TVNewser Jobs PRNewser Jobs AgencySpy Jobs SocialTimes Jobs

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Bestselling Author J. Courtney Sullivan Talks About Writing

chapters2Earlier this week we attended the WiCi Awards presented to rising stars in communications by New York Women in Communications (NYWICI). New York Times bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan was among the honorees.

We sat down with the Brooklyn resident to hear how she juggled a day job with writing as well as rejections (yes, even bestselling authors get rejected).

MediaJobsDaily: So many of our readers have a day job and a novel inside them trying to bust loose. How did you originally pursue your path?

J. Courtney Sullivan: When I was writing my first novel, Commencement, I worked at the New York Times, I was a researcher for Bob Herbert, one of the op-ed columnists there. I wrote for the paper and I also had previously worked at a women’s magazine, Allure. So, I still wrote for Allure and a lot of other women’s magazines, freelancing. My fiction writing was something I really only had time to do on the weekends, sometimes at night after work and it was really just kind of like a labor of love, it was something I had to do on my free time.

It wasn’t until that Commencement was published and that I had sold Maine to my publisher that I then left and since then it’s been my full-time job. I wrote all of Commencement and the first half of Maine while I had a full-time job.

MJD: How did you deal with rejections?

JCS: I’ve had no rejection ever, just kidding. Rejection is just part of the game and it never ends. I think all of the earlier rejections you get are toughening you up for later on.  I think they’re really important. I submitted countless short stories to literary magazines, never did I have one published. I received so many rejection letters I can wallpaper this room with them. I still have a lot of them and the difference between a form rejection letter and one that was written by hand, “We like this but it wasn’t for us, keep sending us things” — that would just make your week.

There’s good rejections and there’s bad rejections. I would have those good rejections – I still have them in a box under my bed. But even now I’ve published three novels but I pitch things all the time – a magazine story or a newspaper story that just doesn’t work for some reason. Or I write a whole section of a novel before I realize these 100 pages just aren’t going anywhere.

You can add to that bad reviews or any level of rejection. There’s never going to be an artistic experience that’s totally positive, that everyone loves and adores. You just have to kind of accept it.

MJD: Let’s talk about your book, The Engagements, being made into a movie. Any involvement with it?

JCS: I’m really not involved. Occasionally they’ll ask me a question but for the most part, I have nothing to do with it which I’m actually pretty happy with. I’m primarily interested in writing fiction and I’m excited to be onto the next novel. I’m excited to see what they do with the book. I don’t know when it’s coming out yet but I think it’s the kind of thing where — being a lover of books and movies and seeing so many movie adaptations of books, some great and some not so great — I think you kind of have to give it over and just know it’s a totally different thing.

MJD: What’s your next book about?

JCS: An Irish Catholic family in which the matriarch has passed away and her six kids and her long-lost sister all come back together and drama ensues.

Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on Janaury 27  at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

‘Word Crimes’ Spoofs Robin Thicke & Gets Grammar Spot-On

If you’ve ever cringed at the sight of a typo (especially your own), raise your hand! That’s why this video is oh-so-perfect for media folks like us.

“Weird Al” Yankovic spoofs Robin Thicke’s hit, “Blurred Lines,” and comes up with some pretty witty prose. Without impeccable grammar and clean copy, how could we properly do our jobs? Seriously.

How Adopting A Uniform Could Help Your Freelance Career

MinimalismFreelancers who work from home understand the need to minimize better than most. When you’re constantly surrounded by your own junk, the endless distractions can become paralyzing and your work may suffer as a result.

So how can freelancers create a minimalist lifestyle? One of the easiest things to do is to adopt a daily uniform. In the latest Mediabistro feature, one freelancer shares her story about how simplifying her life helped her writing:

I love a comfortable, practical pajama as much as the next freelancer, but I’ve found that having a set uniform has two powerful results: First, I don’t waste any time deciding what to wear. I grab one of two black shirts, and one of my two pairs of pants. I don’t have to rifle through hanger after hanger in my closet, because I’ve whittled down my wardrobe to about 20 items — shoes included, gender stereotypes be damned. And because I wear my uniform during work hours, I get the satisfaction of changing into my beloved sweatpants at the end of the day. The other result of my simplified wardrobe is that I take myself seriously. If those in offices are told to dress for the job they’re striving to have, where does that leave freelancers?

For more on how this writer simplified mind and matter, read: The Minimalist Freelance Life.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How To Hone Your Specialty As A Freelance Writer

specializingHaving a specialty as writer is a huge advantage in the cutthroat world of freelancing. It can help distinguish you from you peers and create new work opportunities for you to showcase your skills.

Establishing your expertise is key to developing your reputation. It’s also important to make sure the community is aware of your work. Veteran freelancers agree that in order to do that, networking with other writers is key:

Getting your name and face out into the world can be intimidating, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do it. Start by having your byline out there, Rae Francoeur operater of the New Arts Collaborative suggests. Also, consider writer’s conferences, book expos and blog conventions. Camilla McLaughlin, a real estate writer, connects with local editors and homeowners and attends trade shows to keep her finger on the pulse of real estate.

To hear more tips on how to enhance your writing career, including when you should decline a gig, read: Growing Your Writing Career By Becoming A Specialist.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How To Be A Successful Writer

Terry McMillan has had the kind of success most aspiring writers only dream of. After two semi-successful first novels, McMillan hit the jackpot with her 1992 classic Waiting to Exhale, which remained on the New York Times Bestseller list for more than nine months and cemented her status as the queen of contemporary African American literature. She went on to write five more acclaimed novels and served as screenwriter/executive producer on three films based on her work (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Disappearing Acts and Waiting to Exhale). In the latest installment of So What Do You Do?, she tells Mediabistro how she creates unforgettable characters and why up-and-coming writers truly need to love the craft:

You’ve had such a long and successful career, what advice do you have for a new writer who wants to break into the industry and have the kind of longevity that you’ve had?
Well, I think first and foremost, they don’t need to think of it that way. I think that’s a big mistake. Do you think when I wrote my first book, Mama, in 1987, that I was thinking, “Oh, I want to have a long writing career?” No. This is not a job. It’s not that. [Writing is] not a career to me. It’s what I do. And to me there’s a difference, you know? But I would suggest that young writers take the craft very seriously [and] not worry about fame. But read. Everything. And I do mean everything. Take some writing classes. And they’ll know if this is what they really are compelled to do. But it shouldn’t be an ambition. “I want to be a famous writer;” “I want to be a bestselling author.” Those are the wrong reasons for doing this. And if those are your motives, chances are it won’t happen.

To get more advice from McMillan, read So What Do You Do, Terry McMillan, New York Times Best Selling Author?

–Aneya Fernando