The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Twenty-One
The Magical Mystery Tour Continues
At times, that’s what writing seems like to me. No, let me correct that . . . all the time, writing seems like a magical mystery tour, and I love every minute of it. I love the creation and the adventures and meeting new friends. I love learning from others and knowing they are learning from me. And I love the fact that my words will live on long after I’m just a feint memory. One-hundred years from now, people will be reading my articles, stories and novels, and I can’t think of many legacies better than that.
So, shall we begin on another journey into the magical world of writing?
From Faith: “Do you know of anyone who has ever done any travel writing? I'm asking because I actually saw an interesting ad on that NIUME site about their needing travel writers. It peaked my interest and so I clicked on it. It sounds perfect for those who are retired or semi-retired as they pay you to go on trips and just write about your experiences wherever they send you off to travel. The trip is paid for in full and so it almost sounds too good to be true. I've always wanted to travel but I've been too busy working or don't have extra cash to travel. The only thing I'm not sure of is if you travel alone or can take someone. Have you or anyone you know tried this kind of adventurous writing/traveling? What are your thoughts? I'm just curious.”
Faith, I went to NIUME to see if I could find that ad and I couldn’t. I don’t know of any companies that actually pay someone the cost of traveling. I’m sure there are but I can’t find them. I know of quite a few companies that pay for articles about traveling, but that’s a different kettle of fish, as my grandma used to say. The pay can be quite good for a well-crafted travel article, upwards of $1000, but as with any magazine article, it takes determination to score that kind of money.
I wish I could be more help on this, but I’m drawing a blank on it. If you find out, come back and share, okay?
And this just in from Manatita in his comment:
"Yes, there are people that will pay for your travel info. You can do this freelance or be a part of the company say like Lonely Planet.
They don't lose, as they use the info you send them to put into, update and sell their books as guides, etc. One needs to be a great writer, a great photographer and send decent shorts as well as stories. Once happy, hey will hire you."
From Manatita: “I have one question. My brain is all fried, all right. But didn,t you once have some evidence of sweat and toil on your mailbag pic?So I hope you laugh at this one. Which writer has a clean computer desk? (Chuckle) Stay happy!!”
It took me a second to figure out what Manatita was talking about with this question. He was referring to my writing desk in the picture above, and now neat it appears. Does it always look like that, all clean and neat?
For the most part yes, it does! Listen, I’m a pretty anal person when it comes to neatness. My best friend, Frank, and I used to room together in college. His side of the room looked like the aftermath of a hurricane, while mine always looked like a picture out of Better Homes & Gardens. That’s just the way I am. I have to have everything in a specific spot so I know where it is and I can find it immediately. It drives my wife nuts. LOL So yes, a picture of a neat writing desk is the way I rock and roll as a writer. Messes make me crazy!!!!!
From Brian: “Another taking notes question: Do you have a condensed, fast, custom shorthand way to note ideas or do you jot your ideas in complete thoughts and complete sentences? I have been trying to learn Tony Buzan's mind mapping way to take notes but am having difficulty getting the hang of leaving out most of the words in a thought--the linking words like prepositions, to be verbs, adverbs, and so on--and including only the concept words: apple fell head Newton conceived law gravity. I find it helps to put two dots .. (my short form of ellipses) in place of words I leave out as I take notes the mind mapping way of an idea, a meeting, a phone conversation, or whatever.”
Brian, what a great question. I’ve never thought about it. My way of shorthand is the same I have used since high school. I don’t write fast enough, especially during a lecture, to write every word I hear, so I learned early on to just write down keywords, and trust that, later on, I would remember what those keywords mean and what their significance is. For me it’s a matter of doing it over and over again, and trusting in the process. My mind just does it automatically now, without any real thought-process happening.
Of course there are tricks, like the Pittman Method, or using abbreviations, and they are great if they work for you. I use an arrow method quite often to show relationships . . . like this leads to this which leads to this . . . but that’s just something that has evolved over the years for me. And it is crucial, for me, to review my notes very soon after taking them, or my memory of that event or lecture will be lost forever.
I know that isn’t much help, but it’s what I’ve always told my students. Find a method that works for you and then refine it to your individual needs.
Being a Part of a Community
From Ben: “I’ve noticed from following you over the years that you are pretty consistent when it comes to following people and supporting them through comments. Why do you feel that is important?”
Finally a question I feel comfortable answering. Listen, and this is the truth: I would have quit writing six years ago if it were not for the support of other writers through their comments on my earliest articles. I had zero confidence in my abilities early on, and there was a handful of people who saw something in my writings that they felt was worthwhile, and they encouraged me to continue through their comments.
Clicking on a “like button” is all well and good, but it’s terribly impersonal. Writing a comment is a connection that says “I read you and this is what I see,” and I think that is crucial for writers. We are on an island when we write, and oftentimes it feels like we are all alone. An encouraging word goes a long way in bridging that loneliness and feeling of isolation.
I know it takes time to do so, but I would encourage all who are reading this to make the effort to visibly support writers through comments. You just never know when an encouraging word from you will be what was needed by a struggling writer.
Join me on my writing blog
- Artistry With Words | Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
More Next Week?
Of course there will be more next week. I have come to realize that there is value in this series, for me and for all of you, so let’s keep it going as long as possible.
Will you join me next week? I hope so!
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc) #greatestunknownauthor
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”