The Wheels Are Turning

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

It is easy to get lulled into the belief that writing is writing is writing. Today, I was reminded that is not necessarily the case.

Researching articles for news writing is a different ballgame than researching for magazine articles. True, some of the basics are the same, but the process itself is different. You have to ask different questions of yourself and of your sources for news writing (reporting) than you do for magazine writing.

This is not a complaint. It is a statement of what is.

I also realized the power of flattery in getting a potential source to be more amenable to meeting for an interview. This was an unexpected realization. Yes, I know people like to be complemented, but I underestimated how valuable a tool it could be.

For example, a potential interviewee seemed rather reluctant to agree to talk to me. Then I mentioned the research I have already done on his work and how I think it looks like A Very Good Thing.


He asked when I wanted to meet for the interview.

I think flattery is probably a tool that is best used sparingly, otherwise it could seem insincere. I think, too, though, that it is a valuable tool and should not be ignored.

When it comes to the actual writing, I am having to retrain myself about such things as when to abbreviate and when to use the full word/term and whether or not to use the Oxford comma.

Yes. The wheels are turning. And I swear I can feel the rust of unuse falling off as they move.

The Best-Laid Plans

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Used under a Creative Commons license.

Sometimes plans change and drive us nuts. Other times, they change and we know it will be so much for the better.

This is one of those times. The better one, that is. Though I have no doubt it will drive me nuts sometimes, too. (That’s easy to do when you’re already more than halfway there.)

A few weeks ago, I had applied for a job I really wanted. Then I went to Eureka Springs for two weeks. I thought I’d get the call for an interview while I was gone. Instead, the call came two days after I got back.

I went to the interview and it went great. To fast forward a little bit, I didn’t get the full-time job I wanted. Instead, I got offered a long-term contract position.

That will actually work out for the better. And it will also allow me to pursue other ideas and personal projects I thought of while I was in Eureka Springs.

Yes, plans changed, but so much for the better. I’m excited about the possibilities. I’ll keep you posted on how this all goes.


Conference Session Handouts

Photo (c) 2013 Joyce Nipps
Photo (c) 2013 Joyce Nipps

As promised, here are the two handouts I provided during my session at the Ozark Creative Writers’ conference earlier this month.

The first includes a list of places you can get your business cards, brochures, etc. The second is an article listing seven networking opportunities for freelancers.

There’s a bonus for you, too.

I had typed the real-world applications section of the session. I’ve converted that to a PDF as well and loaded that for you here also.

(Yes, there is a typo in the title of the 7 Networking Opportunities for Writers. It’s only in the link and would result in a broken link if I were to fix it now.)

7 Netowrking Opportunities for Freelancers
Networking handout
networking speech

I hope you can get some benefit from them. Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions. My email address is in both the Networking handout and networking speech.

The Hurrieder I Go, the Behinder I Get

I got home from Eureka Springs last Sunday. Yes. It will be a week tomorrow. I had a couple hours of rest on Sunday, and then I hit it running after that. It has been a combination of things I planned, things I didn’t plan, and even some things that were unexpected, but it has all been good.

It has given me one excuse after another not to blog, though.

I keep planning to post some highlights from my session at the conference. Due to operator error (mine, not my friend who I asked to push the button), my session was not recorded. I didn’t set the camera up properly.

Here’s what I’m going to do instead. I will convert my handouts to PDF files tomorrow morning and post them here.

In the meantime, what am I going to do to combat forgetting to blog? I’m going to go back to writing things down. No, I haven’t gotten away from that, but I haven’t written down my blog schedule for the rest of the month either. That will happen tomorrow.

3 Tips for Reading at an Open Mic

microphoneHave you ever gone to a conference and attended any pre-conference events, such as an open mic where you can read from a selection of your own work? The prospect is both exciting and terrifying. You don’t like to speak in public, but… you want to read something.

What do you do?

First of all, don’t panic. Here are some tips to help you successfully make it through an open mic reading.

  1. This isn’t a competition. An audience at an open mic is friendly and supportive. They want to hear what you have to read and they want you to do well.
  2. Don’t apologize.
    I don’t know when it became a trend to apologize for a work not being completely finished or for not being “as good as” someone else, but it is a trend that needs to stop. Don’t apologize for your work. Don’t apologize if you stumble over words because you’re nervous. Again, remember the people attending an open mic want you to do well. They will forgive you for things you think are unforgivable. There is no such thing as “unforgivable.”
  3. Have fun.
    The idea of open mics at pre-conference gatherings is to get to know your fellow conference-goers. No one expects a professional-level reading. You are there to network, learn, and have fun. This all starts at the open mic.

I can’t promise that these tips will completely get rid of your nervousness when you step up to the mic, but they will help. If you were to follow one tip at the exclusion of the others, that would be “have fun.” If you do that, the other two are pretty much moot.