Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Busy Bee Brewster

Let me start by apologizing for not being as active in this blog. It may sound funny, being unemployed and all, but I’ve actually been stretching myself a little thin of late.

For starters I’ve been writing a lot of celebrity related news items. You see, being unemployed, I have a little time on my hands, and I asked the executive producer of Blogcritics what I could do to help the site. While I was thinking more along the lines of editing, or perhaps doing PR, the response I got was that they needed more news stories.

Of course, I , and most bloggers, can’t really get the “hard” news first. I don’t have sources, and I wouldn’t know the first thing about investigative reporting, but I am able to take fresh news stories, analyze them and try to write about them from a fresh angle.

Truth be known, you couldn’t pay me to write about religion or politics, and I really don’t follow national or world news enough to write intelligently about it. However, I am a pop culture junkie and so I’ve claimed that as my racket.

It’s pretty cheesy to be writing fluff pieces about Screech getting mugged or Jessica Simpson getting dissed by Britney Spear’s belly, but it brings tons of traffic to Blogcritics and, honestly, they are kind of fun to write. I try not to be snarky or hateful, but write these things with tongue-in-cheek and make people laugh.

Beyond that silliness I have also started a new web site with a bunch of writing buddies. We call it The Mondo Project and it is kind of similar to Midnight Café Discussions, in that it features longer, well thought out essays mixed with a bit of off-the-cuff banter. Although we focus mainly on music and movies.

I have also started a new blog, Bootleg Nation, which I hope to cover my obsession with live concert recordings.

The point here being that I have been doing an awful lot of writing lately, and trying to piece together a few site designs as well. All of which has kept me from being as active here. And maybe to introduce my new sites and give a heads up as to what I’ve been doing with myself.


bigsip said...

Brew, have you ever considered writing articles for money?

It's really pretty easy and you're good enough to do a little freelance.

Write some articles on what you are interested in/passionate about, submit to magazines, and get some money, bro!

I'll tell you how I do it.

1. Go to the sites of mags you like and look at their material if they have free stuff. If not, go to the library/bookstore and read through.

2. Find their submission guidelines online or in their pubs.

3. Write an article or articles that fits their criterion e.g. word count, subject matter, etc.

4. Write query letters explaining what you wrote and send it to the pubs to see if they might be interested.

5. If they say, "Yes." send them the article.

6. They'll either email/call you and tell you they like the article, but fix some stuff or they'll contact you to tell you they can't use your material.

7. If they don't want it, sub to another mag!

Anyway, you are working hard and I know you like it, but I personally feel like you have a shot at getting published and making a few bucks, too!

Heck, if I can do it, I know you can!

Anyway, I admire you for writing so prolifically and I feel like you should use your talent and abilities toward making a little moolah.

Try it, you'll like it!

Brewster said...

Where have you been published? I know about the family magazine, but was there somewhere else too?

I have been thinking about this very thing. The more I write the more I want to do this for a living. It's a little scary thinking about it. But I know its just taking that first step.

Brewster said...

This is also why you haven't seen a different version of Midnightcafe Discussions out there. I actually did work on moving our "pro" posts to a new blog, but then all these other ones started and I slacked off.

Honestly, The MOndo Project is exactly what I wanted to be involved and it is slowly taking off.

bigsip said...

I have a couple of articles that should be coming out in Celebrating Greyhounds and Outdoor Alabama and I had a feature article requested from Alabama Heritage.

I also have a short story up for possible publication in Writer's Digest.

You just have to try, my friend.

However, I wouldn't necessarily jump into freelance writing with both feet. It takes time to build clientele and it's something you usually have to do on the side until you get enough money rolling to make it worthwhile.

It's all about starting small and building up i.e. get another day job, write, submit, get paid, start developing clients, get money rolling, go freelance, etc.

Either way, I think you should start submitting stuff, man!

mullinz8 said...

I’ve always wanted to get into the freelance travel writers gig. Right now I just don’t have the time to commit to it because of this freakin full time job, mixed blessing right Brew?

Sipper is right. Brew I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if you don’t take the chance to try your hand at some “real” writing you’re going to kick your self for it.

I know the blog stuff is “real” because it is sharpening your craft but if you could do it and make something of a living you’d be foolish not to try. Tongue-in-cheek is in vogue right now and you are the master of such stylized commentary. I think you need to write more outside of your element and breakdown the comfort barrier. If for no other reason that it shows a publisher you’ve got range, depth and skill.

By the way, Sipper I’m proud that you’re continuing to move forward with your varies styles of writing.

Brewster said...

That's awesome, Sip.

I have just begun to seriously look at places to write for, and think of ways to make money from writing.

I know it is a long haul and I've been working on step one which is to be more organized and write all the time. I've always blogged when the mood struck, but if I'm serious then I need a schedule and need a lot more output.

So yes, I'm trying to find a way.

bigsip said...

I encourage you to try to get into writing, but in order to get a writing gig that's permanent, you have to build up published clips.

Like I said, you might want to go on and get a job, then start trying to get articles, essays, etc. published. Once you have a good portfolio of published clips to show a paper or mag, you'll have a much better chance of getting a writing job with a publication.

If I've discovered nothing else in the time I've tried to get published it is that it's something of a difficult Catch 22.

As most published writers and publishers will tell you, "You can't get published unless you've been published."

In other words, you have to start small, sometimes you have to write for free, and it generally takes 2 or more years to establish enough clips to even show on a publisher's radar as a faint blip.

I'm not trying to discourage you. On the contrary, I'm encouraging you to pursue writing. I'm just trying to prepare you for how difficult and nasty and laborious it can be. However, when you get that first thing published, you'll be hooked, my friend!

So, go for it! Just tread carefully and give it time. Becoming a freelancer or publications columnist/editor happens over months and years, not overnight.

BTW, thanks for the encouragement, guys. I write as much as posible and it takes lots of time, research, and work. But, I love it and it seems to be paying off!

Brewster said...

I pretty much understand all that. I'm definitely looking for a "real" job to pay the bills for many years.

I've created a little file on possible publication places, have set up a writing schedule and so forth.

I know no one has respect for blogs, but I'm already establishing contacts in the entertainment industry. Not publishers, but PR folks who send free review material.
Which isnt' exactly the same, but it is a start and it is pretty darn cool.

Jamison said...

No one may have respect for blogs as you say, but I hear them brought up all the time on talk radio, the news (local and national) and even quoted on TV...

Brewster said...

I meant none of you guys take them seriously. Or seem to anyway.

The real world definitely does.

bigsip said...

I don't think it's that people don't have respct for blogs as much as the fact that everyone has one.

It just makes it harder for one to stand out above others and maintain that outstanding position.

But, you've definitely come a long way in that respect.