Tag Archives: writing

6 Reasons To Read Your Published Articles

During a conversation with my pitch partner Andrea from Be-Quoted a few months ago, we were discussing an article she’d successfully pitched when she revealed that she rarely reads her published pieces. As a result, I told her that I could build a case for my opinion that writers (new writers, in particular) should make a regular practice of reading their published articles. Now, while I will admit that I haven’t read every single one of my live articles, I still think writers can benefit from regularly reading the final, edited versions of their work.

Scrolling Twitter one evening, I came across some tweets from Julia Beverly, formerly of Ozone Magazine. She’s currently writing a book about the life of the late UGK rapper Pimp-C and has been discussing the process online.

As enthusiastic as she seems about her upcoming project, in the same breath Beverly candidly admitted that she more than likely would not be reading this book upon its completion. Merely revising articles can sometimes feel like a mild form of mental torture, so I can’t say I necessarily blame her for already planning to pass on reading her own book before she’s even written the last word.

The reality is Beverly is a certified OG in the writing/publishing industry, so she can totally afford to give her published work the cold shoulder. But for less established writers, I feel there are good reasons to read those published articles:

It allows you to learn from your mistakes.

Based on the changes I’ve seen from my editors, I’ve been able to identify problem areas and even managed to make some improvement without having my weaknesses explicitly highlighted.

Once, I received a group email from editors who advised the writers on the correct way of citing images. I realized I hadn’t been doing it the right way, but that could’ve been avoided if I took the time to at least skim over some of my previously published pieces, or better yet, pay more attention to my style guide! In that situation, I got two lessons in one.

Learn your editors’ style.

Not all editors are created equal. That means that depending on who you write for, there may be little to no difference between the piece you submitted and the published article. Other times, the final article may not resemble anything in your original piece. It’s a delicate balance because you don’t want to lose your voice while trying to do the piece justice, but unless it’s your blog, an op-ed or a pub that  has extremely lax guidelines, the publication’s voice and style ultimately trump yours.

This is why I think it’s best to try and pay attention to the editors’ changes to see what you can pick up on.  That may mean writing “stuff” when you really want to write “shit,” or leaving out something you think is hilarious and clever (more on that later).
Continue reading

Write For My Life

writing

Recently I joined writer and editor Britni Danielle‘s “The Write Pitch” seminar, an online class of sorts where she produces weekly videos designed to help writers break into freelancing. The first session focused on why one wants to pursue writing as an occupation.

The three questions that prompted serious consideration were:

1. What do you hope to gain by becoming a professional writer?

2. Describe your ideal life and how writing fits in it.

3. Are you prepared to go into business for yourself?

In thinking about my answers, I dug deep and came out feeling quite certain about my goal of becoming a professional writer. I truly appreciate her for posing these questions because examining the meaning behind one’s actions can sometimes shift perspective and reveal things that may not always be evident. Nevertheless, I’ve always been quite sure that writing is my calling.  I’ve kept a journal since I was a 9-year-old, babbling about my crush or documenting the daily happenings on the bus ride to school.

Today, I am a married woman in search of personal, spiritual and emotional freedom and fulfillment. But inside, that 9-year-old lingers, waiting on me to re-commit to her craft and document my life experiences so others may learn from my ups, downs, joys, mistakes and successes. Thinking about why I want to write was very enlightening and prompted me to create this post. Below are my responses:

Continue reading