Wednesday Writers Wisdom: From Blog Posts to Articles by Teresa Smeigh
What is Wednesday Writers Wisdom?
I’m glad you asked. I originally started this series to share writing advice with other writers, especially beginning writers. I know when I first started writing again in 2010, I needed a lot of help. So, thus WWW was born. You can expect to find writing advice shared by me, other #ourwriteside authors, and guest authors. Our emails are always available for question suggestions as well. I’d like to start the conversation and answer those questions you must have answers to. After all, this isn’t just OUR Write Side, but it’s Yours, too.
Our Wednesday Writers Wisdom comes to you today from Our Write Side’s longtime follower, Teresa Smeigh. She has transformed from a blogger to a columnist, and she shares her personal journey and tips with us.
Teresa Smeigh is from Deptford, New Jersey. She is a mental health blogger, who blogs under the name Tessa, and has been featured on 4 websites with her articles about Bipolar Disorder. Her desire is to be a mental health advocate and writer. She has joined a few projects to help try to make more people aware of the disorder and to help eliminate stigma.
Teresa has had Bipolar Disorder since she was a child, around 53 years ago. She also suffers from Anxiety, Panic Attacks, OCD, PTSD and was recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I am a writer. I went from blog posts to articles quite by chance.
I met a woman who was blogging and we became friends and she liked my writing. She talked about her writing for different sites on the internet. Our main connection was bipolar disorder and so she searched for bipolar sites looking for writers.
She happened to mention about one she wrote for and that maybe I would like to write for them too. I could at least apply to the site as a blog post writer (this is what they call the submissions). The thought had never crossed my mind so I had to think about it for awhile.
I had no problem throwing a blog post out there, but to write an actual article, one that required research was a little more daunting. I loved writing research papers in school, but that was 40 years ago. Did I have the ability to write one now? This would be a challenge and I wanted to see if I was up to it because it definitely intrigued me.
I got the site URL from my friend and they had a application page that is posted as “volunteer.” They are a small non-profit so you volunteer your services without payment. This is a good site if you just like to write and see your name in print. Though they are about bipolar disorder only.
If you are interested in other subjects you would search for websites on the subject and search their site for a submission page or in some cases you have to look for a contact email and try asking if they accept submissions. Thankfully this one had a nicely set up application page.
I filled it out and it asked for a resume or work samples. I didn’t have a resume, but I had 4 work samples that had been posted on other websites and I included my personal website which deals a lot with bipolar and other mental illnesses. Plus it shows them how I write, just like the 4 examples did.
I was accepted and am expected to write one article a month. Finding a subject is the hardest part. I have written 5 for them so far. 2 already posted, 1 rejected due to possible medical advice and 2 still waiting in the queue.
I am currently in the middle of the application process for another site and for them I had to send them an article, newly written. They didn’t want anything already posted somewhere.
And I just submitted for another site with a submission page. I don’t know their requirements yet.
No two writers have the same writing process. It is not a job where you can follow a checklist and end up with a completed piece. I personally write when the mood hits me and write until either a situation comes up that I have to attend to or til I feel like stopping.
I write everyday, but it is not the same project. With my articles they are short enough that I can finish them in a day if I work straight through or 2 days if I am not feeling the subject.
They tell you to write it out and then edit it. I edit as I go. I am a perfectionist and I can’t leave a mistake that I see. In the end the time should work out the same, but for my mental gratification I have to edit as I go. I then re-read it several times to make sure I haven’t missed any mistakes along the way.
I am currently writing for a bipolar site, www.ibpf.org and so all articles are on bipolar. Now I have an edge here since I have had bipolar disorder since I was a little girl so we are talking around 50 to 53 years or so of experience.
So I have already researched the topic first thing. Once that part is written out I add my personal story to the article where it fits if it is a topic I have experience with. Sometimes on rewrite I will move things around and reword things and even delete things I started with since the articles are only 400 to 800 words. My experience in working with short prompts of 100 words or less for a story help me cut my articles down and still contain helpful information.
IBPF (International Bipolar Foundation) requires a picture for every article we write that fits the topic. Sometimes finding the perfect picture is the hardest part.
Then the article is sent for approval or possibly some edits are needed. We have to agree to any changes they make, they don’t arbitrarily change them.
That is how I went from Blog Posts to Articles.