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Learning how to hone your craft is a topic that I could probably write hundreds of articles on, so for now, I will leave it at that. For more ideas on deliberate practice, you can check out this article:. I wrote when I felt like it. No wonder I made no real progress as a writer. But everything changed when I started using a system. I wrote a novel, a musical, and over posts in less than a year. I gained over a thousand followers and became a top writer in 8 categories on Medium. I read, on average, three books a week.
I also read comments and articles online. I start and end my day by reading, usually a couple hours. I highlight interesting ideas, type notes and thoughts in my ebook, and send emails to myself or use my Notes App whenever I come up with an interesting potential idea.
I have my entire writing system written out on a document that I adjust as needed see below. Currently, my goal is to complete or revise at minimum two articles per day. So when I sit down to write, I:. If, while working on one article, I come up with an interesting idea for a future article, I write it down immediately and then return to my current project.
That way I always have a stash of ideas in various stages of completion to work on.
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Whatever your writing system is, write it down. For instance, this is my current writing system:. Bolded items are nonnegotiable. Other initials refer to other publications.
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The Med chart is an excel spreadsheet where I keep track of everything I write. Kevary is the name of my current novel WIP work in progress. But writing things down make them more likely to happen. By writing down my system I am holding myself to it.
So You’ve Decided to Write: Advice from a Great and Notorious Editor
It keeps me accountable, and helps me to keep writing no matter what. On the other hand, there are people who do the opposite, writing anything and everything that comes to mind stream-of-consciousness style and then wondering why no one is paying attention. To avoid both errors, you need to come up with a writing system. Of course, systems vary from person to person. What worked for Hemingway may not have worked for King.
What works for me may not work for you. You need to develop your own system, usually through trial and error. Unsurprisingly, there were three times as many entries for flat rates as there were for per-word rates.
So You've Decided to Write: How the Hell Do You Get Paid? | Literary Hub
You do the math. At the same time, getting paid on time and having expenses reimbursed has always been difficult and frustrating, often harder than landing the assignment in the first place. The number of necessary approvals on a fixed timeline from the day the editor accepts the piece takes beyond six weeks at many magazines and websites. So the writer calls the editor, the editor calls accounting, which circles back with the news that the general manager or whomever has not signed off yet.
Agents can be useful but never want to be bothered with their 10 or 15 percent of what magazine pieces pay unless the piece is important to their client, which is usually true only if the client has nothing better going. When it comes to writing for the web the best book agents will tell you that the money is almost irrelevant, but they scramble to place pre-pub excerpts and strategically timed think pieces. And when you do that, you should already have a metric of success in mind. All the way down the Pacific Coast Highway we talked story ideas.
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Bob was warming up for the writers who would soon be circling for a chance to talk to him, all of them wanting to break trail for an assignment from Esquire, where he was still a contributing editor. Somewhere near Laguna Beach I said something about how anybody interested in journalism like me would want to read a piece about Bob himself, and what was about to happen to him at the party. Bob had a way of cocking his head when he got a new idea. Think about me becoming an editor. He cocked his head again. You just have to be helpful. I was far from imagining I would ever become what I thought of as a real editor, like Sherrill, let alone work at his hallowed Esquire, or edit Wolfe, Talese and Mailer.
There is a word count at the top of this column because as an editor I always wanted to know how far my pencil would have to travel. This helped me evaluate pacing or the lack of it. It was mysterious why being direct about the number of words they were filing was so difficult but I am sure it had more to do with some kind of alchemy than lack of discipline. Now doing a word count can have a slot machine kick to it if you have the discipline not to do it every time you hit save. Going long is always more ambitious and usually more fun.