7 February 2009 - 11:19Starting Again

As I may have mentioned, my life went to hell for a while.  Life does that.  If you are a working writer whose survival depends on writing, things like this can sometimes shift you into a higher gear.  But when everything is on spec, and you are just building your contacts and your portfolio of work, it can stop you dead.  Because when life goes to hell, especially if the situation is even vaguely threatening, your brain is hard-wired to concentrate on SURVIVAL.

But now I’ve got a big distraction out of my way, and I’m working on the restart.  I’ve decided that I really am going to start over.  I’m going to take some courses at the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, among other things.

But first I’ve got to fund my own fellowship.  So my concentration for spring is going to be money money money.  I also need something that I missed in learning my craft the first time around.  Pulp.

My first writing hero, Donald Westlake, died recently.  I remember reading interviews with him in which he talked about sweating over a typewriter at half penny a word, writing for the pulps to support his family.  And the same turned out to be true for many of my favorite writers, over and over again. They started in journalism, they started in pulps.  Sometimes those first writing jobs had very little to do with what they were later great at — but the crappy writing job gave them strengths and skills that you can’t get any other way.  Other than sweating it out for a half penny here and half penny there.

So for the next few months, my spare energy is going to go into writing little how to articles for eHow.com.   I don’t expect to get much money out of it, but I do expect to revive my concentration and discipline.  And what money I do get can help fund my fellowship.

More about what I expect to get out of writing articles next time.  For now I’ll just post a link to a couple of my first eHow articles:

See ya in the funny papers…..

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