Welcome to Our Write Mind. I hope you will explore the various pages. I would love to hear from you and am curious about what you would like to see discussed or what you would find helpful to you as a writer. My goal is to have new material available weekly. My best wishes to you as we explore the writing profession. Dara

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Office Basics

We almost are complete with our writing space, but we do need to talk about basic office writing supplies.
We're going to need the following:

  • Several reams of good-quality, 20-lb. white bond paper
  • A box of 9x12 mailing envelopes
  • A box of #10 (business size) envelopes
  • Extra computer disks (both for back-up and for submissions)
  • Postage in various denominations. (As you can invest in an inexpensive postage scale that can program current postal rates up to one pound, and buy postage that corresponds to those rates.)
  • A supply of pens, pencils, felt pens/markers, in a variety of colors.
Standard office supplies...
  • Paper clips,(large and small ones) I also recommend butterfly clips for large manuscripts.
  • Erasers, small ones for pencils and a large gum one.
  • Rubber bands, multiple sizes and I recommend wider width bands.
  • Rulers,I recommend both a 6 inch and a 12 inch ruler.
  • Post-it notes, lots and lots of notes. I mainly have small and medium size to write myself notes on my manuscripts.
  • File folders, also hanging folders if your file cabinet uses them. BTW I am very much into recycling so there is nothing wrong with scavenging used file folders for your office. I encourage it.
  • Labels, you can reuse folders by using adhesive labels to rename the file. You can also have a different color label assigned to the different genre or projects you are working on, whatever makes sense to you. Address labels with your return address are helpful if you like them. I still usually hand address mine. You can also reuse the large mailing envelopes by covering the old address label with a new adhesive one. I normally recycle my envelopes like this when I am sending info to a writing buddy or family.
  • Note-pads or spiral notebooks, both large and small. Large note-pads are great for jotting down interviews or research notes; small ones are good to keep by your computer (and everywhere else) to jot down ideas, reminders, etc.

These basics should get us ready to write. I am off to our office supply store to restock.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Writing Resource Books

A working writer develops a writer's bookshelf, whether it be a physical shelf or an online one, resources are a necessity.

I am listing some of the most necessary books here. Start with the basics and build as you can accommodate them in your budget. I prefer hard cover books. I love handling my resource books. It allows me to flip back and forth. I know you can flip on the web, but it is usually from site to site. It is merely my personal preference, do what is best for you.

A good dictionary that defines obscure words as well as everyday words is essential. I actually have three, they were gifts. A Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, The New Oxford American Dictionary, and Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. These links will take you to Amazon, so you can compare prices and features of each. You'll also want a thesaurus,Roget's is good, as is Webster's.

If you plan to write technical, medical, or scientific articles, it's wise to invest in the appropriate dictionaries for those, too. If you choose to write multi-cultural articles, you will want to invest in dictionaries of the languages you will be researching. You can usually find any of these at second hand or close out tables in bookstores for reduced prices..

A note if you are just translating your work to another foreign language, there are free translation programs available online. One major word of caution, these are literal word translations, if you use them be aware the translation may not be saying what you want it to say. As with colloquial expressions, a translation is not always as it is meant to be understood.

A few more essentials you will need to invest in as soon as possible are style guides and markets guides.

Market guides gives you detailed information about the markets you will be writing for. You will need access to the most current information available. Most market guides have annual editions, You will need to stay current, editors' info changes rapidly.

Here are the first ones I recommend:
Christian Writers' Market Guide 2007: The Essential Reference Tool for the Christian Writer (Christian Writers' Market Guide) by Sally Stuart
2007 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market By Alice Pope
2007 Artist's & Graphic Designer's MarketBy Mary Cox
2007 Writer's MarketBy Robert Brewer

A style guide is basically a rule book for how to write well. Some of the best style guides, which editors base their standards of writing on, are:
The Elements of Style: A Style Guide for Writers by William Strunk Jr.
The Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago Press Staff
The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage : The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World's Most Authoritative Newspaper by Allan M. Siegal and William G. Connolly

As time and budgets permit you'll want to expand your library to include writing reference books as well as books that relate to your particular areas of interest or expertise.

Here are some worthwhile books for writers:
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, Second Edition by Harold D. Underdown
The Essential Writer's Companion: A Concise Guide to Writing Effectively for School, Home, or Office by Editors of The American Heritage Dictionaries
Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches & Proposals by Moira Allen
Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats
The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing by Leonard G. Goss and Carolyn Goss
Childrens Writers Word Book (Children's Writer's Word Book) by Alijandra Mogilner and Tayopa Mogilner
Every Writer's Guide to Copyright & Publishing Law, by Ellen Kozak
How to Write a Book Proposal, by Michael Larsen
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, by Tom and Marilyn Ross
The Self-Publishing Manual, by Dan Poynter
The Portable Writer's Conference, edited by Stephen Mettee

Here are three must reads for writers, (IMHO). They all have been out for many years so you can find used copies for minimal expense. I have read them many times over. Hope you enjoy them as well. They are:
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Good reading and writing.