Freedom with Writing

Are you, like me, dusting off some stories or manuscripts that have been filed away for a few years? If so, you probably want to find homes for them.

Or, you might be looking for periodicals that are in need of exactly the kind of articles you write.

 

 

Let me tell you about a website I recent discovered, Freedom with Writing.

Most of the online resources I’ve found focus on either non-fiction or fiction, but Freedom with Writing focuses on both, which I like. It’s free and couldn’t be simpler: they send you emails with valuable links to writing opportunities. Apparently, they have been going since 1999!

I can never just “scan” their emails, like I can many others. They are full of meaty information all the time. On top of that, the format is an absolute joy: clean, clear, simple, to the point, giving you in a glance exactly the information you are looking for.

Take their home page, for example. It looks similar to many other websites offering to help you find success. But once you start clicking on their links, you can tell they put in a lot of time and energy into digging up valuable information and passing it on to you.

 

 

They also lend a helping hand to newbies like me with various straightforward, useful articles, such as how to send in your proposal, or helping you understand the realities of the freelance life.

Here is an example of two entries I found today while browsing the information under “95 Technology and Science Blogs, Magazines, and Websites that Pay Writers”  on their home page.

The following is a list of 95 technology publishers that accept pitches directly from freelance writers, and pay for the writing they publish. Payment rates in this area tend to be higher than some other categories; blog posts for a programming site are often in the $200 to $500 range. If you’re not sure how to approach these publishers, then be sure to watch this free webinar.

And here are a couple from today’s “24 Free Writing Contests & Cash Grants (Up to $30,000)”, also on their home page.

 

Today, I STRUCK GOLD!  35 Themed Calls for Submissions (Non-fiction, essays, etc.)  This article is what inspired me to write this blog post. It is right up my alley!

Now, I tend to be overly trusting, so these days I scan reviews of EVERYTHING. I was happy to see that there are many others who agree with my positive reaction to Freedom with Writing. Here are a few:

Alex Tucker, Medium.com, and Make Money Online.

If you check out Freedom with Writing, let me know what you think!

Have fun dusting and getting your creative works out there!

 

[“laptop-and-diary-on-table-in-garden-4559527” photo courtesy of Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels;

Gold photo courtesy of  James St. John at Flickr : “Gold-quartz hydrothermal vein (16 to 1 Mine, Allegheny County, California, USA)” ]

Write Everyday–Right?

Yes, yes, I know writers are supposed to write everyday. When I am working on a specific project and have a deadline, that’s not too hard to do. In that case, what’s hard for me is to STOP writing and get up to stretch, guzzle some water or make something halfway nutritious to eat.

On the other hand, if try to write everyday when I am between projects, I go straight to my library of writing exercises. I love being given a starting point and just running with it without all that hard stuff like planning. I love writing-exercise books, and buy too many of them.

Since I often like to write for children, I use exercises in books that were written for children. Here are my two favorites:

Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine, Collins, New York
The Writing Programme: Write Along and Write Away by Patrick Lashmar & David W. Booth, Globe/Modern Curriculum Press, Toronto

I find that I get some of my funniest and goofiest ideas from immersing myself in these books as if I was still in elementary school and given an assignment by my English teacher.

My very favorite writing exercise book is this one, written for adults: Young at Heart: The Step by Step Way of Writing Children’s Stories by Violet Ramos, VR Publications, Scottsdale, Arizona. She literally takes you by the hand and gives you a few sentences of instruction and turns you loose to write a bit; then a few more instructions and you write a little more, and so on. She makes writing a story very do-able.

And this one comes in a close second, especially if I’m writing adult short stories: The Writer’s Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts, a literary journal, Writer’s Digest, Cincinnati, Ohio. On each page are moments of conflict, snippets of dialogue, or brief descriptions of unusual situations. Some of my most interesting stories have come directly from these prompts.

I love wild and wacky writing prompts, and they work! Wonderful characters and stories flow from my pen. I easily surpass that minimum writing time suggested, and am surprised when finally I come up for air that the time has flown by.

My problem, however, is that I am inspired more by starting a completely new piece, than returning to something I wrote and developing it. That frustrates me and just feeds my naturally divergent tendencies. It also adds to my “Projects Started” list, which is a mental list, so it crowds my mind and annoys me.

So what about you? Do you write everyday? Can you relate, or do you have completely different experiences than mine? What do you do with your “everyday writing”?

If you want, you can share with us what you think by participating in the survey below.

Whether you write everyday or not, I wish you Happy Writing!

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What I Did on my “Summer Vacation”

This June, after a couple months of manageable aches—which were probably aggravated by aquacize, carrying heavy groceries, and a very aggressive therapeutic massage—I was suddenly in agonizing pain. And that surprised me, because I thought I was “doing everything right”.

In January I had decreased my work week at my job from 5 days a week to 3, in order to pro-actively help my arms, shoulder and neck get back on the road to healing. Sitting at a computer 8 hours a day has been causing me problems for 2 years now, and although I’d been paying more attention to taking breaks and stretching my arms and wrists, I figured that the extra 2 days off would do me even more good. I increased my tutoring jobs and decreased my time at the computer, trading the keyboard for my pen and paper as much as possible when I wrote. Since then, my co-workers have made comments such as, “Must be nice to have those 2 days off to relax”. But I’d usually respond in all honesty that it was nice to come back to work to get a rest from all the writing and tutoring activities I try to cram in 2 days.

But for two months of this summer I was in such desperate pain almost all the time, that I thought I’d have to quit my job altogether. From June through August I struggled with sharp pain in my arm, shoulder, underarm and neck, made all the more severe by sitting at a computer and sitting in cars. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything except lay down with ice. Now, when a co-worker would grin and ask me how my “days off” were, I’d roll my eyes and say that I spent them at doctors’ appointments, trying to get to the bottom of what was causing so much trouble.

No medication had any effect, and none of the health care providers could relieve the pain. The shoulder x-ray showed nothing, and the neck x-ray report said “degeneration”, which the doctor attributed to age, and then suggested the problem would probably come and go from now on. My prayer life changed to one of begging and pleading. But all along I’d been convinced that there were nerve issues that no one was addressing, since mobility in my arms and shoulders was relatively unaffected. So I finally decided that a chiropractor would be the one to help with them. And I was right. Ahh, relief! (Thank you, Dr. Kim!)

What I’ve learned after two months of chiropractic/physio/active release/laser/massage therapy several times a week was that I had a combination of issues. Chronic poor posture, combined with aging discs in my neck and back that restricted nerves and blood flow, and severe tendonitis (from—of course—computer work). These had all at the same time reached their limit. Those parts of my body broke down and went on strike.

Now I stand tall with my head up and my shoulders back like a good soldier (and like my dad always tried to encourage when I was little), which surprisingly makes me feel more positive and confident. I stretch those poor muscles in my chest, arms and shoulders that have probably shortened over the years of slouching at the computer, or on the couch to read, or watch TV. I set timers on my home and work computers, reminding me to take breaks every 20-30 minutes. I sleep on my back with a pillow supporting my neck and sit on firmer, straighter chairs with arm rests. And I just ordered a book holder to give my arms a break when I’m reading, my favorite hobby which I am just now able to return to.

When people ask if I went on a holiday this summer, I tell them I went on a stay-cation, which I did in the latter part of August, getting driven to the mountains for a wedding, and driving relatively pain-free to some beautiful parks within about twenty minutes’ drive from home. Sure, it would have been nice to have been able to go hiking and do all those other outdoor activities during this amazing summer of perfect weather. But I’m not complaining a bit.

I feel like a human being again!

Health Problems are a Write-Off

Health Problems are a Write-Off

After spending the first warm day in weeks at the park with my camera, I was surprised to find my back and knees aching by the time I got home. That annoyed me, because I didn’t think I was doing anything particularly strenuous, so yesterday when I went to the library I picked up some books on natural healing for arthritis (which the doctor says I probably have in my knees). One of the books, The Arthritis Foundation’s guide to Alternative Therapies, has a fascinating summary of many “complementary therapies” (in the text, they usually don’t use the term “alternative” because they want people to use traditional western medical procedures as their main therapy), including Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Biofeedback and Tai Chi. I have heard about these, but never really knew what the origins or philosophies were, so this was quite interesting.

One of the side bars shown in the “Mind, Body and Spirit” chapter is entitled “Helping Your Arthritis with the Write Stuff”. It tells about a study which has found that writing about stressful experiences improved the health of people with mild to moderately severe rheumatoid arthritis or asthma. “Rheumatoid arthritis patients in the study averaged a 28 percent decrease in overall disease symptoms. Their asthma counterparts had a 19 percent decrease (Smyth).” The participants were asked to write continuously for 20 minutes, three days in a row. Some were asked to write about the most stressful experience they ever had; others about their plans for the day. The second group showed little change in their health.

The authors also mention that other studies have shown that people who express their emotions in writing improve their health, and improve their immune system. Many find relief from their health problems by keeping a journal, or writing letters that they don’t intend to send.

I browsed around the websites listed as resources and found interesting information in both. In the second resource are additional helps such as the Journal Café, poem of the day, journal writing prompts, and information about online journal writing classes. The websites are listed below.

Intensive Journal Program, New York, New York http://www.intensivejournal.org
Center for Journal Therapy, Lakewood, Colorado, http://www.journaltherapy.com

Since it initiated this whole topic, I figured I’d also feature a photo from the trip to the park!