The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!

         A long time ago--probably decades--I read that freelancers recycle. They take a story or an article, rework it to give it a different spin, and submit it to another market. Even if it's been published, once you rewrite it and give it a new focus, it's a new piece. That advice never left me.

      I figured it was a frugal way to spend one's writing time, but I never knew just how jazzed I would get about it until this week.

     This week I have been busy submitting to the new collections that are called Not Your Mother's Books. And here is how I am recycling:

  • My son and his trumpet. It's a Chicken Soup story, and also a couple of submissions for "Not Your Mother's Book--On Being a Mom" or "On Family." I'm taking his practicing--that torture is the center of its own story--and when he was in marching band and had to deal with his long hair, and when he played in college and needed to buy a tux at the last minute and the freaky way he dressed going to his weekly trumpet lessons. One subject, lots of stories. (And shouldn't the kid who made me addicted to hair dye be the subject of money-making stories?)
  • My adoption. It's going to be a CS story for parenthood (I hope) and I've also spun it into a NYMB story.
  • My body's rapid decline. I have already submitted a story about what happens to breasts during menopause. (What a fun, versatile accessory they are now!) My stomach is pushing itself forward, trying to get its due attention. Then there's facial hair--on women. The topics are endless.
        How do YOU make the best of your writing time? Do you recycle? Share, please. 


  1. Why not? Reader's Digest has been reworking the same issue for decades!

  2. Yes, I do! No point in working twice as hard if we don't have to. And often the recycled piece outshines the first.

  3. So glad you brought this up! I've been meaning to try it for ages. You just inspired me. WWSD?

  4. Well...first I need to cycle. THEN I can recycle. I've got too many stories floating around on seven years of blog, and I have trouble choosing which ones to submit.

  5. I've recycled so many times, adding embellishments and altering scene and dialogue, that stories which began as non-fiction became creative non-fiction and then fiction and then fantasy. I don't even remember what's true anymore. Now NYMB wants non-fiction! If I cut back to that there's no story left.
    My kids insist that they were never saved from a speeding train by our dog Rambo who wore a gun belt for a collar. Okay. But they say we never even had a dog. I don't have memory loss, I have memory addition.

  6. Fireblossom--You are so right.

    Lisa--I agree. Once you have the chance and the time to rethink and rework, the second version is often better.

    Tammy--You should know better. NEVER use WWSD, unless it is what NOT to do.

    Val--Then you better start pedalin'.

    Marcia--Mama's always right. Don't listen to those pesky kids.

  7. Hi Sioux,

    You are so inspiring--and energetic.

    About recycling: Just the week I sent a recycled short story to an anthology, and got an acceptance. I checked with the editor of the first place it was published to make sure I owned the rights; all she asked was that the reprint mention it where it was first published.

  8. You really got me this time, Sioux! When I saw your title, I actually thought you wrote about know...soda cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, etc. How silly of me! I swear I gotta start sleeping better at night....or taking REALLY long naps during the day. One of my pals keeps hogging my side of the bed every night. What can I say? He loves me! :)

  9. With as many submissions that are popping up all over, recycling is the answer! Oh and don't forget about getting your head stuck in a sink :-)

  10. Linda--For what?

    Donna--When I get as many accepted pieces as you have, I'll be able to do that too.

    Becky--Naps are good things.

    Lynn--How could I EVER forget that?


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