Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monthly Writing Goals for July/Progress for June

Last month, I blogged about my Monthly Writing Goals for June. I'm happy to say I met those writing goals! I have 52 pages completed on my Jane Austen solo project (I wanted to have 50 pages done.)

Also, I got my article published on So it was a great month for me.

My monthly writing goals for July? I'm keeping it simple, because this is a busy month for me.

First, I'd like to have 60 pages completed on my Jane Austen solo project.

Second, I'd like to establish a presence on Associated Content. I'm going to submit the article I wrote for Bootsnall, to Associated Content. In this way, I'll get extra "mileage" out of all that work and research I put into the article. Associated Content pays writers a small fee, for each article.

I'll be giving non exclusive rights to use the story on their website, just as I did with Bootsnall. This way, I can submit or sell the same story to a variety of websites or print media, getting a lot of value from one story.

I like the idea of non exclusive rights; it takes so much time and research to write an article, you might as well maximize your profits (that's my opinion anyway.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I got published on!

I just found out today that an article I wrote got published on the website Bootsnall. I submitted the article (with photos) about three weeks ago. I was supposed to get an email when my story got published on their website, but I didn't see one yet. So after three weeks passed, I started checking the site, looking under "50 Most Recent Stories." Today, I saw my story there, it's the first one on the list!

Here's the link for my article on Bootsnall:

It's called "Where Art Meets Industry: A look at Hudson, New York" by Allison West.

Visitors to the site post in the Bootsnall travel forums about recent articles, so I'm looking forward to getting some feedback about my article.

This means I met my monthly writing goals for June 2007! I'm very happy about that.

Monday, July 9, 2007

My Life in Art

This past week, over the July 4th holiday, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life. I think it’s good sometimes to take stock of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you might be going.

I came to the conclusion that instead of thinking about myself in terms of labeling, like “I’m a writer” or “I’m an actor”, I’m just going to think of myself as an artist, or a creative entity. I find that very freeing. It frees me up to be very creative every day, in a variety of ways. It frees me to seek other sources of creative fulfillment and not to feel guilty if I don't spend all my time on acting/writing.

When I was very young, I wanted to write. I wanted to be a “writer.” Then I got on stage, and the acting bug bit. I dropped writing, and wanted to be an “actor.” During those times, I was always very creative in lots of other ways, too. I painted, sketched, did crafts and embroidery, and a bit of sewing. But I tended to discount those pursuits in my hunt to “be somebody”, as either an actor or a writer.

Now I see that all that creative activity was the stuff of life, and very important to my artist self. I’ve recently had some urges to go back to painting, drawing and crafting, so I think I’m going to pursue it.

And not feel guilty or torn, because it is time taken away from my writing and acting goals.

In fact, I think I’m going to study graphic and web design at a small local college in the valley.

Until now, I’ve lived my life doing day jobs that did not at all reflect my artistic interests and abilities. I’d try to do my acting and writing on the side, using the nonartistic jobs to support myself. Recently, I had an important realization. It occurred to me that it could take years? for my writing, to pay enough to support me. Meanwhile, I’m doing work as a “day job” that is not satisfying or meaningful to me.

I really put off going back to school for a more interesting career, because I thought it would take time away from my acting/writing goals. But now I see the light, so to speak. It would be worth it to develop an artistic career, that could run as a sort of “parallel career” that supports my writing and acting.

For me, that is graphic/web design. What other “parallel careers” might be good for freelance writers? Teaching, for one: school teacher, teacher aide/assistant or college professor, mainly because of summers off to travel and write, and school vacations. Salaries for teacher assistants are very low in upstate NY, so I chose not to pursue that path. I’ve always wanted to work for a non-profit, in fundraising and development. Writing skills are very important in the non-profit world.

I feel that graphic and web design is a great fit for me, with my writing. I’ve seen ads for "writers wanted" that ask for graphic design skills. Designing websites and writing the content for them would be a very creative day job.

I haven’t done any drawing in a long time! So this summer I’m looking into some art classes.

The Arts Center of the Greater Hudson Valley has a variety of painting and drawing classes, and Betsy Jacaruso Studio (located in the Chocolate Factory in Red Hook ) offers watercolor and drawing classes.

Monday, July 2, 2007

My Adventures on AuthorsDen

I’ve heard it said that July is the happiest month. July is the height of summer, which means lots of sunshine, warmth, and daylight. I’m not at all a winter person. For me, winters are a challenge. Especially that stretch from January to March, when it’s always very dark and cold here. So I’m really loving this time of year, it’s so beautiful here in the valley. July 2nd is the halfway point of the year. The year’s half done, which makes me think about my writing goals. June was actually a very productive month for me. If I can be as productive during July, I’ll be very happy.

A few months ago, I came across a website called AuthorsDen. I was looking for a site where I could post my work in an online portfolio, until I could build my own site to showcase my writing. I registered with them back in April, but didn’t actually post anything until June. My personal page at the site is:

AuthorsDen is a large online community where authors can post their work to be read and reviewed by readers. It’s completely free to register as a reader or as an author. Authors can also promote their current projects. If you are creating a writing portfolio, in order to activate your personal AuthorsDen page, you have to first post a brief bio. There are different levels of membership. Free membership will entitle you to post a few articles and stories. If you’d like to post more than that, then there are various levels of paying memberships.

I’m loving this site. In fact, it’s all been an incredible adventure for me. This is the first time my work has been out there, for a large number of people to read and review. It’s pretty exciting. One thing that confused me—my account says “pending activation”, meaning it wouldn’t go live until I had posted a bio and three articles or stories. I just have a bio and one article posted, yet my page is very much alive.

Since posting my article on June 7th, I’m approaching 200 page views. (you can review your personal page stats once you are logged into your member account.) My bio has been viewed almost 50 times, too. My article was also one of the most popular articles in the Travel section last month. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around all that. As I said, this is the first time my work has really been out there. I’m so glad that an article I worked so hard on is being read by, what feels to me like so many people. AuthorsDen says they have about one million visitors a month, and that’s a lot of exposure for my writing. I plan to add more articles and stories and if all goes well, I’ll join as a paying member. I’ll keep my AuthorsDen page, even when I have an official site, because of the great promotion AuthorsDen offers its writers.

What do I mean by promotion? Well to give an example, if I were to search for my name using Google, it would return a lot of results, because I have a relatively common name. Now that I’m on AuthorsDen, my AuthorsDen page is the third result, right near the top, when I search for my name. Pretty impressive! Plus, when I googled Hudson, New York, and some of the art galleries and restaurants there, my article posted on AuthorsDen (that’s about the City of Hudson) would come up high in the results too, time after time. I see that as quite an advantage to being on the site.

The only disadvantage? Well, all the revenues from Google Adsense and other advertisements on my AuthorsDen pages, goes to AuthorsDen. They need content, and I provide them with content in exchange for having a place to hold my writing portfolio. I retain the rights to my published and unpublished stories and articles I place on the site. They just promote my content. They are gathering ad revenues from my work though. That’s fine, it’s part of the agreement. But it makes me think I definitely want to have my own site where I can post my work and can receive ad revenues from my page.

I definitely think AuthorsDen is worth your consideration, especially if you are a new writer, looking to get your work out there for the first time. And there’s great networking opportunities there, too.