Tag Archives: query letters

Write This Way: Writing and Editing Links for December 3, 2008


Photo courtesy SXC.

Our monthly hyperlink love-fest has information on using mindmapping to organize writing assignments and writing workload, a challenge to fail faster in your writing work (in order to ultimately succeed), and a site dedicated to helping beat reporters make the most of online social media. Plus a handful of bonus links designed to pique your curiosity as a writer!

1. First, since one of the most popular posts on this blog so far has been 3 cool tools for mapping story ideas, so perhaps it’s no surprise that in the last week or two, there have been at least two good posts related to using mindmaps to manage workflow and organize one’s work.

At FreelanceSwitch, Raj Dash posted an entry on managing multiple freelance gigs with mind maps. The post discusses how to map out daily tasks, both billable ones and tasks that lead to billable work, and keep yourself in a productive, not stressed-out mode. The method is a little involved, but it may provide you with the oomph your freelancing needs to be profitable.

Meanwhile, over at Write to Done, Chief Editor Mary Jaksch recently posted on how to use mind maps as a “genius tool” for writers. She lists several different ways in which the mapping technique can help writers work smarter:

“A mind map is a great way to keep track of a project. It allows you to get a mental screenshot of where the project is at. As a project slowly matures, all completed files can be attached to the map.

“Complex projects always have many different lines of development to follow. A mind map can hold all of these different streams at one glance. For example, if you wanted to start a new blog, you would need to keep track of creating a brand, designing a logo, choosing a platform, creating content, designing a website, setting and launching the blog, and so on. A mind map can hold all these different planning streams.”

Jaksch gives tips on what to look for in an online mindmapping progam, as well, and gives her opinion on several commonly used packages. Together, her post and Raj’s at FreelanceSwitch complement each other nicely.

2. Are you timid about putting your ideas out there for editors to examine? Jenny Cromie at The Golden Pencil blog recently began a contest for readers through the end of the year that she calls the Rejection Letter Olympics.

Every Friday, Jenny posts themes and ideas for contestants, and they send out as many query letters and letters of introduction as they can. Points are awarded for rejections, yes, as well as assignments. As Jenny explains it,

“I’m basing this weekly challenge on the very sage advice of Thomas Watson, founder of IBM: ‘If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.’

“…Someone early on in my freelance career told me that every no gets you closer to a yes…I am setting up this challenge to reward you for sticking your freelance neck out there and risking rejection. Because eventually (possibly much sooner than you think) you will get a yes.”

Kudos to Jenny for rewarding risk-taking!

3. If you’re a newspaper reporter, or care about the fate of journalism, take a look at BeatBlogging.org. The blog, which is a creation of NewAssignment.net, that examines how beat reporters can use social networking and other Web tools to improve their stories.

What separates this site from many others on the online journalism front is its unwavering focus on beat reporting, and the blog’s almost daily provision of real-world examples from reporters who are using social media (Twitter, blogs, etc.) to enrich their work. It has a “Leaderboard” comprised of these exemplary reporters, who are nominated by readers.

The site is a great resource for anyone who wants to keep tabs on the latest trends in reporting in today’s Web 2.0 environment.

Bonus links!

One Sentence: True stories, told in one sentence

Timeline of Online Journalism Milestones

How to Find Expert Sources and Real People to Interview for Articles

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