Sunday, April 3, 2011

Confusion Abounds

If you read newsletters with advice for writers, it probably won't be long before you get confused. I know it wasn't long before it happened to me. But it wasn't immediate; it waited for me to get comfortable with getting hints and information from this source.

I don't read a lot of newsletters. I receive two weekly newsletters from one editor/writer, and two monthly newsletters from agencies. I've considered subscribing to more, but it takes time to read these carefully, pick out the pieces I want to remember and discard the rest. While I read the newsletters in hopes of becoming a better writer, they take time away from the actual writing. I could wind up spending all my time reading, and not writing. So I decided to limit my subscriptions.

Even so, I have to pick and choose what I pay attention to in those newsletters. Consider the newsletters from one source and you'll see what I mean. Perhaps early in November, the editor told her readers not to bother with writing for word mills; the pay was so horrible, it simply wasn't worth your time. And then a few weeks later, that same newsletter had an article written by someone who has written that type of article for three or four years and thinks it's a great idea. I appreciate the editor's willingness to look at both sides of a question, but I'm left trying to figure out what to do. Should I look at writing for these sites, or not?

Over the years, I've learned that every writer has their own methods and rituals of working. A location and time that is perfect for one might leave another with severe writer's block. I also remember that I got distracted from the path I had wanted to travel, in my search for a career early in my life. I don't want that to happen again. So when I get a suggestion from a newsletter – or conflicting suggestions – I ask myself one question; "Is that something I WANT to do?" And that settles the question.

With a little experience, you'll probably find a way to decide what hints and suggestions would benefit you, too.

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