schedule a solid bock to time for reading, note taking, and heavy analysis. It’s best to undertake this in a different place than where the story was written, thus adding even more editorial distance. It’s also helpful to work in a location where you can take long walks while you ponder whether your story is working or needs a major overhaul. I suggest an ocean view or lakeside cottage or mountain hideaway, but that’s just me.  Plan to use a lot of colored ink and highlight sections that need moving or trimming.

Create a story bible if you haven’t already done so. Your bible ensures consistency and connectedness— what this reading and rewrite should achieve.   You might want to list all the scenes in the story along with the change that takes place in each scene. Scenes require change and then fallout. You might want to title your scenes.  Note their time and location, the characters involved and their ranking, their main physical and psychological traits. If it’s a complex story with a sprawling cast, design a family tree or a web of connections.

How do your protagonist’s goals and motivations deepen throughout the story?  After Act 1 often the protagonist’s goals will change, become more personal. A search for a missing person uncovers a human trafficking scheme. And then someone in the protagonist’s family becomes endangered by these heartless criminals.  Perhaps at the end your characters want something far different from what they fought for in the opening. Perhaps he or she is seeing the world with new eyes. Stories where the characters’ priorities and worldview evolve are powerful. Stories where they don’t can seem predictable.

Pay attention to events or motives that are never explained or spelled out as if you’re whispering stage directions to the reader. Note if there are too many dangling subplots or simply too many subplots. Often this draft will be loose and sketchy, lacking in the narrative flow and glue that holds a piece together. Or, it might be written in summary, thus the intimate details and moments that bring the story to life will be missing. This means you’ll be replacing summary with scenes. Notice if the viewpoint is consistent, or if head-hopping is going on. Determine if your story contains surprises, intrigue, and forward momentum
.  
Make certain that you need the first chapter or scene. Many stories are strengthened by a beheading because they start far before the first crucial actions. Generally backstory isn’t needed in Act 1. If it’s a thriller you need to start with a crisis or disaster, not a tour of the CIA headquarters. It it’s a love story, collide the lovers as early as possible.

Checklist for the First Revision:

·         A good story begins with turbulence or a threat. Has your ‘ordinary world’ been introduced and does this intro include tension, something amiss before the trouble starts?

·         Do your main characters have a physical presence on the page? Have you added to their presence as the story proceeds?  Is the whole visual enough?

·         Have you identified your protagonist’s inner conflict?

·         How about your midpoint? Is it a game changer? Did the story take your readers in a direction they couldn’t have predicted? If so, does the inner logic hold up?

·         Can readers understand where scenes are taking place and the timeframe for the scene? Do you need transitions to bridge events? Is your timeline consistent?

·         Is the story question and main subplot clearly resolved?
  • Are most scenes built from obstacles?
  • Can a scene be cut without affecting the main story?
  • Does each action cause more actions and reactions?
  • Evaluate the order of your scenes—is this the right time to include this action or should it wait?
  • Do you need to add twists and complications if it bogs down, especially in the middle?
  • Is description dispersed in small increments throughout and  via a character’s viewpoint?
  • Do you need to add flashbacks so the characters’ motivations and goals make sense?
  • Do the flashbacks contain action or mostly summary?
  • Do you need to strengthen or add subplots? Or cut some because the story is wandering too far afield?
  • Have you created a plausible tie-in or between the main plot storyline and the main subplot?
  • Are you noticing that a lot of the pages have the same emotions, tone and mood? If so, how can you mix it up?
If you find major problems, don’t panic. Instead create careful notes as if you were an editor addressing a client. Chances are at this point you might need to expand or cut backstory, deepen main characters, cut or combine secondary characters, expand or cut subplots, reorder the scenes to heighten the tension, beef up the middle so that it contains a potent twist, and refine the ending so it truly concludes the plot.  I repeat, don’t panic.

Thanks to Jessica for guesting again. Please check out Jessica's website for even more terrific writing advice and help. I can personally recommend her books as they're sitting on my shelf. Thanks, But This Isn't For Us can be purchased on Amazon.
Do you dread the second draft? Did one thing on her checklist really click with you?



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post Day!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Our awesome co-hosts today are Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!

Thanks again to everyone who entered the IWSG Anthology Contest! There were some amazing stories in the thirty-plus submissions. Only ten will go into the book, though. Be watching January 6, 2016 when we announce the winners.

Be sure to say a special thanks to the admins who keep this site and the Facebook Group going strong:
Lynda Young, Michelle Wallace, Susan Gourley/Kelley, L. Diane Wolfe, Joy Campbell, and Joylene Nowell Butler.

We’ve got some great stuff in store for next year, including more top-notch guests and another contest. As always, we are here to serve you. Is there a specific area where you need help or a topic that we can cover to make your journey easier?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Virtual Tea With LaShaunda Hoffman

Last week's guest, LaShaunda Hoffman graciously donated a 30-minute virtual tea session with one commenter. That person will have the opportunity to discuss their promotional challenges, as well as promotion strategies with LaShaunda.

I'm happy to announce that the winner is Robyn Campbell!

Congrats, Robyn! Be sure to contact LaShaunda at one of the links below.

Don't forget this Wednesday is IWSG post day!


LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the owner of Hoffman Content LLC.  This summer she published her first book – Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time.  She’s the publisher of award winning Shades Of Romance Digital Literary Magazine, and also has a coaching business, Virtual Tea With LaShaunda, where she teaches writers and businesses about using online promotion to reach their clients. 

Catch her online:  lchwriter@gmail.com
SORMAG - 
http://sormag.blogspot.com
See Ya On The Net, her personal site - h
ttp://lashaundahoffman.com
Facebook -
facebook.com/lashaunda.hoffman
Twitter – @lashaundaH or the new platform
Periscope @sormag where she’s scoping about book promotion.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mailing List Promotion

Today, we welcome literary advocate, LaShaunda Hoffman who will provide us with tips for promoting via your mailing list.

The number one goal for a writer is to build your readership.  Most writers make the mistake of waiting until their book releases to start building their readership, that’s too late.

I recommend to my clients that they start building their readership as soon they start writing the book.  If you have a website or blog you can start building your readership as you write your book.  Most readers are excited to know that you have a new book coming out and probably will sign up for your mailing list just to keep in touch.

You can offer them a small excerpt of your book or maybe create a short story just for your mailing list to get them to join.   Your main focus during your writing time is to get as many people as you can to join your mailing list.  As I tell my clients its one reader at a time so don't get upset if no one joins at the beginning, the readers will join over time as you write.  When your book is ready for publication, you will have a nice size list to promote to.

Remember I said most writers wait until the book comes out before starting their mailing list, now they have no one to promote to.  They have to start from scratch.  You will be different because if you get 10 readers a month, imagine how many you will have by the time your book hits the shelves.

Below is an excerpt of my book Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time.  It's all about learning how to build your readership with step-by-step plans on different things to do to get in front of more readers.

HOW TO USE YOUR MAILING LIST FOR PROMOTION 

I use my mailing list to introduce readers to writers by sending out eblasts and newsletters. You can do the same thing.

1. You can create and send out an eblast to introduce your new book.
2. You can create a monthly newsletter.
3. You can create eblasts for monthly sales.
4. You can host contests.
5. You can host workshops.

LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the owner of Hoffman Content LLC.  This summer she published her first book – Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time.  She’s the publisher of award winning Shades Of Romance Digital Literary Magazine, and also has a coaching business, Virtual Tea With LaShaunda, where she teaches writers and businesse
s about using online promotion to reach their clients.

Catch her online:  lchwriter@gmail.com
SORMAG - http://sormag.blogspot.com
See Ya On The Net, her personal site - http://lashaundahoffman.com
Facebook -facebook.com/lashaunda.hoffman
Twitter – @lashaundaH or the new platform
Periscope @sormag where she’s scoping about book promotion.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Answer to Everything

There isn't another person on this planet who understands what it's like to walk in your shoes. And vice versa. Each of us are unique beings who may feel out of sorts more days than we care to count. We flood our minds with doubts, negative talk, and questions we never seem to find the answers to.

What if I told you I know the answer to every single question in the world?

Bet that would grab your attention. Why? Because,  like everyone else in the world, we want to know:

Why am I here?
Why am I alone?
Why aren't I handsome or beautiful?
Why aren't I rich and successful?
Why did s/he reject me?
Why aren't I happy?
Why did this awful [thing] happen to me?

Why can't I land an agent?
Why can't I sign with a publisher?
Why isn't my book on the best sellers list?
Why are my book sales stagnant?

Why am I a failure?


The next time you hear anything even remotely similar to any of the above, ask yourself one question. Pay particular attention to the first answer that comes to mind.

What would someone who loves themselves say?






Monday, November 9, 2015

Our Author Newsletter



By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
The importance of our author newsletter is reiterated by everyone from Joanna Penn to Mark Dawson. This is because our list of subscribers is something authors own. If Facebook or Twitter were to close down tomorrow, we’d lose our followers there—but we’d still have our newsletter.
Readers who sign up for our newsletter tend to be the most interested in our work. These are the readers we want to alert to our new releases since they’ll purchase and review the books early, leading to better visibility on retail sites like Amazon.
It took me a long time to finally put together a newsletter. I think part of the reason I was a slow adopter is because I already felt as though I were behind. If only I’d started years ago! But it’s never too late to start putting a list together and have it start working for you.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’re first going to want to find an email newsletter service to handle subscriptions for you. I use MailChimp, which is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. For more information about setting up a newsletter and for the different services available, industry expert Jane Friedman has great advice in her post “Email Newsletters for Authors: Get Started Guide.”
You can make your newsletter signup pitch more visually appealing by encasing it in an image. Image creation is easy with a free tool like Canva.  Create an image (I used a simple one with a book cover and my picture and a bit of text) and then hyperlink the entire image to your newsletter signup page (here’s how to find your signup form link on MailChimp).
Do you need more newsletter subscribers?  Consider giving away a free book to anyone who signs up for your newsletter. You could offer to give away Amazon gift cards, coffee mugs with your cover on them, etc.
Are you linking to your newsletter signup in your email signature? On your blog?  In the front/back of your books?  On your Amazon/Nook/Smashwords/Wattpad/Goodreads bios?  On your Facebook profile?  Linking to the signup at reader-facing sites and in our email signature is a non-pushy way to get more subscribers.
My readers seem to appreciate a personal tone in my newsletters.  I include recipes at the end, a popular feature for cozy mystery readers. But aside from a personal touch and the recipes, they especially want to be updated on my book progress and any new releases. You can experiment with your newsletter content and its frequency, adjusting it for your genre and readers and what their interests are.
Do you have an author newsletter? What are your thoughts on service providers and frequency of contact with our readers?
Elizabeth writes the Southern Quilting mysteries and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine WritersKB.com and blogs at elizabethspanncraig/blog. Elizabeth makes her home in Matthews, North Carolina, with her husband and two teenage children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post Day, Anthologies, and Short Stories!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Our awesome co-hosts today are Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson!

The submission deadline for our anthology contest came and went this past Sunday, November 1. And we had a lot of great submissions! The admins are busy reading and sorting at the moment, and the top stories will be passed on to our judges mid-November:

Laura Maisano - Senior editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian fiction
Russell Connor – Author and owner of Dark Filament Publishing Startup
Candace Havens – Editorial Director for the Covet, Select, Select Otherworld, Select Historical, Embrace, Indulgence for Entangled Publishing. She is also a nationally syndicated columnist and award-winning and best-selling author.
Dawn Frederick – Literary agent and the founder of Red Sofa Literary
Alice Speilburg – Founder of the Speilburg Literary Agency
Michelle Johnson – Literary agent and the founder of Inklings Literary Agency
Kendare Blake - Author
Lydia Mo√ęd - Associate agent at The Rights Factory

The top ten stories will go into a royalty-paying anthology due for release next year.

Short stories are a great way to break into the publishing industry. In addition to anthologies, there are magazines, online periodicals, websites, and journalism opportunities. Some writers even make a career out of writing short stories.

The anthology contest is something we hope to repeat year after year, with a different theme each time. So, if you didn’t submit or make the cut this time, there is always next year.

Thanks to all of our members who submitted and/or helped spread the word. You guys rock!

Monday, November 2, 2015

5 Steps to Deal with Writer’s Block

Some authors claim there’s no such thing as writer’s block. They say with conviction in their heart that all you have to do is write through it and it’s gone. I’ll tell you now, for me writer’s block is real. It’s usually born from a deeper root than simply being unable to come up with a fresh idea, or imagine the characters with enough clarity to make them sing on the page. Writer’s block is born from that deep dark place we don’t like to talk about—the dark alley of our minds where Courage is cornered by Fear and Doubt, along with Stress, Boredom, Frustration, and Pressure.

Let’s look at the first bad guy: Fear. On his own, Fear isn’t so bad. We need Fear to keep us from growing complacent, to push us to do better, and not settle for “close enough.” Fear keeps the adrenaline flowing. But Fear is the father of Doubt. Put them together and they turn into a nasty pair. Together they put us through no end of self-torture. They slow us down, make us second guess ourselves, or push us to pull away from taking the risky route of trying something new. And that’s just the start. Fear and Doubt are ringleaders. They call in a gang of other distastefuls and use their powers to keep us from writing.

Without understanding what these guys are up to, we might try to push through the wall that’s blocking us, only to earn a sore shoulder and a broken spirit.

So how can we deal with Fear and Doubt and the rest of the gang when they pounce? Unfortunately there’s no one, easy solution, no snap of the fingers and they’re gone. It takes recognition of what’s happening, a desire to change what’s happening, and then the strength to take action.

And the action we need to take? I’ve found the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to follow these steps:

1. Nurture a realistic perspective on your writing. Fanciful thoughts about our writing have a tendency to sweep us away. For example, my first draft will be gold, I should be earning good money by now, the first novel I ever write is going to become a world famous bestseller. These unrealistic thoughts inevitably lead to giving the Fear Gang an invitation to come visit. Success and satisfaction through writing come through practice, hard work, time, and more writing with lots of frustration and joy along the way.

2. Be aware of your surroundings. Be on guard for the nasties lurking in the shadows so when they pounce—and they will pounce because that’s part of being a creative person—you can stand tall and defend yourself. In other words, know what’s “normal” in your writing life. You will experience ups and downs, moments of inspiration and times when ideas are sparse, but that’s okay. That’s normal for any writer so there’s no need to flail yourself over a perceived failure. Sometimes life will get in the way of writing, and that’s okay too. We write about life, even when we write about other worlds, so even those unavoidable distractions can be used to generate more ideas for writing.

3. Make eye contact. Remember the bad guys are cowards because they only attack when you’re at your weakest. So when you do get jumped, don’t react like a victim. Don’t think your writing career is over. Make eye contact and show you know who the attackers are and you aren’t afraid of them. Do this, and there’s less chance of getting backed into an inescapable corner.

4. Run for help. There’s no substitute for an understanding friend, or a supportive group who know exactly what you’re going through. There’s no reason to suffer or struggle alone. Speak up. We’ve all experienced it.

5. Keep writing. Even if you have five minutes for writing, even if you can only scratch out a single sentence. All writing is beneficial. None of it is wasted effort. Even the ugly stuff we’ll never show anyone. Just keep writing and don’t give up. Remember, you started on this journey for a reason. Don’t let the nasties stop you.

What are the things that stop you from writing? What do you do when you encounter a lack of inspiration or desire to write?

Lynda R Young

Monday, October 26, 2015

On Becoming... A Freelance Writer For MTV by Jocelyn Rish

I recently started writing about YA books for the MTV News website, and Michelle kindly invited me to talk about the experience at IWSG, which is perfect because my insecurities almost kept me from getting the freelancing gig.

When I first saw the listing, it sounded so awesome, but that tiny voice in my head immediately convinced me to forget about it. It reminded me I had no experience as a freelancer. I didn’t know enough about YA books to put myself out there as an expert. They’d never hire me anyway so why bother.

And stupid me listened to that voice and decided not to apply.

But for the next two days, I couldn’t stop thinking about the job: ideas for my application, ideas for articles, picturing myself with a byline on the MTV website.

But as I’d get pumped up about it, that tiny, nasty voice would intrude again, and I’d let insecurity and doubt take over and shove the idea to the back of my mind.

But the itch for the job refused to completely go away.

So I finally said, “Screw you, tiny voice! I don’t have anything to lose by trying!”

If you’d like to read more about the application process and even see the gif-tastic application that landed me the job, click here.
 
I couldn’t believe it when I got the email telling me I was hired. I was so thrilled I even teared up a little.

But of course those excited feelings only lasted a little while before doubt crept back into my brain. Oh no, I had fooled them into hiring me. Now I was going to be a complete disaster and embarrass myself. And not just on a small scale, but on a HUGE platform with tons of people reading.

It didn’t help allay my fears that my editor didn’t like any of my first fourteen pitches.

The way it works is that I come up with ideas for articles and send my editor a potential title and a sentence or two describing what the article would be about. If he likes the pitch, he gives me a due date. Unfortunately, I wasn’t getting anything approved and became convinced the whole thing was a mistake and that I should quit.

But I shared my fears with a group of awesome friends, and they helped calm me down. Together we went through past articles on the MTV website, and they helped me brainstorm new ideas. I picked four of them, fleshed them out, and sent them to my editor, and he approved three of them. Whoohoo - I finally had my first stories to write!

And once again, the elation only lasted a short time before the paralyzing fear of actually writing a story for MTV hit with a vengeance. But I was also determined to do a good job, so I ignored those fears and got to work.

My first story was about Nancy Drew, and even though I had read a ton of the books when I was young, I didn’t remember a lot about them. So I got to googling. I found out all kinds of stuff I never knew about Nancy and her legacy, which was a cool bonus.

Once I wrote the article, I started looking for gifs. I’d never done much with gifs before, but they are a big part of MTV articles, so I’ve been learning a lot on the fly. But the gif hunt (or making my own gifs) has turned out to be a lot of fun – pretty much my favorite part of putting these articles together.

I was so nervous when I emailed my first article to my editor - I even felt a tad nauseous as I pressed Send. But he loved it and said it was a lot of fun. Whew! And then once it was published on the site, it did well and got a lot of shares. Double whew!

With a successful article under my belt, I had a lot of confidence going into the next ones. That nagging, doubting voice still rears its head occasionally when pitches get rejected or the writing feels boring and flat, but I press forward anyway. That’s the key for me: I can’t stop the voice of insecurity, but I can try to prove it wrong. And because I eventually managed to dismiss what the voice had to say about applying for the job, I’m having a ton of fun writing these articles, and it’s a complete thrill seeing my name on the MTV website and knowing so many people are reading my words.

Here are two of my articles if you’re interested:
13 Reasons Nancy Drew Is A Kick-Ass 85-Year-Old Teen http://www.mtv.com/news/2259420/nancy-drew-awesome-teen/
The Brooding YA Bad Boy Of Your Dreams Finally Opens Up http://www.mtv.com/news/2289546/brooding-ya-hero-opens-up/

I haven’t been doing this long enough to feel qualified to give advice, but I will say if you decide to freelance, make sure you’re organized. I have a spreadsheet where I track article deadlines, when I turn them in, whether I’ve included them in a timesheet, and when I get paid for them. Otherwise, I’d be a complete mess.

I had never considered freelancing before this opportunity came along, but I know there are a ton of resources out there for finding freelance jobs. So if you think you’d be interested in freelancing, GO FOR IT! Don’t let that tiny voice that likes to be so negative talk you out of it.

You have nothing to lose by trying, and you might end up with a very cool job!