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dawnweinberger.com
Dawn Weinberger, Freelance Writer

Make it happen, or someone else will

March 11th, 2010

Ten years ago, my husband and I had an idea. Our idea was ahead of its time. We mapped out our strategy and spent a ton of time working on it. But then we ran into road blocks, and we started to feel apprehensive about the project. So we let it go. A few years later, we realized that the idea was actually a pretty cool one. Such a cool idea, in fact, that a ton of other people started doing the same exact thing we had planned to do.

I often find myself wishing we hadn’t given up.

Today, I’m in a similar position. I have a list of ideas … projects I could start up on my own with essentially no cost (aside from my own time). I think about them a lot, but my enthusiasm ebbs and flows. This is a problem, because it keeps me from starting said projects. And if I never start them, they will never come to fruition … until someone else makes it happen, that is.

Competitor magazine debuts this month!

March 9th, 2010

If you happen to see the March 2010 issue of Competitor Magazine’s Pacific Northwest edition, be sure to pick up a copy. My friend Megan McMorris signed on as editor earlier this year, just in time for the magazine’s re-launch. I’m super-impressed with the publication … it has tons of great info on running, cycling and other endurance sports. My favorite piece in the magazine is on page 13, where Megan discusses the new leash law in Portland’s Forest Park. I just love, love, the story’s headline: If you like it then you should have put a leash on it (if you don’t get the reference, it is probably time to update your running playlist).

I didn’t write anything for this issue, but I did get to contribute to the April issue (which will be out in a few weeks!).

Revising my children’s story (again)

March 4th, 2010

So, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks researching children’s lit agents and trying to learn as much as I can about the process. And while I have pretty much decided which agent I will query first, I also know that my story is by no means ready for submission. In other words, a major revision is in process. I suspect this won’t be the last time I revise, either.

Double standards in the magazine industry

March 2nd, 2010

Did you see this piece on Gawker.com last week? The gist of the story: Conde Nast is suing an advertiser for late payment. The irony, though, is that certain Conde Nast publications are known to do the same thing (i.e. not pay on time) to freelance writers. While I’ve only written for Conde Nast once or twice and haven’t had a problem, I’ve heard story after story from other writers who say they have had to wait months (sometimes even a year or more!) for checks. Independent writers generally don’t have the resources to fight back, so we sit and wait. And wait and wait.

Happiness … with or without children

February 25th, 2010

Check out my latest contribution to Exercising Happiness, a blog about consciously activating a happy path to life. In this post, I address my thoughts on happiness and parenthood (or in my case, non-parenthood).

Current projects

February 23rd, 2010

This week, I am …

• Finishing up a news story for a sports/recreation magazine.
• Writing a guest post for Exercising Happiness.
• Working on a story about the liver and alcohol abuse for a health/wellness web site.
• Making a list of agents to approach, and continuing to revise my children’s story.

My children’s story

February 18th, 2010

Almost three years ago, I started working on a children’s story. Writing a book for kids was never really on my goals list … but an idea presented itself and I decided to run with it (the idea is a story in and of itself — one that I’ll save for later). It was a slow process, but I finally finished my first draft a few months ago. I’ve been revising off and on since then, and yesterday I finally got the point where said to myself ‘OK, time to pursue the next step.’

The next step, of course, is looking for an agent (an agent who will most likely ask me to make more revisions). I don’t know much about this process, so I’m learning as I go. I’m creating lists of possibilities, scouring the SCBWI web site for ideas, reading blogs and doing whatever else I need to do to figure it all out. I’m prepared for a long process, and while I am hoping I find a great agent who sells the story to a top-tier publisher who in turn sells the book to millions of people — I also realize that it might not (er, probably won’t) happen this way. And actually, I’m not sure how it will happen … so I’m just going to work hard and have fun with it!

Blind ads

February 16th, 2010

Lately, I’ve noticed a common theme on craigslist, particularly under the ‘writing gigs’ and ‘writing/editing’ categories. The common theme is this: the organization posting the ad doesn’t identify itself, yet they expect the applicants to send in their resumes, writing samples, references and (in some cases) even ideas!

I would never dream of responding to one of these ads, and neither would the majority of my professional writer friends. For one thing, sending ideas to an unknown source is always a terrible idea. And references?? Yeah, right — like I’m going to send my favorite editor’s e-mail address and phone number off to who knows where! As for writing samples, that might not seem like that big a deal on the surface — but how am I to know that this organization isn’t just going to take my story and run it on their blog or in their newsletter (hey, it happens — and it happens A LOT) without telling me or compensating me?

This is how I see it: if a publication or organization wants to hire a quality writer, they owe potential contributors the courtesy of telling them who they are and what type of writing they publish. Then, we can decide if we are interested in pursuing the gig without spending (i.e. wasting) a bunch of time sending in our personal information to an unknown source. It’s a better way to go, for all involved.

A milestone!

February 12th, 2010

Those who know me know that I am very passionate about the topic of liver health, as my husband used to have a genetic liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis. For more than a year, I’ve been pitching story after story on various aspects of the liver and liver health to different editors — but until this week interest has been, well, nonexistent. Finally, however, I was given the opportunity to write a story on liver health for one of my favorite longtime clients. I’m hopeful that this will be the first of many stories on this subject. The liver is something people need to know more about!

American Liver Foundation on Facebook and Twitter

February 9th, 2010

I’m loving my new gig, managing Twitter and Facebook for the Pacific Northwest Division of the American Liver Foundation. I’ve already made a couple of really great connections with people/organizations that I wouldn’t have made otherwise. And to think that only a year ago I was a social media hold out (I only joined Facebook because all my friends were doing it, and I felt left out — I had no idea I would like it so much and actually use it in my work life).

Anyway, I hope you’ll become a Facebook Fan or follow us on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @ALFPacNW.