Take a Break and Hitch a Ride on the Web

Working on a long writing project (a book, a major article, a book review, etc.) can be exhausting and frustrating. It takes so long to get to fruition!

Sometimes it may help to take a break for a few hours and write something short and spiffy for an online source.

This may get your creative juices flowing, provide some great publicity, and give you a psychological boost. Another benefit of this type of writing is creating for yourself a nice online catalogue of your work. When you are making a pitch via e-mail to a publisher, editor, or professional contact, it doesn’t hurt to have a number of neutral (other than your own website) “live links” that will provide selling points for your work.

Many of us have our own websites, but we may not generate the amount of traffic we’d like — at least not yet! Getting mention on a bigger website can often help to direct traffic back to your own website and help you sell books.

Some possible ‘targets’ for your articles? Organizations of writers, online newspapers/newsletters, and alumni publications may be good places to begin a search; but the list is endless.

I enjoy writing humor pieces so like to publish stories on a British website called The Spoof (The Spoof – spoof news main page). No pay but lots of free publicity. Their website gets 10,000 hits a day! As an author you get to do a Writer’s Profile and can include information (including contact info) about yourself. And they have a huge photo gallery, so you can choose an illustration to go with your story. I can’t decide what’s more fun: writing the story (350 words is the minimum word count) or choosing a picture.

It’s heartening to e-mail a story to The Spoof and then see it published on The Web — usually the very same day! For me, it’s the pause that refreshes, the affirmation that YES, I am a writer, even if I’m having a bad day with a longer project. A Google search will quickly reveal lots of other online satire sites, so there are multiple targets out there if you enjoy this type of writing. As writers, we’re so lucky to live in the Internet age. I know, I know, your mother probably told you never to hitch a ride. But hey, she wasn’t referring to the Worldwide Web was she?

Gail Farrelly (The Farrelly Sisters – Authors) has published academic, professional, and Op-Ed articles, as well as fiction. Her first mystery, “Beaned in Boston: Murder at a Finance Convention” was described by The Washington Times as “frisky as a foal . . . an auspicious debut . . . ” The latest book is “Creamed at Commencement: A Graduation Mystery.” J. Edgar Hoover Investigates Steroids at Request of Brother, Babe Ruth is a spoof about a baseball scandal. Gail’s short story, Get Yourself a Face , tells the tale of a Mafia princess who buys herself a face transplant.