Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hi Don, My experience with Chicken Soup has been pretty good, but you are correct that it does take patience. I started with them because I had a few stories I thought fit what they were looking for, and, as a beginner, I thought-- I had nothing to lose. That beginner's luck served me well as my first two pieces were accepted (I thought, hey, this writing thing's not so tough, lol). If I would have known what I was up against-- that they receive thousands of submissions for each book, and that chosen submissions are put through many readings by many people before they are chosen (I discovered on some free conference call with Jack Canfield), I may not have tried! Besides the most recent acceptance, the turnaround has been so: 2 months until Final Word of approval (you get notice that you are being considered, then a finalist, and THEN approval. I had one that made it to finalist and then was not chosen), and then 3-4 months until publication, payment and your 10 copies are sent to you. The Soup that is due out 4/20 (Thanks, Dad) I had given up on. I sent my submission in June and didn't hear from them until December. I thought I wasn't chosen at all, because you do not get a rejection letter if they Don't use your essay. The good things-- you retain all rights, so you can resell the work. It looks like they accept previously published work as well, as long as you let them know and you own the rights, of course. $200 and 10 books that you can sell to your friends, family, at your public speaking gigs (just not online) Most everybody has heard of Chicken Soup for the Soul, so the recognition is nice The not so good-- the competition the wait Well, Don, I think I may clean this email up in a few weeks and use it as a blog post, so thanks for the inspiration! I will follow this with the pdf of last months Scoop (the first few pages have dealines that have passed, so I didn't send those). I hope to get my html-savvy husband to help me so I can send a link to those, like you, who get that run-on sentence nonsense. Tina [ www.excuseeditor.com ]
Hi Tina, I am Don on Writer's Digest and I am the Spiritual Forum Moderator and the Humor Forum Moderator for them. I see you have had work published in "Soup For the Soul" Books. I had toyed with the idea of having work viewed there, but I researched them a bit and it felt like it would take a long time before work was selected and an even longer time before it would see print. So early on I was discouraged from sending any entries to them, though I have had a number of my stories published in other spiritual magazines. What has been your experience with them? Cheers, Don (aka: grassroots08, dgford, Greywolf) www.andrewmichaelford.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010



Imagine if you will - you are a writer. 

awritercomestocall by Don Ford 


Escritura | No Ficción

I hope some of the new folks on here are helped in some small measure by my scribblings. You other pros can take some time off - you won't need to read this - you have already arrived at the pinnacle of your successes. LOL Cheers! 

HOW to become a WRITER: 

In these times we live in, it would be good to have a bit of extra cash to fall back on. Folks are losing jobs all around us; and we could be next. Also, who wants to work hard labor after you retire. Why not sit down at a typewriter or computer and earn money to supplement those retirement years by selling a story or two. 


Things You'll Need: 

The get up and go to get up and get going - they say. ENTHUSIASM should be in the equation also. IMAGINATION will take you a long way on your journey too. Start with a STICK-TO-IT philosophy as the main ingredient. 


How to start writing, only requires a pen or pencil and a piece of paper or a napkin. When an idea comes to mind, be prepared to write it down on whatever is available to you - even your shirt sleeve. Great thoughts will come and go, and we need to always be ready to pen them down. You are a writer from the time you pen your first piece. Now say to yourself : I am a writer. Say it to yourself at first and then start telling others. Soon they will say it about you. "John, over there, is a writer." 


Start a library of your work. Keep poems with poems, and stories with stories. Build up an inventory of your work. You never know when you may be called upon to show and tell some of your writings. Join with other groups of writers for critique purposes, and find a mentor or two to work with you to answer questions you may have about the whole of the writing life. I have three across the world. One near me on the East coast, another out West, and a third in Australia. You can never have enough friends, or mentors in this case. 


Begin to send your work out to publications for possible sales. Match what you are interested in, or knowledgeable about, and get it out there. Don't let rejection slips discourage you. You will eat a peck of dirt before you die, it is also said. Follow the simple rules for sending out your pieces, by sending just what the magazine calls for. If it asks for up to 500 words, more is not better. Guidelines will show you the way. So keep your piece within the borders of the word count, and stay on topic with their readership. 


Your goal is to get that first paid story or poem out there. Start small, if you have to, in order to get your work published in the first place. Go to your local newspapers and offer a piece you have researched. My guess is they might take it, but usually until you send a few, they will not pay for them. Eventually, if they liked your past works, you can pitch the idea of being paid at a later date. Human interest stories about your life are an easy sell to magazines looking for personal interest pieces. Remember, these are the easiest to sell, so why not start sharing stories about your life right now, if you haven't before. Your first paying piece will be your right of passage into the writer's world and you will have an easier time convincing an editor to let you on board, once you sell that first piece. 

Tips & Warnings 

Never give up, as you begin on your journey along the writer's path. I began by pitching a story about recycling to my local paper. They liked the idea, and took my picture, and placed my article right away. No, I didn't get paid, but there I was in living color looking like a real writer (First time writer) in my local paper. I could almost hear relatives and friends saying, "Hey, did you know Don was a writer?" Cheers! P.S. I almost forgot to say GOOD LUCK! 

P.S. Since the penning of this piece I have been added to the rolls of the unemployed. Don't worry, I still have my sense of humor to carry me along, when there is time to squeeze it in between the flood of tears. LOL Cheers! 

Where eagles Soar, 

Don (Greywolf) 

Notas de autor
More good news: The editor looking at your piece, that is being considered for publication, can not accept or reject it on the basis of race, or creed, or the fact that you are tall or short, in a wheel chair, or writing from another world. LOL Myself, I prefer living between the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits. Cheers, Don

RESPONSE TO: awritercomestocall



Your writing has such an uplifting tone, Don. You encourage others to persevere through rough paths and bumpy roads. 

The 4 steps you have displayed are full of great advice and energize the reader to get off their bums and at least take the first step. 

Actually, you gave a fifth step - never give up! 

Great advice, told in a way that inspires the reader to keep on truckin'. ;) 

I enjoyed this, Don. Great work. 


 Comentario escrito 26-07-2009

respuesta por el autor en 26-Jul-2009

Thank you for a kinder than kind review. Stop back my friend. Cheers, Don


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Excellent information well written. I wish you the best of luck, and you are in my prayers with job hunting. Really hard times. So far, I am lucky (with pay cuts and furloughs-but I have a job). This is a very good check list for all of us aspiring to the trade.

 Comentario escrito 26-07-2009

respuesta por el autor en 26-Jul-2009

Albeit, a quickie list to be sure, but the bones of the greater structure. More could be added later by each writer in their own unique experience, Thanks for stopping by, Cheers, Don

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Basic helpful advice for anyone wanting to write. Offering up stories for the local paper is a good one, especially if you live in a really small town like I do (pop 550). The local paper is always looking for articals. 

Comentario escrito 26-07-2009

respuesta por el autor en 26-Jul-2009

A liked that they put my picture in with my recycling story and it ran opposite a college professor speaking on a similar topic, the bottle law. Cheers. Thanks for stopping by. Don

Let the Wind Blow

Let the Wind Blow

The wind we see it, where it is

And where it goes at times

Rustling through the trees

Moving leaves and branches

And when the breeze stands still

You know it’s simply waiting

To summon winds and gales

Becomes a mystery to most

You often feel a gentle brush

Upon cheek or through the hair

When the winds blow furiously

And trees bow, touch the ground

It garners awesome powers

Times astride with lightning

With thunder, rain, and the like

We know it’s up to mischief

We see It topple over buildings

And taking trees right with it

Nothing in its path seems safe

So under shelter wise men go

When we think of gentle breezes

And their purpose on this earth

How the struggling butterflies

And bird on wing seem helpless

Without the wind to lift them up

And carry them in their flight

So come dear wind  and blow

Upon the land - we welcome you

And if you must at times blow hard

May we in all those times find shelter.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Puppy love and loss

Hi Matt, I am so sorry for the loss of a family member, Shamrock. Our pets become our kids at times. It is good to see folks who care so much for their animals. After-all, they are people too. My daughter volunteers at the Dog Gone Inn of Manlius, caring for abused or discarded animals, dogs mostly. They are a rescue center and a designated no-kill shelter. If the animal saved is never fostered or adopted, it lives out its life there. Stop down sometime and have a look at all the smiling faces. My story about these homeless dogs was sent out to Portugal and won first place for November, 2009. The three dogs in the story were adopted shortly after the story went out. That same story went to fifty plus countries and to 3000 book club members. It was a great way to raise awareness of the plight of these precious animals - man's best friend.