Sigh. You guys.
I’ve been having a really shitty week as far as writing goes. I didn’t even want to blog about this because, really, how many blogs are out there about the struggles of a writer?
But there’s not much else on my mind. (Okay, there’s a ton of stuff on my mind — the constant highs and lows of my 8-5, my sister’s birthday, a day trip to Lake Erie, an upcoming bridal shower and wedding, the Ed Sheeran concert, our 5th wedding anniversary, and uhhhh A FREAKING TRIP TO LONDON).
But I digress. As far as writing goes, I sent my novel, The Month of May, to three beta readers a few weeks back, and waiting to hear back is a form of slow torture. In the meantime, I’ve been beta reading for a friend of mine, and although so far she’s been ridiculously thankful and complimentary of my editing abilities, I’m finding it hard to concentrate on her manuscript for some reason, probably because I’m, like, critiquing my critique.
I’m also working on two submissions that have to be finished before the end of the month. One is mostly finished, but I had to pitch the idea to the magazine before actually submitting, and once again, waiting to hear back is yet another form of torture. It’s like dear god, universe, everything that is holy in the heavens above, PLEASE let this come through for me!!!!
The second piece is even more of a struggle. Last fall, I wrote a “short story” for an anthology that never happened. Although I’m not much of a short story writer, this idea took form in my head and ended up being a 9000 word story that I’m absolutely in love with and am desperate to find a home for. Of course, in the writing world, 9000 words is a VEEEEEEEERRRRRRY long short story… but somehow still kind of short to be a novella. So finding a home for it is basically impossible.
Anyway. I stumbled upon an opportunity for short story submissions (1200 words) fitting the theme “at the beach.” Since my 9000 word masterpiece/homeless disaster fits the category, I figured I’d take one of my favorite scenes and try to cut it down. So far I’ve reduced nearly 4000 words to 1450, but of course I’m still over the word count limit and I’m having a HELL of a time figuring out what else to cut without sacrificing setting, dialogue, characters, descriptions…
Seriously. I’ve never understood how people can write “short.” I’ve always been long winded, both speaking and writing. And apparently there is no place for that in the writing contest/call for submissions world.
Since stepping into the whirlwind that is the (online) writing world a year and a half ago, I’ve learned a ton of stuff, but I’m also still puzzled about many things which plague me on a regular basis…..
* When you “cold pitch” – do you really just email a publication and say “here’s who I am and this is what I want to write about”?
I picked up a copy of my local City Paper yesterday, and there was a short article by a new contributor whose focus of the article was basically why she’s weird. It was entertaining and well done, but kind of random. How do writers pitch this stuff and what makes publications say yes????
* If you see a company’s website (or brochure or sign) that has a ton of spelling and grammatical errors, is it cool to shoot them an email and say, “Hey your ad is heinously incorrect and unprofessional. $50 to fix it for you.”
* I’ve heard that you can start freelancing by soliciting your editing and proofreading services to students. But how are you supposed to get twenty year olds who can’t afford Ramen and will be drowning in debt for the next thirty years to pay for said services?
* Why are the subjects assigned to sample writes so obscure? (ie: the paleo diet and the mating habits of the common housefly). Really? Could you ask me to write about something that makes me feel more dead inside?
* Content writing intimidates me. I recently had a friend ask me to write some product descriptions of some wigs for a company he works for, and after about four of them, I was exhausted trying to find more than ten words to describe hair.
* I’m also very intimidated by all of the unfamiliar programs and forms of technology freelancing jobs seem to require. I’ve dubbed myself the most technologically inept millennial on the planet, so this is a big one. I’ve never even used Skype, which is apparently a requirement for every single freelancing gig.
* If I do sign up for a freelancing gig, what happens if it becomes too much? I already have 2 jobs, am working on a novel, maintain this blog, and have a life outside work and writing. Can I just resign? Do I give a 2 week notice? Run away with my tail between my legs?
* And is it possible that freelancing or content writing just isn’t for me? If this is the case, does that make me a shitty writer?
Throw me a bone, literary gods. Please?