Spring…Er…Summer Cleaning

I have kept many notebooks and journals with “poems,” ideas for novels and short stories scribbled between their pages. It shouldn’t be surprising when I started using my laptop to write I would hoard it on my hard drive and I have. Recently, I decided it was time to go through and organize my computer. I was cleaning and organizing my laptop and I found many story and article ideas that have lead nowhere. I deleted some. For this small feet I am so proud of myself. It is hard for me to throw away anything I have written. I still find and keep tiny pieces of paper with sentences I have created falling out of other notebooks of scribes I swear I’ll need one day.

A few I finished and put on this blog. The last two post, “Go Out And Adopt a Pet” and “To Whom Ink May Concern” were two articles in my documents never being read. “Adopt a Pet” was an article I wrote as a writing sample for a job application (which I didn’t get). “Ink” was a blog article I was writing for years. I thought it should finally be finished and see the light of day. I put most away into files but now what to do with them? I keep asking myself, “Will I use these ideas and create a short story, novel, or screenplay out of them? There aren’t as many on my laptop or computer as there are in my closet.

Diaries, journals, and notebooks collecting dust with sentences I’ll never use. Do I just burn or shred everything without a glance or read and edit it all waiting for the day I may use it? I guess the best thing would be to throw them out but I must go through them first. Memories and feelings I have forgotten. I read through one of my diaries once. It was hilarious. I recalled that I was just as ridiculous (I’m not talking about rude or obnoxious) at 18 or 22 as every other 18 or 22 year old. I think I would like my novel to be like Roman á clef and use those times/feelings in a book but will I? I know these are the questions every writer asks themselves but the feeling can be overwhelming. Some of the young pieces, like the short story I wrote when I was 12, I will keep. This stage in my life reminds me of a quote from Edgar Degas which said, “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”  They are cute, funny, and a memento of when I thought all I wrote was a priceless piece ready for publication.

Cleaning is causing me to make decisions and with these little things I’ve created it feels like a big deal. However, I know no matter how much you like a piece or section sometimes it doesn’t fit and you need to edit it out. You can put it on the side and hope to use it somewhere else one day but it is very unlikely it’s ever used again.

How do you keep your writing? Do you have an expiration date before you can delete it, do you trash right away, or do you keep every thought that makes it on paper (or screen)? How do you organize these scraps of ideas?



Edit Your Own Work Before Sending

Today is a writing/publishing lesson I learned the hard way. Four years ago I was working as an intern for The Celebrity Cafe. I wrote book, movie, and music reviews, interviewed a few celebs and wrote TV recaps. Mostly, I wrote celebrity news. When I sent my work in most articles would stay when published. Only once or twice was I emailed to rewrite an article because it was not up to the standard the cafe was looking for. But one time an article was published that I was and still not happy with. It was my first writing gig but sometimes I think I should have known better. I was interning and working part time as a casher. I think the TV recaps where the hard part of the internship. I’m not a committed TV watcher but it was a job and I agreed to recap Project Runway. This was around the time they were on Thursday at 9pm and started to air for an hour and half. By 10:30pm I was tired but I would write the article (about 500 to 800 words) and send it straight in. I had work the next morning and I knew there was no time to write Friday and get it on time. Tired is no way to edit your own work. I figured the editors on the other end would catch any inaccuracy, until one recap was published and the article was covered with errors. When I saw it posted up I cringed at all the mistakes I missed the night before and the comment from a stranger talking about the poorly written piece. After that I would write at night and edit it in the morning. I tired to wake up early or just skip breakfast. I never trusted another person to make sure is was blunder free. That Project Runway piece will haunt my mind because I know I’m a better writer than what’s presented in that article. I worry that piece will stop me from getting a dream job one day.

My next internship was a writer/editor for the website, Joonbug. Perspective. If you are writing in any field be aware everyone has limited timetables, and over flowing back-ends. As an editor, even with time crunches, I always read over the articles sent by “my” writers even if I’m sure I still missed mistakes. There could be an article with slip-ups even if it looked like the requirements were covered. I’ve heard of articles being published without being proofread. If an author consistently writes well and they need to post that article that second, editors will post it with not even glance.

Doesn’t matter if it is for print or digital, if you are just starting out and you are sending in articles make sure you send the best piece you can created.

This Time With Feeling

February 18, 2011
I have been told by others my best postings are the ones with feeling. My best topics with emotion are the ones about something personal (i.e. the job searching post).

Silly me, I thought I was putting my love into each topic I wrote. I do care about what I post. My postings are structured. I check for spelling and grammar errors. All I know is that I have only just started and I have obstacle s.

How do I add feelings/emotions/love to all my writing?

Is that why I’m having trouble finding a job? Not enough passion showing through?

Passion… I know I am held back by fear but do I have passion?


Will E-Book’s Follow in the Footsteps of YouTube Videos?

February 9, 2011
The digital world is open to everyone. Every genius without the money can post a blog or video showing their talent. I am in awe when I come across a YouTube video that shows true talents, whether art, music, or film. But for every talented video there are tons of crappy ones.

Now e-books are popular and the next big thing for books. Many writers, when rejected by publisher after publisher, are finding it easier to self-publish their “babies.”  Some even find success and have their book published in print after good e-book sales.

I have read many articles on writing, self-editing, and self-publishing. One article made it clear when self-publishing make sure what you put out into the world is free of errors. Your work has to be more flawless then an actual published book if you want people to take notice and take your work seriously. Makes sense.

The other day, after sifting through a lot of garbage on YouTube, my question became, Will self publishing on the e-reader turn into YouTube? I worry about the future of books and my worry is content. The net is open to everyone. Just go to YouTube and search the site. Many of the videos are useless. I end up waiting for others to tell me whats good before I venture on to the media site and sometimes I still find myself wasting time.

Five or ten years from now, will readers have to search through tons of junk to find a literary gem?

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