By Milli Thornton
Milli, I want to let you know how much I adore writing for you, simply because of the sheer enthusiasm you have for what we’re all doing. I’ve come to thrive on it, I want you to enjoy what I write and that gees me on soooo much. — JM Merchant
MY EYES NEARLY bugged out of my head recently when I received this photo as an email attachment.
Jo Abram, a contributor over at my travel blog, said in the email:
Thought this might interest you. This afternoon I decided to make a list of articles I could potentially write for you. I printed off a blank table so I could think on my way to work. Attached is a photo of the result, completed on the bus on my way back from work.
I have a total of 36 articles I could write for you and that’s only up till today; I’m sure there’ll be more added to the list over the coming months so you’ll never be short of content from me!
Next, Jo compiled her handwritten list as a spreadsheet (so I can nominate the order in which I want to publish the stories) and sent it with this note: It’s gone up to 41 on my walk from bus stop to house!
It’s a good thing Jo gave me her latest story (Cape Reinga, New Zealand and the Awesome Bus) only a few days later. No editor with a breath left in her body could receive a dream list such as this one and then wait around while it grows cobwebs. That would be too cruel.
Jo (who writes as JM Merchant) has had a meteoric rise at Milliver’s Travels, from zero to staff writer in a few short weeks. Jo is the only one so far who read my Travel Writer Crash Course (ten minutes of reading, hint, hint, and you don’t have to be a world traveler) and then followed through by sending me a query.
Within a short time, she had her first travel story published on Milliver’s, and was working on her second. After appearing twice as a guest blogger she qualified to join the staff. Jo composed her list of 41 story ideas from a trip to New Zealand plus some trips and outings in her home country (the UK).
That said, I need to get busy with my own version of a writer’s spreadsheet. For weeks now I’ve been meaning to switch from an online list-maker (that wasn’t working for me because in the heat of the moment I would never remember to login) to a notebook where I can record my writing ideasby hand as they hit me. That’s what I do by default anyway, scribbling them on whatever bit of paper comes to hand at the time. It was a mess.
Jo has inspired me to get all my ideas into one notebook. I’ve got the various categories marked with Post-It notes and I’ve started copying in all the stray blog post titles, screenplay notes and what-have-you.
Thanks, Jo! You’re an inspiration to me, in more ways than one.
Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching.