A Little Pick-Me-Up

Do you send short pieces to magazines, newspapers, online sites or contests?

Writing a novel can be a long, arduous process and taking a break once in a while is fun.  If I run across a request for an article or “name that caption” or other feature, I sometimes stop and write a short piece just to give myself a break from writing my novel.  It invigorates me and helps me change my mindset enough that new ideas spring forth for my novel.  It’s like taking a walk after sitting through a three-hour conference.

Today I saw a blurb in a magazine about “sharing your secrets to a happy marriage.”  I thought it would be fun to think about and jot some things down.  My husband and I are celebrating a milestone anniversary in June so it seemed like a timely subject to consider.

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Most of the time, the little articles or blurbs don’t bring any money in, but I am surprised by the number of people who see some of the things I have written.  It’s fun to hear their comments.  It reaffirms that maybe I do have something to write about and contribute to people’s enjoyment.

I once wrote a blurb for the city newspaper’s “Name the Caption” segment that they publish every Friday.  The picture was of several Canadian geese crossing the road at a stoplight.  Several geese (20-30) were stopped in the middle of the street.  Some looked as if they were watching for traffic.  Most of the geese were facing away from the camera with their backs to the reader.  My caption was “Your incessant honking is not going to make the light change any faster.”  I received so many positive comments from people on that one little sentence.

Another time I sent a short piece to a publication that was looking for “Hidden Gems.”  I had just visited a high school friend who lives in a small town.  I found it interesting that the little town of 2,200 people had some very unique features.

Its water tower had a baseball player painted on it.  I found out that a famous major league player grew up in the little town in the 1900’s. Because of that claim-to-fame, the town had a baseball museum. Image www.nebraskabaseballmuseum.com/home.html 

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My husband and I decided to tour the museum.  First, we had to call the telephone number of the gentleman who had the keys and wait for him to come unlock the doors.  His number was on the front door. By the time he arrived another couple had shown up to see the museum.  

I was very impressed with the little museum as well as an area near the municipal hall where buildings from the 1880’s had been preserved.

Gate to historic village

 We ate a restaurant that held over 3,000 cookie jars.  With the baseball museum, the historic village and the cookie jar restaurant, I decided this truly was a hidden gem.  I wrote the article and it was published.  People in the small town were thrilled.  My friend called me their goodwill ambassador.

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The Sweet Shop (the cookie jar restaurant)

As a writer, I constantly look for interesting things, places and people.  I “store” them away in my mind until I find a story to put them in.  Sometimes they end up in a short story or sentence that I submit for publication.

None of these pieces have taken much time or effort to write, yet I have received many accolades for their creation.

I enjoy writing short pieces as I write my novel.  It is like having a cool beer on a hot day–a little something to cool down the overloaded senses and pick up the spirit.

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