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"The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring."

-- Warren Chappell 

T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S
  1. [Editor Notes; The Habit of Art]
  2. [Resource Notes]
  3. [Markets and Leads: Law Publications]
  4. [C/Oasis- new stories and poems]
  5. [New Forms of Publishing]
  6. [Community]
  7. [Etc/Etc/Etc]

Welcome back! Some changes have been made to Sunoasis. The premium and regular issues have been merged. Each issue will be dominated by one theme but will have plenty of resources to pick and choose from. Every issue will have up-to-date market information.

I'm not charging for subscriptions but will use the Amazon Honor System. I like to think I'm more like PBS than CBS.

E D I T O R  N O T E S

There are two habits to cultivate as a writer. One is the necessity to get a productive routine down to start and complete projects. The other is described by Flannery O'Connor as "the habit of art."

She was continually pestered by her students to tell them when they should write, for how long, and how to fit the writing into a normal, busy schedule. She wrote her response in an essay called, "The Nature and Aim of Fiction."

The habit of art, she explained in her essay, concerns a "certain quality or virtue of the mind," which combined with a writer's talent, could heighten writing to a point nearing perfection.

Habit is devotion, then, combined with the desire to work hard at the highest level of intelligence and imagination the writer is capable of.

The habit of art, to use her phrase, is something difficult to teach.

It is my experience that the habit of art should be learned first. Study and test yourself. Read the masters and try to eumulate them. Kick them away and go on your own. Fight for your best self. Don't let society, parents, peers, or other bad habits interfere.

Training the mind in this habit is like training for Zen Buddhism or yoga. If you do it enough it's fairly simple to slide right into position at any time, any where. It's the pain getting to that point that holds a lot of writers back.

The habit of art could be defined as the best thoughts generated by the writing mind. The art, then, is the act of leeching out the best from the rest and getting the best down in hard copy each day. As the old Greek tragedian put it, "drop by drop wisdom is distilled from pain."

Out of the thousands of thoughts a writer has any one day, which ones will be saved and used? At the beginning of a writers career the thousands of thoughts are used. Then experience kicks in and the writer tries to escape most of the thoughts. Then he learns to discipline the thoughts into useful activity. He exhalts if there is one gem, one jewel left in the stinkpot of the thousands of thoughts.

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Then there are the habits that make a writer more productive. When the writer is inspired it's unlikely she will learn these habits. But when things go bad the lack of them are the likely source of her failure.

Samuel Johnson noticed that the grip of habit is too weak to be noticed, but soon becomes too tight to be broken.

The first good habit to learn is to, in fact, write. At the beginning of the writer's life there is a wild passion to get all the words out and you never believe the infinite supply will run out. But it does, so you need to have a structure of habit in place to face the infamous blank page.

Here are some sound tips:

  • Write something, anything the moment you sit down to write
  • Don't try to write a novel in one session. Find out the best time for you to be productive and use that time very well.
  • Adhere strictly to a realistic writing schedule.
  • Work first on the parts of the project that seem easiest to do.
  • Start by writing the title in order to focus in on key concepts. Titles are important psychologically.
  • Polish the first paragraph to provide focus.

Why is it that when a writer cleans up her copy she feels not simply better but more productive? It must be that it feels like something is getting done when there is a meaningful re-arrangement of the words. The babit that liberates the writing self is one fully convinced that whatever you write can be eliminated or changed.

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I am a wonderful procrastinator and cultivate it at every opportunity. I try to wrestle the bad habit to the ground and always fool myself with the thought that the act of writing is very pleasurable. "I can write standing on my head in a railroad car," I convince myself while I watch some trashy TV program. But it isn't the writing that is the problem, it's the aftermath.

It's the revision, the polishing, and the editing that sends me down to chop wood or go online and read gossip from Court TV.

To counteract the art of procrastination I try the following:

  • Set due dates for each part of the writing project.
  • Schedule a personal reward for meeting each due date.
  • Talk with supportive others about weekly writing plans.

Well, I tell the cat at any rate that I am going to write a good deal this week so stay out of my way.

The reward part is often overlooked. We don't want to believe we are cats or dogs, leaping around our master's feet for a snack on doing a good deed. But, it often works as long as the reward is something you ordinarily wouldn't give yourself. A good glass of wine, for instance, is not a good reward for myself. But a CD with either great information or music is a reward I covet.

 T h e    L i s t   I s  A  H a b i t  T o  L e a r n

Lists are often the most meaningful poetry one can write. They can also be a waste of time. A list is an effective habit only if you act positively on each item on the list. It's a very effective way to break down a large project and get it under control so you feel you have a fighting chance of succeeding with your grand vision.

It can also be a way to provoke a new project and build it up until it magically fleshes out on paper or screen. Don't give yourself orders, give yourself some guidance that will take you to a successful conclusion to the project.

Making a list is a basic use of the technology of writing. And what it does is free up creative energy that would be spent trying to figure out what to do when you have something in front of you. Trust the list. Make friends with the lists you make.

I have made lists that I became very enthusiastic about only to see them slip away for fifteen years. The list has to be accompanied by a reasonable commitment to do the deed.

And yet some of those lists have been very useful a few years after I wrote them out because I was not ready to execute the list when I made it. It's easy to fall into the trap of loving the list but hating the deed. I've done that plenty of times, always to my regret. The list is a pump of adrenaline but has to be accompanied by physical and mental acts.

T h e   F i v e   M a j o r   H a b i t s   O f   P u b l i s h i n g 

1) Conception of the Piece: This is a constant battle that a writer must wage by habituating him or herself in being "always on." Ideas are the life-blood of the writer's craft. Anything you perceive needs to be turned into an idea of one kind or the other. It is only the world in front of you and your ability to deal with it through experience and/or knowledge.

2) Laying Down the Tracks: Get the idea out and running on paper or the screen. Note down all the resources you will need to flesh the piece out to its full. Without this habit ideas are useless.

3) Looking into the Marketplace: At the moment a writer identifies what the piece is about she should be consulting the marketplace and finding editors who might be interested. This is a habit that must be learned as soon as possible. Ignore the negative signals that come by way of rejection. We all feel the sting of rejection. It initiates us into the cruel world.

4) Stroking the Piece: Lick the writing into a form that is comforting and rewarding for a reader. Never get into the habit of believing what you write, off the top of your head, is the finished piece. That bad habit comes from egotism.

5) Prepare to Present the Piece: Offer the editor a piece of writing that can't be rejected. Make sure the presentation is done correctly. Have someone proofread what you write before sending it along to an editor.

In my earlier days it was the easiest thing in the world to conceive of a writing idea and then start to throw words down on a piece of paper. That was no problem and I did it consistently for a long time. But then came searching the possible markets and the polishing and here is where the non-habits I had tripped me up. By not searching markets I had no real incentive to finish the piece of writing. The chain of habit was broken and a lot of material ended up in flat yellowed folder that went no where.

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               [ CODA ]

Make writing a consistent series of habits that gives you a sense of where you are at any moment during the process.

Make it a habit to focus on a small group of basic themes.

Make it a habit to continually rewrite what you've written.

The physical and mental habits of writers are as diverse as the number of writers that exist.

Habits are simply an admission that we are animals after all. Perhaps that is one reason we resist admitting we have them. We are shrewd animals and try to turn habits to our advantage. That is the key. We are going to have habits. The more conscious we are of them the greater the possibility we convert them from bad to good ones. Those, in other words, that help us realize our dreams.

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Building Healthy Writing Habits by Diana Barnum The Five A's

Developing Efficient Work Habits

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For Freelancers Only:

Is blogging simply a new way to get freelance assignments?

Tax answers for Freelance writers.

Resources to start a freelance business.

B u s i n e s s o f W r i t i n g :

This is an extensive article from Newsweek on the state of book and digital publishing. It is about the new literary system and it should not frighten writers at all.
Writers should seek out the best copy editors they can find. Here's an article about a novelist who tells of his experience, lists some of the best copy editors in the business and interviews them.
Writer's Guide to Taxes.
Read how publicists hawk books.
W r i t e r O r g a n i z a t i o n s :

American Society of Business Publication Editors
Catholic Book Publishers Association
Direrctory Forum Publishers of North America
National Association of Women Writers.
National Writers Association
Sisters in Crime.
Society of American Business Writers and Editors

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M A R K E T S  A N D  L E A D S

Here is an index of writer guidelines.


Valley Forge, PA

Vanguard, one of the world's leading investment management companies, needs a creative, talented writer to research and write human resource communications. Your work should be engaging and accurate, educate your readers, meet business objectives, and be delivered on time. This position is available part-time (25 hours per week) or full-time.

You'll regularly brainstorm with clients, colleagues, and senior management to develop creative concepts for Web, e-mail, and print delivery. You'll be expected to plan and carry out communication projects for a variety of audiences, internal and external to Vanguard, and will need to exhibit excellent client relationship skills and the ability to work well in a collaborative, team-oriented environment.

Full Ad

Location: Los Angeles, CA

TELACU is a non-profit community development corporation founded in 1968. It is self-sustained by TELACU Industries, a for-profit family of companies which provides the economic means to fulfill TELACU's mission. Through its businesses, services and partnerships, TELACU creates dynamic opportunities to rebuild and enhance the communities it serves.

TELACU has an excellent opportunity for a full time Writer-Editor to write and edit internal and external materials, including printed and web materials, speeches, opinion pieces, essays, issue papers, background documents, conference materials, mini-grant proposals, and other publications.

In addition, the Writer-Editor will edit existing written materials and develop content for new materials through research, reading, data gathering, interviews, etc. Full Ad

Full Ad

Valley Forge, PA

Vanguard, one of the world's leading investment management companies, has an opening for an experienced copy editor to edit print and electronic communications generated by the Participant Education department within Vanguard.

You'll evaluate copy for Vanguard's ''voice'' and style, accuracy, flow, organization and format, and mark corrections using standard editing/proofreading symbols. You'll review the history of each project by reviewing the appropriate reference materials and check to make sure that all appropriate regulatory hedge clauses, copyrights, and trademarks appear on each piece. You'll compare companion pieces, if any, for consistency and apply style preferences of individual clients. You'll also suggest ways to improve copy via written and verbal communication with writers.

For Full Ad go here.

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Job Links for new leads!

If you have any suggestions about markets you want guidelines for, just drop a line

A T    C/ O A S I S
My Gift To Cindy
by Mike Markel

Would you think me insufferable if I begin by stating I am extraordinarily good at what I do? Spoken by a young person, such a claim might smack of vanity, and you would be excused for concluding that the speaker is probably mistaken.

Days Without Whites by Vivian Yang.
The year was 1972. I was eight. The world was as outlandish a place then as it is now. Shanghai was no exception.

Three Poems by Lamont Palmer
Reflections on Possible Waywardness
A Tilghman Island Tale

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Hey, we even have a new literary newsletter and you can get it free if you click here!

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Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival

Montreal, Canada
5-9 April 2006

Festival of Faith and Writing

Calvin College
Grand Rapids, MI
20-22 April 2006

Austin International Poetry Festival

Austin, TX
20-23 April 2006


Want to keep Sunoasis going? Donate through the Amazon Honor System and wonderful things will happen!

Thanks to Steven Evans for his generous contribution. Thanks Steven! He is an editor and has a splendid web site here: www.the-freelance-editor.com

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Put an ad in Sunoasis 2006 and reach its 4,400 subscribers. Just $25 a month! Contact mailto:eide491@earthlink.net

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All writers need a third eye before submitting a manuscript for consideration and I happen to have TWO eagle eyes, ready to go to work for you, 24/7. Click here for this great service!

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Sunoasis--You're amazing! A mere five hours after I sent in the text for my classified ad I got a call for a writing project, and within two days, the project was mine. Thanks so much for your invaluable services! Debbie Lerman, freelance writer

E T C/ E T C/ E T C

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