Issue 36 - Fresh Starts New Beginnings - Gretchin Rubin, Holly Sherburne, Jill Pertler

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20 Questions - Gretchen Rubin

Beginning After NaNoWriMo by Beth Cato

How to Successfully Plan a Writing Conference by Margo L. Dill

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January is about new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s about taking what you’ve learned from the past year and applying it to your game plan for 2010. Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief that ’09 is officially over—including me! It was a tough year, and I’m ready for a fresh start. How about you?

Starting fresh includes ditching bad habits for good. Sure, there are those ones we promise ourselves every year we’ll overcome—things like losing weight or quitting a vice—but as you know, we seldom stick to strict resolutions. We may be gung-ho at the start of the year; but after a few weeks go by, old habits tend to creep back into place. Instead, I prefer to create goals and timelines to get things done. These include positive actions that will help make my writing career more productive. Last January, we had an issue dedicated to time. Highlights included an interview with Marla Cilley, a.k.a. the FlyLady, on time management and organization, an interview with Julie Hood of on how to organize your writing at the start of a new year, and a great article on writing deadlines by WOW! columnist Marcia Peterson. If you need help with time management and goal setting, view the whole Time issue here.

So this year we’re doing something different. We’re introducing you to new ideas and experiments—everything from finding happiness in 2010 and revamping your workspace to starting after NaNoWriMo and syndicating your work! It’s a unique issue filled with lots of great takeaway. I learned so much just from putting it together. Even if there’s an article that doesn’t quite apply to you right now—like organizing a writers’ conference—there is still so much you can learn from the wisdom within. You can even take some of the suggestions and advice and apply them to another project. Get resourceful, indulge in the possibilities, and enjoy the start of a great year for your writing. This is your year to shine!

A big, warm, thank you goes out to our freelancers and staff members:

We welcome freelancer Beth Cato to the WOW! family and thank her for her fantastic article, Beginning After NaNoWriMo. Now that the holiday bustle is over, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with your rough draft. Beth takes the guesswork out of the process and walks you through the necessary steps you must take to begin preparing yourself to edit, revise, and polish your manuscript. She includes tips for finding support, editing, and staying motivated. Take it from a nine-year NaNo veteran! Beth knows her stuff and can help you get started. Also, be sure to check out the resource links from the WOW! editors at the bottom for specific articles related to the mechanics of fiction writing and revision. Good luck!

A big thank you goes to WOW! columnist and contributing editor Margo L. Dill for her in-depth article on planning a writing conference. Margo planned the three-day annual Missouri Writers’ Guild conference—the year after she got married, no less—and shares what she learned with you! Whether you are planning a writing conference, wedding, or event, this article will provide you with the necessary tools to get started. Margo includes tips on budgeting, choosing a venue, obtaining speakers, organizing committees, finding volunteers, and much more. This article is definitely one to bookmark.

Have you ever thought about syndicating your work? Want to follow in Erma Bombeck’s footsteps? Syndication is a dream for many writers because it means that you pen an article and not only get paid for it once, but get paid many times over while gaining major exposure in households across the nation. But how do you do that? We welcome freelancer Jill Pertler and thank her for her ultra-informative article, The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication. A couple of years ago, Jill decided to pursue syndicating her column, “Slices of Life.” Through trial and error, she came up with a fantastic system for finding newspaper editors, organizing her address book, sending introduction e-mails (including a breakdown of what to include paragraph by paragraph), keeping in contact, following up, and landing sales. And she shares this detailed system with you! Currently, over fifty papers in five states publish her column, and the numbers are growing. By following her system, you can do it too!

On the other side of the newspaper fence comes a great interview with Holly Sherburne—editor and publisher of Downeast Dog News, a niche newspaper dedicated to dog owners with a circulation varying between 14,000 and 17,000 copies per month. We welcome freelancer Carol Bryant to the WOW! family and thank her for her interview with Holly on the Secrets of Starting a Niche Newspaper Business. You’ll delight in Holly’s business savvy and learn what it takes to successfully run a local publication. And if you love dogs, or are a freelancer who writes for pet publications, this interview is bound to have your tail wagging! As Carol says, “Sit, stay, and read on to learn more about Holly’s success and how to apply her experiences to your own 2010 (and beyond) goals.”

One of the number one goals on the top of everyone’s list is finding happiness. As women, there are so many things we juggle—work, family, friends, domestic responsibilities—but how do we make our own happiness a priority? We welcome back freelancer Annette Fix and rejoice as she finds out the answers to that question in her 20 Questions interview with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. When I received an ARC of the book, I immediately contacted Annette and asked her if she’d interview Gretchen for our January issue. A big thank you goes to both Annette and Gretchen for turning it around so quickly! The Happiness Project is a book you’ll want to add to your bookshelf immediately, so you can start making the most of its month-by-month challenges. Reading this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project!

Another project you can do is hold a retreat with your local writers’ group. “There’s no denying how much you can learn and grow as a writer when you attend a conference or retreat; but in today’s economy, it’s hard to part with the cash it takes to attend. So what’s a cost-conscious writer to do? Why, do it yourself, of course!” This is the start to a great article, How To Run a DIY Writers’ Retreat. We welcome back freelancer Lisa Tiffin and thank her for giving us all the tools we need to do-it-ourselves! Lisa shares her tips on finding the perfect space, staying on track and being productive, cost-conscious lunch alternatives, and saving money on speakers. After reading her article, I’m inspired to create my own DIY retreat, and you will be too!

One big goal on my list for 2010 is creating a truly functional workspace. I make small improvements throughout the year, every year, but it’s still not as organized as I’d like. But where do you start, and what things should you be looking to improve? We welcome back freelancer Allena Tapia and thank her for solving this problem! Allena breaks in our brand new photo essay column with Office-ially Fed Up! One Writer’s Home Office Makeover. When she met a local magazine publisher last spring and he asked if they could meet at her home office, she panicked because she new her space wasn’t in shape to welcome clients. From then on, she was on a mission to give her home office a much-needed makeover. In her photo essay, Allena bravely includes before pictures with captions of the problems encountered in each photo and after pictures with solutions to the problems. She also shares some tips on ergonomics, meeting and work space, and organization. If you’ve been thinking about improving your home office, this is a must read!

And last, but not least, I’d like to thank WOW!’s contributing editors Margo L. Dill and Joanne Stacey for making this issue a joy to read!

On to the issue...enjoy!






Angela Miyuki Mackintosh is Editor-in-Chief and Art Director of WOW! Women On Writing. She has been published in Maxim, Transworld Surf and Skate, Vice Magazine, and numerous trade publications for the action-sports industry. She is an award-winning artist whose works have been commissioned for public art by the city of Long Beach, and has received grants from Funds for Women.

Angela lives in Placentia, California with her husband, Michael, and her cat, Noodle.



Margo L. Dill is a freelance writer, editor, and teacher, living in Mahomet, Illinois. Her work has appeared in publications such as Grit, Pockets, True Love, Fun for Kidz, Missouri Life, ByLine Magazine, and The News-Gazette. She is a columnist and contributing editor for WOW! Women On Writing. She is assistant editor for the Sunday Book page in The News-Gazette. Her first book, Finding My Place, a middle-grade historical novel, will be published by White Mane Kids. She writes a blog called, Read These Books and Use Them, for parents, teachers, and librarians. She owns her own copyediting business, Editor 911. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her husband, stepson, and two dogs—Chester, a boxer, and Hush Puppy, a basset hound. You can find out more about Margo by visiting her website:


Joanne Hirase-Stacey is an attorney turned freelance writer. She lives on a mountain pass in southeastern Idaho with her very supportive husband, Bill. Joanne and Bill love rescuing the “dangerous breeds” of dogs, and currently have a Belgian shepherd named Maggie, a Rottweiler named Isamu, and a Pit Bull named Zebekiah. Joanne has been published in legal journals, and various magazines and anthologies. She will soon have her own “star” on the “Walk of Fame” in Pocatello, Idaho when her poem is engraved into stone and embedded into the sidewalk in Historic Old Town. When she’s not writing, you can find Joanne running up and down the mountain, quilting, painting (watercolors, oils and acrylics), practicing her karate (she’s slowly making her way to a black belt!), and trading in the Forex market. You can visit her website at!


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