Another rejection

Another rejection. Such is the life of a freelance writer. I submitted a devotional to The Upper Room last June. After eight months, I had forgotten about it. Yesterday I received an e-mail telling me my piece had not been selected for use in the daily devotional publication.

The devotional I submitted in June was about Mary and Martha in the Bible and my sister and me. The way my sister and I interact with one another and many of our personality traits remind me of Mary and Martha.

I am disappointed that my work was not accepted for publication. It would have been helpful if I had been given a reason for the rejection so I would know where I failed. The number of submissions The Upper Room receives prevents critiques.

I will probably try again sometime, when I think I have something worthwhile to contribute. It takes patience to try to write for magazines or daily devotional publications. The lead time is months long or even one year. Like happened in this instance, one can forget about a submission by the time a piece is accepted or rejected by the publisher or editor.

A Possible Piedmont NC Postcard Book?

With my deadline met with Arcadia Publishing on Thursday, I breathed a little easier over the weekend. I shopped for some postcards with a couple of future books in mind. Today I organized 230+ postcards for possible inclusion in a book of vintage postcards from the piedmont region of North Carolina.

I also searched the 2014 “Writer’s Market” book for magazines to submit articles to about several history topics I have in mind. It’s not easy to break into the magazine market. It’s discouraging when you pitch a story idea to an in-state magazine, it gets rejected, and then a few months later a regular contributing writer gets an article published on the very subject you pitched. That’s happened to me twice with the same magazine. That makes me a little hesitant to pitch story ideas to magazines.

I’m back!

When I wrote on Christmas Day that I was ending a chapter in my writing life, I didn’t realize that I would completely drift away from my writing blog. I must be the worst blogger in history. I have good intentions of doing better in the future, but I think I’ve said that before.

Author A.J. Mayhew (The Dry Grass of August) gave me some excellent constructive criticism in January. As a result, I am reviewing my Spanish Coin manuscript with a more critical and educated eye. I’m slowly tightening up the dialog and look for word repetition. At the same time, I’m looking at the landscape and physical space in the manuscript and striving to describe the setting so that my future readers can better visualize Nancy Richardson’s home and the lay of the land in the Waxhaws. It’s tedious work, but I do enjoy it when I can set aside a block of uninterrupted time.

I’m also working on a magazine article proposal about the effect the Civil War had on the Rocky River Presbyterian Church congregation. It’s hard to break in as a freelance writer, so wish me luck!

In February, the Rocky River Readers Book Club read Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. I’d read the book in 2010 but enjoyed reading it again. It’s a compelling story that makes the reader have serious thoughts about our justice system.

Other books I’ve read this year are The Midwife of Venice, by Roberta Rich; Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin; The Shunning, by Beverly Lewis; The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch; Fireflies in December, by Jennifer Erin Valent; and My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira. I recommend all of them to you. If you like historical fiction, My Name is Mary Sutter definitely needs to be on your reading list.

I just finished reading Fireflies in December on my Kindle and look forward to reading the sequels.

There are so many things I want to write about and read about, while sewing, quilting, and crocheting to put new items on Etsy to sell. HickoryRidgeCrafts is taking more of my time than writing lately. I’m struggling to strike a balance.

Too much of a good thing

Our drought and heatwave broke around midnight last night.  After 18 consecutive days of 90 degrees or higher, it was in the pleasant 80s today.

With no rain in weeks, everything in the garden that the deer hadn’t eaten was burned up.  This is the first total garden failure I’ve had.  We caught up on rain today, though.  We had 2.25 inches between 12:15 and 3:00 a.m. and another 2.5 inches between 2:00 and 2:45 p.m. this afternoon.

I got the 2,500-word 1849 meteorite article drafted for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, but I need to do some editing before I pitch the idea to the almanac.

Tonight I proofread and submitted my seven-part “Did You Know?” newspaper series to the editor of Harrisburg Horizons weekly newspaper. 

I didn’t finish reading The Testament, by John Grisham for the Rocky River Readers Book Club, but I went to the discussion on Monday night. I want to finish it, even though I know the ending. I hate to leave a book unfinished.

I’m reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel for the Bookends Book Club.  I’m also reading Words That Hurt, Words That Heal:  How to Choose Words Wisely and Well, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer

Making time to write has been a challenge this week.  I haven’t gotten enough sleep, a carpenter or painter has been here everyday, breathing paint fumes, poor air quality outdoors due to this heat wave….  It has been difficult to sit down at the computer and put any words “on paper.”

My goal for today is to take the research I did for a series of newspaper columns about an 1849 meteorite and write a 2,500-word piece to pitch to an almanac.

I entered the opening pages of my manuscript of The Spanish Coin in a writing contest this spring.  Two of the three critiques I received in return were disappointing.  It is taking me a while to get pysched up to work on that project again.

I’m currently reading The Testament, by John Grisham.  Other recent good reads:  The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (my new all-time favorite book!), The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake, several Jodi Picoult books, and Not My Daughter, by Barbara Delinsky.

It’s time for me to get to work on that meteorite piece.