Thursday, May 03, 2018

On Writing 3: Objectivity and subject matter

The two previous On Writing posts referred to extracts from my old diaries that were dated from 1990. It only occurred to me later that I'd started the diary in 1989, of course, and that that's where I should have started with these extracts. No problem. I'm now going back to 1989, where there's plenty of material for me to work on.

The first mention of writing comes on the 18th of April, 1989, the day after that initial typewritten diary began. It's interesting that it also discusses ideas. Whereas in yesterday's post, the extract was lamenting a lack of ideas, at this point - when I was still doing the Writing Course - I seemed to have an abundance of them!

I wrote:

I've got four things in the pipeline at the moment. The biggest problem, however, is not getting started (or even finding ideas especially), it's trying to end the stories satisfactorily, so that they don't just wimp out, but end satisfyingly - yet not obviously. I'm now at the point where I don't want to send something off with an incompleteness to it. Formerly I was satisfied to get the thing ended and sent off. Now I'm finding I can't find a proper conclusion, and until I do I don't want to waste my time posting it. 

This was quite a step forward. Learning how to assess something I'd written, and be objective enough about it to say it wasn't thoroughly cooked was important. It's something everyone has to learn, although a number of writers these days seem to publish before they've learned this...

In the same diary entry I mentioned a magazine called New Zealand Disabled, or NZ Disabled, as its masthead stated. I wrote a number of articles for this monthly, and the encouragement of the magazine's editor was considerable. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, there's money available in writing for small magazines - and less competition from more established writers. I usually profiled some person with a disability (I was actually warned off calling them 'disabled people' at one point, though not by the editor) and met a number of interesting people as a result. It wasn't hard to find candidates for the profiles, and almost every interview I did turned into an article.

In fact, there are still a number of magazines relating to disability being published in New Zealand, which means, presumably, there are plenty being published elsewhere. This online page gives a list of them. It may be out of date - NZ Disabled had changed its name to Without Limits by the time this page appeared, and the link shows that under that title it didn't last long. But careful research through your local library will enable you to find a number of smaller magazines that can be approached with articles.

If you're just starting out, this is a great way to get experience.

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