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|THOUGHTS ON WRITING FROM MADCAP MARY
Writing for free is like smoking, overeating or dating a bad boy — don’t even start. I feel strongly about this subject, as does writer Angela Hoy. Read what she has to say about the pitfalls of giving your talent away in her article in the May 2003 issue of Writer’s Digest.
I certainly don’t claim to know it all about writing but I have picked up a few tidbits along the way. Here are some:
Steer clear of publications that do not honor, value or respect writers. Seek out editors who will give you a byline, publish a short bio, and promote you in print or on their Web site. This rule applies even if you are just starting out with your hometown paper.
Inspect the Web site and/or print publication and if there are glaring errors in content, grammar and punctuation bag it. Don’t associate with mediocre publications run by nonprofessionals. You’ll regret it in the long run.
Beware of so-called editors and publishers who are bean counters or sales execs because they are clueless about writing — money is the only god they serve.
Arm and educate yourself with as much information as you can about your genre. But don’t overdo it — a MFA does not a writer make.
Develop the hide of a rhino because that is what you will need in the snarling, hissing, competitive world of writing.
Attitude counts. Ernest Hemingway said, “Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities. The other, unfortunately, is talent.”
Set long and short-term goals, formulate a writing schedule, make a plan and stick to it. Realize, too that there will be times when you will alienate and annoy your family. If you are female you'll need twice the energy and ambition of your male counterparts.