WMBTSD Giveaway Day Eight: September 8, 2007

Today’s giveaway is: September 8th: The Practicing Writer’s Directory of Paying Essay Markets E-book by Erika Dreifus and The Practicing Writer’s Directory of No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions E-book by Erika Dreifus.

Hey, cool. Some truly useful e-books by a super-resourceful writer, Erika Dreifus. Let’s learn more about her.

Since early 2004 Erika Dreifus has edited and published “The Practicing Writer,” a free monthly newsletter for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction on the craft and business of writing. To provide market news, resources, and related information between newsletter issues, Erika also maintains a blog, Practicing Writing. Erika’s own fiction, articles, essays, and book reviews have appeared in many publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, Family Tree Magazine, Lilith, The Missouri Review, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and The Chattahoochee Review, where Erika is a contributing editor. Although she’s not officially a “Writer Mama,” she’s a devoted “Writer Auntie” and proud presence in the lives of her sister’s two young children and the children of her cousins.

display_thumbnail.jpegThe Practicing Writer’s Directory of Paying Essay Markets E-book has detailed listings of publications (including anthologies) that pay for essays on a variety of topics and publish their pay rates and terms online. Updated in May 2007 (includes more than 120 markets!).

display_thumbnail-1.jpegThe Practicing Writer’s Directory of No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions E-book has

If you prefer pursuing those contest possibilities that don’t require an “entry fee,” “processing fee,” or “reading fee,” this guide is for you. Updated in Summer 2007 and detailing 266 opportunities that can lead to cash prizes, publication, grants, and other career-enhancing awards, it supports the work of writers at every level and in multiple genres. Chapters include:

  • Ten Tips for Getting Started
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction
  • Plays
  • Children’s Literature
  • Multiple/Alternating Genres
  • Fellowships/Residencies/Conferences
  • Student Opportunities (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Teacher Opportunities
  • Emergency Funds for Writers

Plus additional references and worksheets!

Here’s the question for you to answer to win both e-books:

Are you a “practicing writer”? What does the description mean to you?

If you are new around here, jump on in! But read “Station Identification” first.

[Keep the comments coming on this post, even though I’ll be approving them intermittently tomorrow and not doing the next drawing until Sunday.]

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32 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Eight: September 8, 2007”


  1. 1 Elizabeth September 8, 2007 at 5:40 am

    Great question! I consider myself a “practicing writer” in both senses. Everything I write is practice — a chance to exercise old skills and reinforce new ones. I’m also “practicing” in the sense that a doctor practices medicine. I practice writing by being a writer, by writing every day, by sending my work out for comment and (I hope) publication.

  2. 2 Renee Roberson September 8, 2007 at 5:41 am

    I am proud to call myself a practicing writer. Not only that, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have to join the twenty-first century when it comes to keeping up with the latest technology. I’ve dabbled in html and blogging this year, things I never thought I’d have to do as a writer. All I ever thought I needed was a typewriter and inspiration! I really feel to be a “practicing” writer these days, you need a willingness to keep up with current trends and practice submitting your writing in all kinds of places to build up credentials and boost your resume. Maybe I’ll sleep sometime in the next five years . . .

  3. 3 JulieP September 8, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Practicing writer… yes. But who isn’t? My husband, a math and real estate guy, “practices.” He often asks me questions related e-mails and business letteers: Is this right? Does this sentence make sense? What does this paragraph say to you?

    As a former elementary teacher, we practiced daily. In fact, I help my 4 year old journal, and we practice his letters (or, at least, try). Which makes kids of all ages “practicing writers.”

    So, yes, I’m a practicing writer. Perhaps in a different way. But as long as we’re writing. We’re all practicing. You never know what your pen, or his or her pen, will end up writing at the end of the day.

  4. 4 Andrea McMann September 8, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Sometimes I feel like all I do is practice! I write all the time, but sometimes, I’ll write a couple of pages, then I’ll look back and think, “This is stupid.” My friend who is a songwriter and I were talking about this problem just last night. She said sometimes she gets up in the middle of the night with a song in her head and writes it all out. Then in the morning, the song sounds really stupid to her. I think sometimes as writers, we need to get rid of all the junk in our heads so that we can write the good stuff. I also think that all writers are practicing, improving their craft, and honing their skills over time. In my opinion, the only writer who isn’t practicing is one who isn’t writing.

  5. 5 Kris September 8, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Yes, I am a practicing writer, but my goal is to become even more of one. I do write every week. However, I am working to get writing into my daily routine, as well as looking for markets, getting queries out there, and writing things with market potential.

    My idea of a practicing writer is someone who writes nearly every day and is always honing her craft. This looks like an awesome set of books. I’ll definitely be checking out that newsletter!

  6. 6 Heather Haapoja September 8, 2007 at 7:21 am

    To me, a “practicing writer” is one who writes regularly, always striving to improve on their craft. In that respect, I have to say sadly, no, I’m not a practicing writer at the moment. While I’ve experienced periods of steady writing, recently it’s been coming in fits and spurts. What I need is some discipline in my writing life, and now that the kids are in school, I have no excuse. I want to come up with a working schedule that includes a block of nothing but writing time. No phone calls, no email, no housework. When the kids were younger, uninterrupted writing time was almost an impossible dream. Now I have six hours each weekday and many of those hours are wasted as I flounder, trying to decide what to do with my day. The school year is young, and there is hope. Next week is our first full week of school, and its time to put that writing schedule into effect.

  7. 7 Heather Haapoja September 8, 2007 at 7:22 am

    To me, a “practicing writer” is one who writes regularly, always striving to improve on their craft. In that respect, I have to say sadly, no, I’m not a practicing writer at the moment. While I’ve experienced periods of steady writing, recently it’s been coming in fits and spurts.

    What I need is some discipline in my writing life, and now that the kids are in school, I have no excuse. I want to come up with a working schedule that includes a block of nothing but writing time. No phone calls, no email, no housework. When the kids were younger, uninterrupted writing time was almost an impossible dream. Now I have six hours each weekday and many of those hours are wasted as I flounder, trying to decide what to do with my day. The school year is young, and there is hope. Next week is our first full week of school, and its time to put that writing schedule into effect.

  8. 8 Tricia Grissom September 8, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Now I’m a practicing writer. I used to grumble about how my family, job, and other responsibilities kept me from writing. Then I tore myself away from “Gilmore Girls” and started sitting in front of my computer everyday. After I surf the web way longer than I should, enter a few contests, and update my blog, I actually get some writing done.

    The more I write, the more I want to write. The more I publish, the more I want to publish. So for me writing is self-perpetuating. I have to do it to want to do it.

  9. 9 Kelli September 8, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Are you a “practicing writer”? What does the description mean to you?

    ***I see myself both as a “practicing writer” and a “working writer.” “Practicing” because I constantly work to improve my writing and “working” because I considering writing as my full-time job. On this note, I guess I can call myself a “practicing mother” and a “working mother” as well as the above description is about the same. 😉

    Thanks again for hosting this book of the day contest!

    best,
    Kelli R.A.

  10. 10 kimhaynes September 8, 2007 at 9:39 am

    **Are you a practing writer? What does that description mean to you?**

    To me, a practicing writer is someone who not only writes consistently (every day or almost every day), but someone who constantly pursues ways to improve his/her craft. While I’ve had a sudden relapse in the last week or two to being “non-practicing,” I’m proud to say that I am, for the most part, a practicing writer in both senses of the word. I do my best to write every weekday, at least, and I read writers books and magazines, subscribe to newsletters, and read blogs – like this one! 🙂

    I heard Michael Connelly, a best-selling crime novel author, talk about his writing career and he said that the best writing advice he ever got was this: Write every day for 15 minutes. That’s all. Some days, you’ll keep going after that, but some days you won’t. Just commit to writing every day for 15 minutes and see what you get. It got him a highly successful career as both a journalist and a novelist, so I’m giving it a shot! 🙂

  11. 11 Tammy September 8, 2007 at 9:45 am

    A “practicing writer”…it sounds zen.

    A practicing writer is a writer who writes. And writes. And writes.

    And then writes some more.

    That’s me. That’s everyone here. Writing isn’t just articles and stories. A writer writes in many ways – in journals, letters, notebooks, scrap papers, on message boards, on blogs…

    And each time we write, we’re practicing writing. Both practicing in the sense of becoming better writers. But also in the sense of being one who writes regularly, like a zen practitioner who meditates regularly.

    Writing because he we have to, because we want to, because it’s part of who we are. Writing because it brings us closer to ourselves and the universe. Writing for the calming and energizing effects. That’s what being a practicing writer means to me.

    I don’t know how I’d have gotten by in a world without the internet and superfast keyboards. I write to live, because without it, I’d be lost.

  12. 12 Sue Lick September 8, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Yes, I am a practicing writer. Practicing in the sense that I’m always trying to get better at it, but also practicing in the sense of being a professional working at my craft.
    I’m also practicing in the same way that I practice yoga. In yoga, we always refer to our sessions as practice because no one, not even the most advanced yogis, ever achieves perfection. It is important in yoga to practice regularly. Otherwise the muscles and joints stiffen up and we lose whatever progress we have gained. These are good things for writers to keep in mind, too. We will never achieve perfection but each writing session moves us a little closer, and we must practice regularly to keep our skills from getting rusty. Our writing practice must become as natural a habit as breathing and eating.

  13. 13 Cath September 8, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I think that old adage, “practice makes perfect” is important for a writer.

    It wasn’t until I started writing on a regular basis that I began to develop the discipline I needed to improve my writing. When I started putting that writing out there by submitting to markets or contests, I noticed how much more my skills improved.

    Everything I write is practice. Maybe not perfect-yet!

  14. 14 Lorie September 8, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    To me, the idea of a practicing writer means writers are constantly working at their craft. This is an interesting topic to think about because I’ve been feeling lately like perhaps my writing has stagnated. The root of the problem may be that I’ve gotten away from this idea of practicing. I have one steady gig I work on each month, but I rarely sit down and write something just because it catches my interest, I haven’t blogged in months, and it’s been a long time since I’ve dabbled in anything creative. This definitely gives me something to think about.

  15. 15 Megan September 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Thich Nhat Hanh, author, activist and Vietnamese Buddhist monk (who happens to now live up the road from me in his Escondido, Calif. monastery)says: “The practice is always to go back to oneself.”

    That is what writing is to me, going back to myself. If I am not writing about my experiences, I don’t know how to process them, and I feel scattered, irritable and sometimes lost. But, when I write — and by write I mean conscious, expressive writing, not a quick email — I feel centered and in perspective. I feel like me.

    I have tried yoga, dance, cooking, sculpting, painting — things that are the true practice for other people — and while I enjoy them and do them still sometimes, my true practice is clearly writing. It is, and always has been, coming back to myself.

    Practice, in Nhat Hanh’s terms, is finding enlightenment in our everyday work, and continuing that work. It is not some “other place” or enforced outside regimen, but found right where we are. We practice to find a way to live fully in our life.

    Thus, I am enthusiastically, resolutely, and inescapably a practicing writer. And it is a practice I will continue throughout this life, because I cannot not write and still be myself.

  16. 16 Mary Jo C September 8, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Whoo! Seems a simple question and such great deep responses from inspirational mamas! We rock! We practice, we write, we procrastinate, we blog, we read, we mother…

    Yes, I am a practicing writer, in the sense that I am always practicing or learning, a student of life, a student of writing. I am striving for it to become my practice (like Elizabeth said “as doctors practice medicine”). That’s why these two publications would be great, I love free entry contests, especially because of the discipline of having a deadline!

    Kim – I love the idea of committing to write just 15 minutes daily. It’s just like working out, do it daily, keep saying 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes; before you know it you finished 30 minutes! Hey, athletes need to practice, warm up and stretch – so do us writers!

  17. 17 Pattie September 8, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Absolutely yes, I am a practicing writer. I especially love essays, if only because of the fact that the French verb “essayer” means, in essence, “to try.” I am trying. I am practicing. I am doing. I may fail horribly, but if I don’t try, I’ll never succeed. In fact, I’d waste my life wondering if I could have, rather than knowing that I have “essayed.”

  18. 18 Jolynn September 8, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    A “Practicing Writer” means to me, a writer who is committed to their work. If you don’t practice you may lose your talent and skill. In order to get your writing perfect you need to continue to write. It shows you’re willing to try your best and really study writing. Practice and hard work can help you learn from your mistakes. So everybody keep practicing!

  19. 19 SueMarie September 8, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    **Are you a practicing writer? What does that description mean to you?**

    Yes, I am a “practicing” writer in every sense of the word. I write. I re-write. I re-write my re-writes. I practice at the role of being a writer, of incorporating a writer’s mindfulness into a daily life full of competing roles as parent, spouse, friend, and child. I practice daily to find a balance of time and drive to write, to sit down and channel character and story from mere thought into word. I also find myself mired at times in the fear that my “practice” of writing will always be just that… practice. Stories never finished, characters never fully realized. But then that fear becomes my motivation… to practice even more.

  20. 20 Mary September 8, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Just as a physician has a practice, so do I as a writer. I diagnose and prescribe; I dictate and transcribe; I research and advise; … and I rejoice in successful cures and healthy babies born under my watch. My writing practice requires patients (patience), which I am trying to build. Yes, I am a practincing professional writer. I practice wherever I can, which can be nearly anywhere. I do it for pay, and I do it from love. I love my practice and my product. Of all vocations, writing is the best.

  21. 21 Beth K. Vogt September 8, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Well, I’m grinning sheepishly as I repost my comment. My first comment was posted in the wrong place–and I’d gone on so eloquently about not aiming for perfection as a writer.
    I’m so glad I didn’t brag (lie) about being perfect.

    Yes, I am a practicing writer. I start with an idea of what I want to achieve in an article or a chapter. Then I get frustrated when I can’t find the right word or phrase or get that sentence wrestled into submission.
    I’m like my daughter who gets frustrated when she’s practicing piano. I tell her, “It’s practice, not perfect.”
    That’s what I need to remind myself.
    I am a practicing writer, not a perfect writer

    “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali

  22. 22 Lisa B September 8, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    I am only a practicing writer. I write on blogs, instant messages, and emails all the time. What I am not (at least not yet) is a paid/working writer 🙂 I am working on my fears and my perfectionism in order to actually get more writing “put together” and “out there.”

  23. 23 LauraE September 8, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Always practicing. I have a pad of paper by the bed, a notebook in my briefcase. Been known to write under my covers, on trains, planes, boats, on hiking trails, in a kayak, under the stars and yes…even in the bathroom when inspired.

    To honor Madeline L’Engle I thought I’d quote her here:

    “Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

    “It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

    And to that end I keep practicing, with hope/faith that what I say matters.

  24. 24 Heather Cook September 8, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    I think being a practicing writer is a state of mind. A lot of hullabaloo is written about how to BE a writer, how to achieve that state of being a writer… new writers think they need achieve certain goals before They Are A Writer. Bull Pucky. You just need to write, you need to practice the act of writing… even when you are driving you are warming up for writing when you consider your character’s flaws and wonder how you can show them and not tell them. When you write an overheard sentance down on a napkin. When you scribble in notebooks while waiting to pick your child up at school… that’s all being a practicing writer.

  25. 25 Jean September 8, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Yes. As a practicing writer I write everyday, whether what comes out is good or bad. I write my morning pages per my inspiration and guide, Julia Cameron, author of The Right to Write. I aspire to write great magazine articles and amazing personal essays, but am still a neophyte and so practice, practice, practice… As a practicing writer I try to take myself seriously on good days and not to beat myself up too much on bad days. I have a shelf full of writing books to guide and inspire me when I need it. But most of all, I write.

  26. 26 Jane September 8, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    I am a practicing writer because writing is never finished. It’s all practice or I would stop. I also consider writing a spiritual practice, a physical experience, a legal rush, an indulgence in the way that breathing is a luxury. We practice breathing everyday. Have we got it right yet? I practice writing to become better. A better writer, a better person, better mother, better reader, better everything. Isaac Stern was practicing violin in his 80’s. To be a practicing writer means to be constantly coming to your senses. Again and again and again. To breathe in, breathe out.

  27. 27 Lea September 8, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Well, I’m finally doing a little more practicing now that both kids are in school three mornings a week. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one of those moms who could write with a toddler sitting on her lap, so I look forward to the start of school with more glee than I care to admit.

    Writing daily is the best way I know of to practice. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes in my journal, I’m able to get down some ideas that may eventually end up in other writing I do. Writers need to write to get better, but they also need to read and read and read. The more I read, the more eager I am to practice my own writing in hopes of someday finishing that best-selling novel!

  28. 28 Laura September 8, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Being later at night here in Michigan, and tired from a day of room rearrangement, and crisis cleaning, I wasn’t sure how to begin answering this question. So, I asked my daughter. Her answer makes a lot of sense to me. A practicing writer is like a practicing Christian. She is someone who is doing that which she believes. A practicing writer is someone who writes. It is as simple as that. Write. Every day. Even if it is as simple as writing a note, an email, or some spurrious verse, or better yet, a chapter of a novel, every day, every chance possible, you write.

    Do I live up to that ideal? No. Not as much as I would like to…. But it is what I strive for. One of my favorite quotes is: “The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute.” John Irving. I need to use my free moments to write, and to continually practice writing.

  29. 29 Meema September 8, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    A practicing writer is someone that is working on their writing, actively trying to become a published writer, involved in literary blogs, committed to their work, enthusiastic about their craft, passionate about writing anything and everything, and eager for acknowledgement.

    I am all of those things. I am a Mother, a wife, a writer and so much more! In a sense I have been placing my thoughts, feelings and words on paper ever since I can remember. Even as a small child — I recall writing imaginative stories about wolves — I wrote and wrote and loved to see the printed words on the page. Back then it was a typewriter and now it is in cyberspace. It is all the same. Practice until it is good enough to submit for publication.

  30. 30 Mary Jo September 9, 2007 at 12:58 am

    It’s my turn. I stand up, mouth dry, palms sweaty. I say in a shaky voice, “My name is Mary Jo, and I’m a practicing writer.” This is my first meeting of “Writers Anonymous,” and I’m really nervous. But I go on, swallowing hard. “Although I’ve been writing all my life, I’ve only considered myself a writer these past 10 years. I write a monthly newspaper article and I’ve been printed in a national magazine. I’ve also written 3 unpublished children’s books.”

    I try to keep my voice from cracking. “I know that doesn’t sound like much–but I feel it’s a good start, especially considering that…” I take deep breath and quickly blurt out my confession, “…I’m not only a writer, but I’m also a Mama. And Mamas don’t have much time to write. I have to squeeze in a few lines between changing diapers and cooking supper. I take a shower to brainstorm the next scene for my short story, because that’s the only uninterrupted time I have to think all day. But that’s OK with me.”

    Suddenly, I’m confident. “I’m a ‘Mama Writer’–a Mama first, a Writer second. I just can’t devote as much time to writing as I’d like to right now. Soon, my nest will be empty. Then I can write a novel. For now, I’ll just keep working on little things: journal entries about my family life, memories of my childhood for my own children to treasure, well-written letters of advice to my young adult offspring to refer to when I’m no longer here…”

    Suddenly realizing the importance of writing in my Mama-life, I declare unashamedly, “Yes, I’m a practicing writer, and I’ll keep on practicing–every chance I get!”

  31. 31 Beth Browne September 9, 2007 at 3:47 am

    Writing Practice

    I practice.
    I pray
    I despair
    I hope
    I drink (coffee, not alcohol)
    I procrastinate
    I wallow in self-pity
    I eat
    I make myself sit down
    I pay the bills
    I meditate
    I revise
    I whine
    I get up
    I go for a walk
    I rejoice
    I sit down
    I write
    I practice.

  32. 32 cce September 9, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Practicing writer? Is there any other kind? I suppose you could say there alternative is a published writer which in turn would mean professional (one who gets paid for their writing). Is ‘practicing writer’ a euphemism for amateur?


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