Monday, January 16, 2017

Monthly Magazine Timeline Part 1

From Kate's Writing Crate...


          My schedule as a working editor and writer:

          We publish two issues every month, one each for two different towns. The page counts are based on the number of ads sold. We run about 50/50 ads to text so if 23-25 pages of ads are sold we run 48-page issues. Page counts are always divisible by four as sheets of paper are folded in half and printed on both sides. However, our printer only goes up or down in eight-page increments so sometimes there are more ads than text (a tight issue), sometimes more text than ads (an open issue).

          Since the ads are sold for each issue from, for example, January 1st-January 18th for the February issue, I do not know the actual page count until three days after my monthly deadline of the 15th, I assign articles on my best guess of the page count, but I have to have enough extra copy to fill four to six pages in case the page count goes up eight pages due to an increase in ads. This copy does not need to be timely so profiles of artists, seasonal essays, and book reviews are good to have on hand, but often I have to write an extra article or two in a day or two.

          Specific dates for one issue: By the 26th of December, I assign articles to contributing writers which are due by January 15th for the February issues mailed to every home and business in town by February 1st. This gives the writers about three weeks to contact people, interview them, and then write and rewrite their articles. I start looking for assignment topics in November, but usually discover them in December. Anything published in the magazines has to be local. These articles are about residents with interesting jobs, who are coordinating public events, or visited great location destinations (for example) along with children accomplishing amazing things like one eight-year-old boy opening a lemonade stand he set up all over town with help from his mom to raise money so every student in need in his school could buy a book at the school’s book fairs.

          From December 26th-January 15th, I copyedit information about February events and club meetings as well as news bits about award-winners, events, business news, charity donations, and photos of cute kids at parties or in scouting programs for publication which are submitted all the time.

          Copyediting means I reduce the information to basic facts: who, what, when, where, cost (if any), why (if it’s about a charity or fundraising event). The events are either open to the public or for different groups in town like gardening club, women’s clubs, school events, concerts, the arts, performances, etc. The news bits run about 80-150 words with a photo usually.

          I also copyedit for the magazine’s style. For example, time is 8am, not 8AM or 8 A. M. Dates are listed as February 6 not 6th. Numbers under ten are written out, ten and over are numeric. Space is at a premium so we use the version that takes up the least amount.

I copyedit information from local libraries and senior centers, too, which are emailed to me by January 15th about that month’s activities, lectures, performances, and trips. These run in two different columns.

On January 15th, I receive all the articles I assigned as well as all the regular columns on sports, family life, gardening, food and wine, essays, and books. The articles average 1,000 words, but range from 800-1,600 words. Columns run 850-1,000 words. Articles run with photos. Some columns do, some don’t. Photos have captions unless space is tight.

          I write my articles between the 10th and 15th of the month. I do the interviews earlier in the month by phone, email, or in person to get all the facts and quotes. Sometimes I wait until the 18th to finish my articles to see how many pages I need to fill then write longer or shorter articles.

          On the 15th of the month, I begin editing. The covers also have to be chosen.

To be continued in next week’s post.

Weekly Word Counts as promised:

January 1-7       4,316
January 8-14     3,843

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Writing Projects List

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

As a magazine editor and contributing writer, I have paid assignments for two magazines. As a freelance editor, I have paid projects. As a freelance writer, I have goals I’ve set for myself. I plan on writing about 410,000 words in finished pieces this year.

          Here is my current 2017 writing project list:

Magazine assignments:
(numbers will change as page counts go up or down by eight pages depending on ads)

12 Thoughts from the Editor columns, 450-500 words each
20 Q&A articles, 1,200-1,400 words each
50 articles, 800-1,200 words each
4 book columns, 500-1,000 words each
52 Facebook thoughts/book reviews, 250-500 words each
Total: about 100,000 words published

52 posts, 250-500 words each
                                                Total: about 18,000 words

4 articles, 1,000-1,500                   
Total: about 4,000 words


         Finish roughing out the plot.
Writing in proper format.
                                      Total: about 10,000 words

          Still roughing out the details.
          Notes and text, about 30,000 words
                                                Total: about 30,000 words

Fill 12 notebooks (80 pages each) with jottings a la Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, about 20,000 words each
                                                Total: about 240,000 words

Backpack Literature, 300-500—depends on assignments I audit
                                                Total: about 10,000 words

My planned word count total for 2017 is over 410,000, using averages. 
(Before editing and rewriting, the count will be over 500,000.)

I’ll post the actual word counts weekly to better keep me on track.

January 1-7 word count:

          Facebook    259
          Blog Posts   398 (current and future posts)
          Screenplay    75
          Book            181
          Notebook   3,403

              Total       4,316   


Monday, January 2, 2017

Changing Things Up Again

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

Turns out writing a weekly post for four years and four months is a hard habit to break. I couldn’t miss my deadline so I gave some more thought to what I really want to change—and it’s the number of Reads for Writers' book reviews.

Writing two or three book reviews a month is stressful. It made reading less fun as I had to find and read books worthy of review because the author’s writing was so good it would inspire other writers to write. Now I will post book reviews as I discover ones I want to share instead of on a regimented basis.

Also, I’m now making this more of a working writer’s blog. While I will continue to write posts to inspire people to write in general, I’m also going to write about working on my projects as well as what really goes on during production and deadline for two monthly magazines.

          For anyone curious about what one working writer and editor does, now you’ll know. I also hope keeping you apprised of my works-in-progress will inspire me to work harder, too.

          Keep writing!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Make More Time for Writing

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

I just read the article “Make (More) Time for Writing” by Amy Sue Nathan in the Writer’s Digest Yearbook Fall 2016. She quotes author David Abrams who gave up blogging to write more fiction. “…it was the kudzu of my writing life…I had to sacrifice the blog to make more room for the work-in-progress.”

When I started this blog, it tapped into a creative vein. Thoughts and ideas appeared on the page every time I sat down to write a post about writing. I loved blogging! I also wanted to share some of my favorite books with other writers so "Reads for Writers" were fun to write, too.

After four years and four months, blogging now feels more like a chore than a creative outlet. I have other writing projects to work on; therefore, I’m changing things up.

Instead of weekly, I’m going to write one post published on the last Monday of each month.

Thank you for reading my blog posts to this point. I hope you will continue to do so.

Cheryl and I started this blog to encourage writers to write. I hope we succeeded. I also hope you continue working on your own creative projects.

Next post will appear on January 30th.   

Monday, December 19, 2016

Reads for Writers: A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo DeVito

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          If you love Jane Austen’s novels, you will love A Jane Austen Christmas: Celebrating the Season of Romance, Ribbons, and Mistletoe by Carlo DeVito. In the six Christmases described in this book, readers learn about Jane’s early writings, her first love, and Austen family traditions.

Literary Background:

          “Reading aloud in the family circle—fiction and non-fiction—was a favorite amusement of the time and practiced regularly by the Austens,”…Reverend Austen had a rich library filled with books of all kinds. From the time that Jane and Cassy [Jane’s sister] could read well enough, their father’s library was open to them with little editing. (page 34)

          It was with this generosity of spirit and a love for his youngest daughter that George Austen indulged Jane in her passion. He and she shared a love of books, but Reverend Austen was much taken with his daughter’s desire to write. He intended to encourage it. (page 51)

          “For her nineteenth birthday [December 16th], Mr. Austen bought Jane ‘a small mahogany writing desk with 1 long drawer and glass ink stand compleat’ which he purchased…for 12 [shillings],”. (page 51)…This desk was to have immense importance in her life, and it marked a significant shift in her writing and attitude. Jane would begin many of her great works writing on this very desk. (page 53)

Christmas Happenings:

          Christmastide of 1795 was a highlight for the twenty-year-old Jane Austen not only because it heralded the start of the ball season, but because it was the meeting of the first great love of her life. (page 67)

          The highlight of the Christmastide season for adults, especially young adults, was a series of dances and balls…(page 69)

          “Modern readers are sometimes puzzled as to why dance scenes have so prominent a place in Jane Austen’s novels; but in her lifetime the dance floor was the best, and indeed the only place, where marriage partners could be identified and courtship could flourish,”…(page 70)

          Jane was an enthusiastic participant. One December she wrote to Cassandra that she had danced twenty dances “without any fatigue—I was glad to find myself capable of being able to dance so much & with so much satisfaction as I did…” (page 73)

          In the Christmastide of 1795, Tom Lefroy went to the country to spend the holiday with his aunt, Madame Lefroy. During the course of that season, and during four balls given in that time, a romance took place that would mark Austen’s writings for the rest of her life. And Lefroy himself would become a character who would be recycled and reinvented several times over. (page 80) [All the heartbreaking details follow on pp. 81-89.]

          The text is rounded out with many details about entertaining throughout the Christmas season, recipes, and mores of the time. Jane’s letters as well as paintings and illustrations of various people in her life are blended in to give this book depth—a great gift for any fan of Jane Austen.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Quote to Live By

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          In the midst of fun/exhausting holiday festivities while still meeting deadlines, I came across a New Year’s card that I will be sending to all my friends and family members.

          Pictured on the front are two Labs, one yellow and one black, running all out in the snow straight toward the reader—pure joy in motion.

Along the top it says:

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time, not tomorrow or next year…Today should always be our most wonderful day.                 --Thomas Dreier

Inside the card, it says:

Wishing you a year filled with wonderful days.
          Happy New Year!

I’m not waiting until New Year’s to send these cards. Everyone should start having their most wonderful days right now!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Shopping Time is Now Writing Time

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

(I had grand plans for my December blog posts, but illness has changed everything. I love the Backpack Literature course I'm auditing. I shouldn't have scheduled it during the holidays. Rather than rush it, I'm moving my next Backpack Literature review to January 30th.

I've moved up posts I wrote in advance so I can rest up and recover. Hope to be back on track with book reviews soon.)

          Not buying any more books for a year as discussed in my November 14th post has already freed up a lot more time for writing. I didn’t realize how often I visited online book-selling sites. Some people facebook. I just book.
         Almost daily, I used to check out new titles and titles-new-to-me. Between recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers and book reviews, something always piqued my interest. Sometimes I would buy, sometimes just put it in the cart.

I confess I buy more books than I delete. If you are a voracious reader who likes to make books her own with underlining and marginalia, it’s hard not to buy books. Since most of my friends and family give me bookstore certificates for gifts and I give myself a book budget, it's easy to buy books.

Also, I read every day. I read more than I do anything else—except writing on deadline.

Yes, this means I get up very early so I can read an hour or two before my day’s responsibilities start. I read while I watch TV and when waiting in lines or waiting for someone. I do my chores and run my errands as efficiently as possible so I have more time to read.

My jobs require reading so even when I’m working, I’m reading.

I need a steady stream of incoming books so I never have to scramble for books to review and so I’m never bored. However, I created a backlog for myself (buying ten more books than I read each year for a decade adds up); hence, the no buying of books for a year.

I’ve changed my habits. I’m not visiting online sites that sell books so I’m not tempted to browse or buy. If I hear about an interesting book, I look it up. If interested, I put it in my shopping cart and leave the web site. If I visit my local bookstore, I’m buying only a writing magazine or two.

Now I have more time to write. With the holiday season here, I’m trying to write my posts and book reviews in advance so I can enjoy all the festivities.

A big upside to my new way of life, I’m saving money. Since there are always bills to pay, a retirement to fund as well as opportunities for family fun, this money will be well spent or saved.

I never have and never will consider buying books a waste of money or reading a waste of time. I’m reading the same amount of time. I’ve merely narrowed down the book choices to those already in my home. 

Once I’ve caught up, I’ll go back to buying books. There will always be a backlog, but I’ll never let it build up to the point I have to stop buying books for a year—maybe only a month or two.