Jackie Hosking Networking Column 7If They Can Do It, So Can You

by Jackie Hosking

 

I opened my inbox to an acceptance this morning, my first with this particular magazine. I write poetry, rhyming poetry -- it's what I do, it's who I am. When I was a child I would tape all my favourite songs and then spend hours listening, pausing, rewinding so that I might write down all of the words and then, to the dismay of all in earshot, I would sing along over and over and over. That, and Winnie the Pooh were my University.

You Can Do ItI struggled for a little while, coming to terms with my passion. I fought to write stories, proper stories with beginnings, middles and ends. I am terrific at beginnings and fabulous at endings, it's the middles that have me stumped -- I am literally stuck in the middle. So when this happens I go for a walk and I wander and ponder and eventually a rhyme trickles out and I repeat it to myself, over and over so that I don't forget. When I get home I race in the door, knocking over everyone who gets in my way -- "Quick!" I cry. "Get me a pen." I scribble furiously; my husband watches and makes me a coffee. 

My first poetry acceptance came after I had read a poem by a friend of mine; we network together on the same Yahoo! List. She had recently had a poem accepted by The School Magazine (NSW Australia). I asked if I could read it. Her poem was quite whimsical and it rhymed and I thought - I have something similar to this. I'm going to send it, and I did. The day my author copies arrived with my poem illustrated in full colour, by the very talented Australian illustrator, Kim Gamble, was the day my heart burst open with pride. I'd had things accepted before this but this was the first time that I had been recognised for what I love to do the most -- write in rhyme. 

I think it is important to spend some time thinking about what type of writing you enjoy the most, especially in the beginning. If you do what you love you will always be successful. Surround yourself with people who are as passionate about your chosen genre as you are. 

My networking environment is saturated with people who enjoy writing in rhyme. We talk, we share, we learn. 

Since my first acceptance with The School Magazine I have had 32 more rhyming poems accepted and -- wait for it -- a very short story! Networking led me to this market. Taking the time to understand what they were after lead to an acceptance. 

Now I can call myself a published writer. How many published writers do you know? When you think of a published writer what do you see? Do you see an ordinary, everyday kinda person or do you visualise someone extraordinary, untouchable, unreal? This may come as a shock to some of you but published writers are human! Just like YOU! And before they were published writers they were unpublished writers -- just like YOU! Think of yourself as an apprentice. Ask questions of published writers -- most of them are very nice and are happy to share their experiences with you. But don't be a taker. Be a giver. Don't seek a mentor, rather offer them your assistance. It won't be long before you begin to recognise similarities and the gap between you will slowly begin to close.  

Networking humanizes the writing industry. It puts faces to names and smiles to faces. The acceptance that I received this morning was fuelled by the fact that I had recently attended a writers' forum at which the editor of the magazine had spoken. I liked her and I wanted a poem of mine to be in her magazine. She was no longer a faceless, slightly intimidating entity but rather a laughing, enthusiastic woman -- much like myself!! 

I am you. No more, no less. Passionate and so grateful to have discovered the joys of networking. I will leave you now with a Chinese proverb -- Teachers open the door, but YOU must enter by yourself. 

Enjoy the adventure. 

Your writing buddy, 

Jackie

© copyright Jackie Hosking

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Jackie has been writing professionally for 7 years. She writes mostly for children but does enjoy the odd flash fiction piece for adults. Jackie is the editor/compiler/publisher of the children's writing and illustrating industry newsletter, PASS IT ON (PIO). PIO was voted the best non-fiction e-zine for 2008 by the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. Jackie also offers a rhyming manuscript editing service. You can find out more about Jackie, PIO and writing in rhyme at her website - www.jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com

 

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