Yes, loyal followers, it is true. I have taken to flirting. Flirting with writing. Gone are the days when I would betroth myself to just one. Once upon a time it was all about walking. Then we parted company and I found a new love in volunteering. That, too, fizzled out, and I started to hang around with mental heath and women’s things. Those girls are seriously deep. I needed some relief. All too soon my attention started to wander again until I became distracted by shiny, handsome things. Flighty characters who are impulsive.
Recklessly, I have visited new places. New spaces where complete strangers pay for my services and clap when I perform well. Spaces which excite me, make me laugh, make me cry and are sometimes just plain silly.
Metaphorically speaking of course.
But I want you to show you some of this new life I have discovered.
But we like it here
I know you do. And I like it here too.
You, my loyal followers are fantastic, but you mostly keep She Wordsmiths to yourselves. It is like I am your guilty secret. This place is like a house with no doors. It is just us inside. Unless I invite a new one to our fold, we stay together as a little closed commune. Reading our stories together. Some of you don’t even want others to know that you have She Wordsmiths on your bookshelf. You maybe don’t even want me to know. And that is absolutely fine. Not everyone admitted to reading 50 Shades. This is not even 10 shades though is it?
But, the thing is this. While you have faithfully stuck by me, there is something I really need to tell you.
I have been unfaithful
Yes it is true. It is a secret I cannot keep any longer. I am not monogamous. You see, sometimes I flirt with other publications – and other readers too. My latest conquest was Travel Africa. It took some time, but eventually they succumbed and together we created a baby – this baby!
And I intend flirting with writing some more.
This piece was one of two journalistic style articles I wrote, just days after coming home from a photography trip with Ann & Steve Toon. The second flirtation was picked up within hours, by someone who said they really wanted me. Right now they have become like the one night stand who doesn’t text back, but I am patient. I think that romance will be a slow burner. They already suggested regular liaisons.
Travel is in my bones. And now I have a bank of super images, I hope it won’t be hard to try and tease a few more publications with my stories. But there is a limit, and I know the competition is hot.
Menopause and periods, now that is an entirely different game. Who wants to date a writer who talks about tampons and the messy stuff all the time? Are stomach cramps and mental health going to be best sellers any time soon?
So why Medium?
This no word of a lie but he was somebody else’s guy. I spotted him from afar. I decided to take a closer look and I liked what I saw. So I asked around and it seems others also thought he was a decent sort. Though his calendar gets very full. After all, he has a LOT of dates to manage.
Medium is described by Wikipedia as an online publishing platform created by Evan Williams, previous co-founder of Twitter and Blogger. This example of social journalism, has opened up a whole new world of opportunity to writers. Whether amateur or professional, it provides an accessible space to create – and to be remunerated for their efforts.
Back in the real world and it was this combination of professional journalism, contributor and reader content that caught my attention.
I cannot deny, I also have to eat. So when someone offers to pay me for my work, I am not going to refuse it. It’s not huge. Not even a decent hourly rate. But it’s a few cents I wouldn’t have had by keeping my stories between us. In this secret place we share right here. And you still have to work damned hard for it.
Essentially there are three main ways to get noticed:
1. As an individual
I get to keep my own identity and can float around the entire space, hopefully picking up a few followers along the way. This way to the She Wordsmiths party. You can’t rely on this unless you can convince your own network to part with the cost of a cup of coffee, once a month, to read a magazine anytime they want to.
2. Write for a publication
The problem with the individual approach is your best piece may still be missed among the many thousands being published. But get accepted into a publication and you are now at their party, with their readers. Still an individual with your own identity, but you get to go to their parties where they show you off.
3. Get invited to the after party
This is a bit like being pulled out of the queue into the concert and given a free pass to the VIP lounge. Once published, any ‘story’ you tell gets a once over by the bouncers. Actually they are officially called curators. Anyway, if they decide you deserve to be placed front and centre, they select an suitable VIP area and get you straight in. Front row.
So far I have been at the FOOD after party three times, the TRAVEL after party, the PARENTING after party (that irony was not lost I can tell you) and the HUMOR after party.
Celebrating little wins
To have even one of the above to happen to your article is great. To get a double is massive. My confidence is growing. And I am trying out new things too.
We often hear about TV shows which are a hit in the UK, but flop in the States. The same can be said of writing. I find myself checking my phraseology. And even my dictionary. Not always, but if I am aiming at an American audience with a particular piece, then I will take heed not to go too dialect or regional.
I don’t consider myself funny at all and would never have dreamed of writing something satirical or humorous. But I find fellow Medium writers so very supportive and encouraging. And so I flirt with fun too.
Take this example. A winner on both sides of the Atlantic and accepted by the MuddyUm publication. It also was curated into TWO topics. Travel and Humour.
I have now been flirting with writing for less than three weeks and I am already starting to see results. Writing every day is my aim. I am also gaining in confidence, teaching myself not to worry whether this one will fly or fail because I learn from it. I still have to work at growing my network. That is hugely time consuming in any arena.
Can we still be friends?
But the simple truth is I do need to expand my social circle. I need to find more places where flirting with writing is acceptable. I want to experiment. And most of all I want to share my stories – and there are so many people who haven’t found me yet.
But that doesn’t mean you and I have to be over. In fact our adventure together has really only just begun. It’s time to open the door and let everyone in. Go get ’em team! And remember to bring your friends.
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