Monday, April 18, 2016

Building the CV part II: Specific CV building points

This discuss of the CV continues with the some specifics today. As I've said, too often with a CV, it's something that a writer develops as an after-the-fact situation. I mean, generally, someone will create their CV only after they've done something. I was no different. My initial CV, I put together after I finished grad school, created Umbrella Factory Magazine, and had done some work with Rocket House Pictures. I doubt I could have created a better CV if I had decided to “play it forward” and done things to specifically create the CV.

Of course, I'm changing my course of action now. I am suggesting to do things specifically for the CV.

I think for the writer, there are very few things you can do to make your CV more attractive outside of publication. Publication is the only real reason to be a writer. And publication should be the bulk of a writer's CV.

Some secondary things: education, teaching, editing. These three things are certainly part of a writer's CV. When I say education, it can be something as formal as a grad program or a couple of classes at the community rec center. Teaching can be just as varied, teaching a workshop, facilitating a writer's group or a professional gig in a school somewhere. And I think editing can be just as varied. Editing can be anything from maintaining a blog like this, working as an editor on a magazine, editing someone else's work, or any job within the publication process.

That being said, I think there are ways of building your CV very quickly. With education, remember, adding what you've done is important. Taking a writer's workshop in your neighborhood that lasts a few weeks is certainly a quicker addition than a two (or more) year grad school program. When you think about the comparison between grad school and a short workshop, there are a few points to consider. First, a workshop or two will cost significantly less in both time and money than grad school. Perhaps you may not think a writer's workshop will have as much clout, but remember, you will only get out of something, anything, what you put into it.

Next, the teaching portion of a CV. If you have formal education, or heaps of experience that can translate to a teaching gig, it may be time to pursue it. After all, when you teach, you expand your sphere of influence. If you don't have any credentials to be a teacher, consider facilitating a writer's group. I bet you know at least a handful of writers, in all levels of serious and skill. When you develop a writer's group, keep these things in mind: what are you trying to achieve? Who do you want to be around? And what do you need to do to accomplish those things? I think a writer's group what meets on Tuesday nights at the neighborhood bar for a quick read and workshop process of each other's writing and then onto gin is one thing, and there is a place for this. A writer's group that meets on Tuesday night to discuss one writer's piece with good constructive criticism and possible markets to submit the work to, is another sort of thing. Being focused on what your group wants to achieve will lead to whom you'll invite to join and that will lead to the how of it.

Last, editing. This is a great thing to consider. As soon as you get out from your writer's rock, and start to publishing, you'll meet people, and it will lead to many other things. For instance, when I started Umbrella Factory Magazine, it led to this blog, Sophia Ballou and ultimately to Ring of Fire Publishing. I feel like it only takes one step forward, the first step. Start a blog, start a magazine, or find a magazine to work on as an editor, or an editor at large. You can build something very professional, or very simple. For instance, I contribute to my wife's blog weekly, and it's not very formal, but we each write on it weekly. In a way, since this blog is between my wife and me, it has become a small writer's group, because we do critique the other.

Next week: we'll get into some nuts and bolts of publications. In the meantime, make a small inventory of all the short stories, poems or whatnots, and take a look at New Pages, Duotrope, Issuu and Submittable.

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