The Writing Life—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly column


Column by Margaret Gelbwasser
When I left my full-time teaching job to pursue freelance writing I knew only two things. One, I was unhappy teaching in a public school and two, I had always wanted to write. I was under no illusion that freelance writing would be easy but also did not know how to go about it or what this new world would entail. So, I made a plan. I took classes. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote and learned the politics of this field (yes, EVERY job has politics). Now, 2.5 years later, I am doing what I wanted. It has its pros and cons, but what doesn’t? My goal of this column is to help you on your writing journey and give you the support and answers I did not always have.
Not at a Loss for Words
Remember those high school days where a vital part of the revision process included adding high brow words from your thesaurus? Seems like we never quite got out of this habit. At least that’s what Merriam-Webster tells us. This year, 100 new words w..read on

Letting Go of Writer’s Guilt
In June, I wrote 20 pages of my new novel, finished two articles, and read books on writing technique. And the last few weeks? I have spent time with friends, went on walks, and caught up on old movies. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, my v..read on

Putting Away Your Writing Worries
It seems that the list of concerns when writing articles keeps growing. First, you attempt to think of a creative topic to pitch. Then, you wonder about how to construct the pitch. Once the pitch is picked up, you worry about interviewing subjects. W..read on

Good Tricks from Trashy Novels
I recently did something that I said I would never do. That I looked down on others for doing. Whenever the topic arose in public, I would smile encouragingly all the while feeling inwardly superior for not stooping so low. Yet, last week it happened..read on

Choosing the Right Writing Retreat
As with any job, you want to reach an ever higher level than where you are now. There are always ways to perfect your plot, technique, character formation, and reporting skills. I found that writing workshops, festivals, seminars, and conferences are..read on

Acing Interviews
Your pitch was picked up, your article is outlined, and now it’s time for the interviews. While it can be exciting to talk with experts, it can also be intimidating. Below are some tips that I hope will make this process flow smoothly (or smoother th..read on

Spicing Up Your Freelance Career
[pic1] Freelancing definitely has its perks - flexible hours, the ability to work from home, the opportunity to be creative. But, like with any job, you can burn out. The constant generation of ideas and the need to pitch can get difficult and even ..read on

The Business of Clips
The Business of Clips The idea of clips seems like a Catch-22. You need them to get a pitch picked up, but how can you get them if no one gives you a chance to write an article? So, what does one do? This is the question I get asked most often. The ..read on

Getting Ahead in the Freelancing World
Getting Ahead in the Freelancing World Whenever I meet young writers, it always amazes me how much they know. And while I'm mostly impressed, part of me is jealous because I only learned in my late 20s what they already know as sophomores in college..read on

Rethinking the Classics
Rethinking the Classics While the fashion front has been lenient in creating room for more styles and accessories, the literary world often balks at changes in its lineup. A few weeks ago, I explored readers' hesitancy in giving YA novels their due...read on

Networking Know-How
Networking Know-How You may have the pitch letter down and sources ready, but there is something else that will get you even more jobs than the perfectly crafted query. Not follow-up calls or a sneak peak at all the new studies. Not glossy clips eit..read on

Realizing What\'s Important
          Lately I have been in the mood to do very little. I still teach a few hours a day, create pitches, and work on articles, but all through this I have had this feeling that there is something else ..read on

Coping with the Revise
Coping with the Revise Up until a few years ago, a revised piece meant that I had read it over twice and double-checked grammar and context. Blame it on my high school English teachers. Then, I began working on a novel and realized—wonder of wonders..read on

The Genre Conundrum Surrounding YA Literature
A disturbing thing is happening in bookstores. Favorite titles, old and new, are getting misplaced. Most recently, I was talking to my sister about Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This beautifully written story is told from the perspective of a 13-year..read on

How to Beat—or at least pacify - writer’s block
Whether you are attempting to write the introductory paragraph to a non-fiction article or another chapter of your novel, there comes a time - no matter how prepared you are - that you are left staring at a blank screen. You can use this bout of writ..read on

The Politics of the Pitch
By now, I assume you are rested and rejuvenated and sitting at your tidy desk, ready to embark on the next phase of the freelancing life. You know the goal is to get assignments and you have various ideas jotted in your notepad or on your computer sc..read on

Finding the Joy in Writing
When you start freelancing, there are many things you can no longer do. You can't wait for someone else to tell you when it's time to go home. You can't take a break without feeling like you're wasting valuable interview or writing time. You can't de..read on

The Craft of Freelance Writing
The Beginning   After months or years of planning, you have finally done it. You have weaned yourself from your pay-the-bills job to pursue a career that will pay less than half (and half is if you're lucky) of what you made before. In your ne..read on




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