Goals: Empower Your Writing Aspirations And Dreams

Goals: Empower Your Writing Aspirations And DreamsI remember back when I was in grade seven, being forced to sit at my desk and think about what to achieve during that school year. Each year, until twelfth grade, we had to fill out a goals form. I hated doing those forms. I’d rather work on an essay. It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I realized how vital aspiration is in life.

Goals are incredibly important in getting what you want out of life. For writers, goals for our writing are more than just important; they’re life. Without these aspirations, we have no motivation. We grow lazy and directionless. We accomplish nothing. Our personal and professional world closes in around us. We stop writing, which as a writer you know is a little like death.

I have been writing for a good chunk of my life but I had never submitted my writing to publishers. I’d never shared my writing with anyone. I write and then put it aside, in a draw, forgotten. Later I’d stumble on something I’d written months or even years before and wonder why I wrote at all.

One day my mother found something I’d written. After reading it, she asked me why I never tried to have my work published. I blinked with surprised. To be honest, it had never occurred to me. I never considered it. I’d never even thought of doing so. She suggested I make publication a goal of mine, and I did.

Goals can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. It all depends on who you are and what you want to achieve. I find many short-term goals helps me along the way to my main long-term goal. You know what, let’s do this together. Create a goal for your writing life, right now, with me.

First we need a main long-term goal. Mine is to:

  • Publish and produce screenplays.

Notepad with Goal ListBreaking this down into smaller short term goals I started with:

  1. Find an idea that excites me.
  2. Write the story.
  3. FINISH that story. – This is a tricky one for me because I tend to start many stories but rarely finish any.
  4. Edit and polish that story. – Editing not my forte.

These goals continue leading to the final to publication and production of my work.

Goal setting in this way might not work for you but it gives you an idea of how to begin planning ahead and setting the course for your own writing future. Your dreams and aspirations do not have to be elaborate. Some can be very easy to attain while others require more effort. Accomplishing a simple milestone makes me feel like I’m leaping towards the future I want for myself.

Whatever you’re striving to achieve, make sure to set your goals, write them down and place them where you will see them every day. Repeatedly reminding yourself of what you want to accomplish helps you focus and can increase your motivation. Go for it!

What writing-related aspirations do you have? What smaller goals and milestones do you create on the way to your primary goals?

Photo Credit: 07-11-08 © Michael Krinke
Image Credit: 08-05-09 © porcorex

Turning Pro: Ten Principles Define A Professional Writer

Check out the visual book summary by Sunni BrownLast week I wrote about Fiction Writing Success: The Markers And Achievements where I claim that the only true measure of success is in turning up to do the work. A successful writer, writes. Period.

Steven Pressfield calls it the act of “Turning Pro” in The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. According to Steven, there are ten principles, ten qualities, that define a professional writer.

  1. “We show up every day”

    If you show up to your writing every single day you are successful. Every day we face and conquer the page. We put in time in the trenches of our work and treat the job with commitment and consistency. Some professionals don’t show up “every” day but they do show up every “work” day. A professional writer sets her own hours and work days and shows up on time, prepared to do the job.

  2. “We show up no matter what”

    Excuses can become addictive. Let them go. A professional writer knows that if she doesn’t show up for work she won’t get paid; food won’t go on the table; bills pile up; kids go without clothes; and we end up in a cardboard box rattling a tin for spare change. A professional can take holidays and sick leave if absolutely necessary but she doesn’t allow “life” to get in the way of doing the work.

  3. “We stay on the job all day”

    Equally, the successful writer works the entire allocation. There are various parts of our jobs that must be done. It might involve writing, editing, research, or even book keeping. But every day we put in the hours we’ve scheduled and, even when it’s hard, we work. Some writers prefer to commit to word count instead of hours but whichever commitment we make, we stick to it until the bell rings and it’s time to clock out. Barring true emergencies, the professional puts in her time.

  4. “We are committed over the long haul.”

    A writer’s success is built on the understanding that writing fiction requires true dedication. It takes weeks, months, sometimes years to write a novel. It requires a commitment to the task. A professional knows that writing success isn’t about being a one-hit-wonder. It’s not in the publication of a single book, it’s in the lifestyle, the career. There is no quick and dirty path to fiction writing success. It’s a long, slow, hard trek across monstrous terrain and we go into this journey knowing we may never come out the other side, and even if we do we’ll be vastly different than when we began.

  5. “The stakes are high and real.”

    Have you wondered what job you’d take if you don’t “make it” as a writer? Prudence would have us making a backup plan but to be honest I shudder at the idea of doing anything else. It’s just not an option. This is what I do and I couldn’t choose to be an accountant, or a doctor, or a saleswoman. I can’t quit because writing is the only thing I was ever destined to do. There are no options, no choices, this is it. When you know that the stakes are high you won’t be able to quit either, and not quitting is where true success lies.

  6. “We accept remuneration for our labor.”

    It’s one thing to love our job and another to get paid doing it. A lot of passionate artists create for the pure joy of creation. Professionals create because of that joy, and the need to put food on the table. We give a great deal of ourselves, our time. We sacrifice all else that might have come from doing other things instead of writing. Everything we give to the page has value and as such we deserve to be compensated. Our writing is a gift to our readers. Not only must we appreciate the value of our time and energy but we must acknowledge within ourselves that squandering that time and energy in unproductive pursuits is like burning money or destroying masterpieces.

  7. “We do not over-identify with our jobs.”

    “I’m a writer.” We say it all the time, don’t we? But it’s not really true. I write and therefore my title is “writer”, but that is not who I am. I am Rebecca. The writer hat is just one of the many hats I wear. It is one facet of what and who I am. A successful writer understands that she is not the work she does. If you over-identify with your writing you leave yourself open to the destruction of your self-esteem when your work is rejected. You inflate your ego with reader’s praise. Your sense of success becomes dependent on what others think and feel about you and your work. It hinges on having a good or bad writing session. You are yourself, and your writing is a single facet of your world.

  8. “We master the technique of our jobs.”

    The true professional and successful writer is an ever-learner. We understand that it is impossible to know everything. We remain curious, we study, we research, we constantly strive to hone and improve. I write well, but I know that I write better today than I did a year ago. And I wrote better then than the year before and that year better than the one before it. The growing up of writing comes through our constant striving to master technique. This blog is all about learning and honing the craft of writing fiction because we constantly seek to improve our skill; to master technique.

  9. “We have a sense of humor about our jobs.”

    Without a sense of humor the emotionalism of writing tears us apart. I know I have to laugh or I’ll cry some days. Writing fiction requires a strong sense of humor even when we don’t write in the humor genre. You can’t take the job too seriously. It’s important to be respectful but knowing that there is no perfection and that, this too, is a transition through our lives helps keep us sane(ish).

  10. “We receive praise or blame in the real world.”

    I think this is one of the greatest leaps between the professional and the amateur. Until you can break out of your Fear of Rejection, your Perfectionism, your Fear of Failure, and a deep seated sense of self-doubt, your writing success is limited. While it is important not to put the opinion of others on a pedestal, a professional writer finds the courage to share her writing. A writer might write the first draft in a poky closet but she has to bring it out into the light at some point. Writing in particular is one of those arts that requires interaction. The process of putting words on a page is solitary but those words are intended for a reader. You may start with your family (although I don’t recommend it) but the true test of a writers success is in their courage to submit their work on a grander scale. The writing is one part of a writer’s success, being read is the other.

I’ll leave you with another wisdom from Stephen Pressfield and The War of Art. He closes the chapter on “turning pro” with this, “No Mystery”.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Stephen Pressfield

No Mystery – Stephen Pressfield
There is no mystery to turning pro.
It’s a decision brought about by an act of will.
We make up our minds to view ourselves as pros,
and we do it, simple as that.

Image Credit: “The War of Art – Visual Book Summary” Part II by Sunni Brown.
Photo Credit: The War Of Art Book Cover from Grand Central Publishing (April 1, 2003)

Fiction Writing Success: The Markers And Achievements

One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to define her success by some future marker.One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to define her success by some future marker. The successful writer isn’t the Hugo Award winner, the New York Times Bestseller, or even the name on a spine at Barnes & Noble. The successful writer is the one who writes. Did you write today?

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about, “turning pro”. Many amateur writers approach the page casually. When a writer has a vision of success that is some future marker they approach writing as an amateur.

If you feel like you have to “be published” to be successful, your concentration isn’t on the writing, it’s on the need and desire to be published. You don’t want to be a writer, you want to be published. What happens when you reach this marker of success? Your first book is published, now what? You’re successful? The end? What about the second book? Will there be a second book? Perhaps a successful fiction writer is really the person who writes more than one book. Perhaps a successful fiction writer is prolific. The marker of success moves as you reach milestones and you never have the opportunity to enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

Perhaps your idea of success is the understanding and acknowledgment of a reader. This validation is valuable, but it’s not real success. If your sense of success is dependent on the compliments and praise of readers your sense of failure is equally dependent. Most writers receive far more rejection then they do approval. If your sense of success is founded on the opinion of others you’re on a swift road to failure. A bad review will destroy your motivation. Fear of rejection will paralyze you; it is one of the most powerful causes of writer’s block. You must “[seed] your professional consciousness in a place other than [your] personal ego”1.

It’s important to have goals and markers as we build our writing career. When we first pick up our pens we commit to a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a page. We build on our milestones; a scene, a chapter, a book. Our goals grow with our writing and they give us a strong sense of destination and destiny. But, these markers and achievements do not equate success. Success cannot be measured on future accomplishments. Success is in what you do right now.

Examine your personal motivations as a writer. Why are you really doing this?

Now, look again, look deeper, because your surface reasons aren’t your real reasons at all. The ONLY real reason any of us follow this career path is because, “we love to write”. If you don’t, get out now.

Every one of us has the right to choose which career we venture into and, unlike the basic “day job” where you show up, clock on, and get paid, writing requires a commitment that will not be sustained by any drive other than love. Writing is a passion and the rewards of that writing are secondary.

In knowing that we choose to write for love our success comes from the act and not achievement.

Success built from creativity, confidence, courage, focus, will, luck, motivation, time, imagination, intelligence, ideas, and hardwork.Each time you begin writing, you are successful. If you wrote today, you are a successful writer. (Ok, so in some parts of the world it’s early morning so we will allow you time before work to relax but did you write yesterday? If you did, you’re a successful writer.)

If you’re truly passionate about being a successful fiction writer and you haven’t written today, stop reading, fire up your word processor, and write, right now!

Did you write today? Congratulations! I hope you took a moment to bask in the sense of accomplishment within your success. Now, how do you feel?

1 Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art
Photo Credit: 02-04-08 © ayzek
Photo Credit: 10-13-09 © Janne Ahvo

Don’t Let the Back Burner Go Out!

Don't let the goals and dreams go out in the dwindling flames of the backburner.

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ~ Diana Scharf Hunt

Being a freelancer often means burning the midnight oil – at both ends – and sadly, by the time assignments are completed, invoices are sent in, files are up-to-date, the laundry and dishes have been tamed, we’re simply too exhausted to turn our attention to our own projects.

You know what I’m talking about, right? The novel that’s burning a hole in your soul. The eBook you want to share with the world. Stacks of poetry that’s crying to be assembled.

Don’t let the dreams and goals you put on the back burner because life – and work – comes first become so removed that the flame goes out.

There’s nothing worse than realizing one day that something you intended on completing years ago, is still left unfinished.

Don’t let your dreams collect dust in a drawer or on your hardrive.

Life is short. Our dreams are valid. And there’s always a few minutes to spare if we find them.

Here’s a few tips to help you move your passions from the flickering back burner, to the front:

  1. Wake up before the house does. Whether you live with roommates, a husband or wife, have children – or even pets – consider sneaking up while they’re all sleeping so you can steal a few moments (or an hour or so!) for your personal projects.
  2. Not an early bird? Okay then, stay up after everyone’s gone to bed. If you have to, sneak back up once they drift off to dream land. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Savor every moment!
  3. Leave the house. If you have a laptop, steal away to your local coffee shop or library. And if the weather’s nice, try the park.
  4. Evaluate your dreams and set realistic, short-term goals to help you achieve them. It can be done. You can find a few minutes here and there to work on your own projects.
  5. Create a vacation for yourself. You took vacations off work before you started freelancing, right? Why not enjoy a little downtime now? Allow yourself a couple days a week or even take off a week. Save up for it. Plan for it. Make it happen!

You absolutely do not have to give up on the very dreams and goals that made you write to begin with. Nothing says you have to write for everyone else for the rest of your life. Stand up, rare your shoulders back, but a confident smile on your face, and step in to your writing destiny. You can do it!

And as my good friend, George Angus, recently shared: It’s Never Too Late!


Photo: djcodrin

Resource: Tumblemoose.com

A Day of Play to Recharge and Reinspire the Writer Within

Freelancing can be a rough business.  Receiving rejections, tedious rewrites, grumpy editors and more can plague everyone’s day and leave your family drained from the day’s ups and downs.  It might seem like a great idea to work later into the evening or throughout the weekend to catch up.  When deadlines are looming, a few extra hours is okay, but remembering to unwind and play is important, too.

Exercise is important for multiple reasons.  Exerting energy in bursts offers inspiration, boosts your metabolism, provides an outlet to physically exert frustrations, and helps keep your body healthy to handle the stressors of the day.  Spending the weekend away from the computer with your family offers plenty of activities that serve a dual purpose: exercise and bonding. 

Tips and Suggestions:

  • A picnic lunch at the park.
    • When planning your picnic out, remember to include plenty of items for outdoor fun.  Outdoor balls, wiffle balls and bats, plastic golfing games, frisbees, horseshoes and a volleyball serve in a pinch depending on your location.  If you find a part that serves different outdoor sports, invite friends and extended family to come along for added conversation and fun.
  • Walking along the waterways.
    • There’s a great program sponsored by Geocaching.com called, “Cache in, trash out.”  You can apply the same principle to any outdoors walk you take.  Carry with you a couple of small trash bags and pick up any debris along the way that could harm the space you have to meander.  Not only are you doing your body good when walking, you’ve made a positive impact on the environment.  Who couldn’t feel good about that?
  • Biking and Hiking in the hills and mountains.
    • Planning a trip to the mountains takes a bit more planning.  You must remember all your basic necessities including water, survival tools (knife, flints, flares) as well as pack high energy foods capable of sustaining you in the event you are trapped for the night.  Investing in insulating blankets to carry is a wise idea, too.  Seldom do people find themselves stuck on the mountain with no way down, but if it happened to you, it would provide an amazing story to pitch to an editor once you return to civilization.
  • Visiting a zoo or other local museum.
    • When the weather is less than favorable for an outdoor adventure, spending time inside might just serve you well.  As long as you are away from your work space and doing something outside your normal routine.  Walking through a zoo or large museum will exercise your body and mind.  Animals and displays from the past will recharge your inspirational pool. 

For many writers, finding balance between home and family can be difficult.  No matter how you are pulled to put in an extra couple of hours, make sure you are choosing your hours wisely.  If you can spent time out recharging yourself and build memories with your family, it’s more than worth staying up an hour later or rising an hour early to finish out that assignment.  Afterall, why work hard to achieve success when you aren’t reaping the benefits of what you sow?

Less is More – A Strategy for Freelance Writing Success

enjoying life, inspiration, freelance life, fresh air

Less is more. It really is.

I have the tendency to pour all of my mind, heart, and soul in to anything I do. Whether it’s a freelance project, a blog post, making a smoothie, or even a grocery list – I obsess over every detail.

Every day, I spend a huge chunk of hours on the computer. Even if I’m not connected to the Internet (I’ll be honest, most of the time, I am) I have several files open and am jumping back-and-forth between them, working on this article or that blog post.

I write and rewrite, proofread, and move paragraphs around until I have it just the way I want it.

This can be a good thing. Most of the time, it is. But it can also be a bad thing.

I’m working on a new approach to my freelance lifestyle: less is more.

I’ve noticed that when I unplug and shake loose all the words that are floating around in my head, I’m actually MORE inspired and write even better.

Who says you have to spend 15 hours glued to the computer daily to have a freelance writing business? I’ve become so engulfed in writing, blogging, answering comments, responding to emails, querying, marketing, promoting, chatting – when really I need to take a step back.

Like everything else in life, too much of anything isn’t really good for us. Food is good, but in moderation. Exercise is good, but overdoing it does harm. Reading is awesome, but not if we never do anything else in life.

So, here I am. Realizing that if I spend less time on the computer, I’ll be more inspired, healthier, happier, and more at peace with my life overall.

Social media can wait. Emails will sit patiently in my inbox. Blog posts can be scheduled and comments will await my return.

Am I leaving the freelance world. No, absolutely not! Will I still be writing? Yes! Blogging? Yes! Fluttering through social media sites like the butterfly I am? Yes!

But I’ll also be:

  • Stopping to smell the roses
  • Getting fresh air
  • Going for walks
  • Dedicating time to enhancing my yoga practice
  • Spending precious time with family and friends
  • Just being still in the moment
  • Clearing my mind
  • Recharging
  • Having some fun
  • Reading
  • Experimenting with recipes
  • Playing with the farm critters
  • And more…

This is my prediction: You’ll begin to see my writing become more prolific. My social media posts will be even more inspiring, uplifting, and encouraging than ever before – because I will be. My writing won’t suffer – it will soar higher than ever before. My freelance writing business will flourish more than I ever dreamed. This is just the beginning.

Why will all these things happen? Because I’ll be nurturing the most significant writing relationship I have – the one with myself.

I’m choosing quality over quantity. Spending almost every waking hour of the day – every single day – working on reaching all of our writing goals and dreams may not be what it takes to achieve the success we desire.

The past few days, I’ve made a point to turn the computer off, go outside, spend time with the animals, take long walks, and just enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and flowers. It’s so nice to just be. To soak up nature’s beauty and enjoy life in that moment, that still, quiet moment.

And when I come back inside and crank the old laptop back up, words purge from my soul like a raging river. There’s no . There’s no wondering what I’m going to write next. There’s no lack of inspiration.

My muse dances all around me, singing ideas happily. And that’s the way it should be.

How do you feel about the “less is more” approach? How many hours do you spend a day writing, or surfing the cyber waves? Is life passing you by? Do you keep pushing yourself until you’re burnt out, or do you stop to smell the roses?

Photo Credit: 10-03-09 © Sculpies

5 Things Aspiring Freelance Writers Must Know

Five Things Aspiring Freelance Writers Must Knowby Anna Miller

It’s a job that everyone wants to do, because they think it’s easy as pie and the perks are great – you can work from the comfort of your home, at schedules that suit your convenience, and all you need as investment are a computer, word processing software, a good Internet connection, and some creativity with words. But being a freelance writer, especially one who is successful, is not exactly a bed of roses. Yes, the job is great if you want to choose writing as a profession, but before you take to freelancing, here are a few things you must know:

1. Procrastination never pays

When you’re a freelancer and able to set your own schedules and work at your own pace, you tend to put work off when you’re caught up in other activities. You convince yourself that you have all the time in the world, and then when your deadline looms closer, you find yourself rushing to complete the work in the little time that you have. When you do this once too often, you could end up compromising the quality of your work and losing valuable clients in the bargain. So avoid procrastination, and if you feel yourself delaying work for some reason or the other, nip the habit in the bud.

2. You must avoid distractions

When you work from home, there are numerous distractions to contend with – the television, your chores at home, children, visitors and family members taking up your time, and other diversions tend to take up your time if you’re not dedicated to work. And worst of all, the Internet is a very tempting and hard-to-avoid distraction if you work in an unsupervised environment and keep your own hours. Unless you make a concentrated effort to avoid distractions, you’re going to waste away the better part of the day.

3. Keeping commitments is important

A freelancer’s success is based on their regular clients perceive them – if they come across as writers who are always on schedule and continue to produce quality work time and again, it’s not going to be hard to find regular work. Unlike a regular job, a freelancer must work at getting each assignment, and the best way to establish themselves in the industry and gain regular gigs is to earn credibility as a responsible and skilled worker who honours commitments and also writes well.

4. Schedules help

Although you have the freedom to choose and set your own schedules when you work from home, it’s best to establish a regular schedule for work, just like those that are enforced in offices. This not only helps you avoid distractions but also reinforces to other people the fact that you’re working and should not be disturbed.

5. Maintaining connections is necessary

And finally, it’s important to stay connected to other people in the business and your clients so that you continue to get assignments on a regular basis. The best way to do this is to join forums for freelancers and also set up profiles on social networks through which you can connect to fellow professionals and potential clients. When you prove that you’re committed to your work, it’s easy to establish yourself as a successful freelance writer.

This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of online degrees. She welcomes your comments at her email id: anna.miller009@gmail.com.

What are the most important things you think aspiring freelance writers should know?

5 Strategies for Reviewing Success

5 Strategies for Reviewing Success as a Freelance Writer

“Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.” – Quote Garden – Joe Paterno

In my last post about reviewing (Becoming a Reviewer: Where to Begin), I shared 5 tips with you on how to get started.

Today, I’d like to share with you…

5 Strategies for Reviewing Success

  1. Honesty is the best policy. Always, always tell the truth – even if you find a negative aspect (or several!) in the product or system you’re reviewing. This is most important, especially if you’re a blogger or the author of a review column, etc. Your audience needs to know they can trust your judgment. Your reputation is of value. Your readers’ experiences are of value. Don’t be the cause of them spending their hard-earned money on products you highly recommend, but aren’t in keeping with your rave review. Keep it real.
  2. Be thorough. Highlight details and clue readers in on everything you can think of to share – including fun facts or solid information about the company’s history, team and/or owner(s). Saying something like “oh, I loved the product… it was great” is not enough to provide a solid foundation for someone who is truly interested in purchasing the item you’re mentioning.
  3. Follow up with readers. If comments are allowed where you posted your review, try to answer readers’ questions or at least direct them to someone who can. Sometimes we forget to include something they may want to know. (We can’t think of everything!)
  4. Don’t forget the pros and the cons. Readers want to know both the good and the bad. If it’s a food or beverage, be sure to include how it tastes and/or smells, how appetizing it may be, how much it costs, and even list a few ways they might introduce this product to their usual meals or snacks, etc.
  5. Openly thank the company/individual who sent you the product(s) to review. They not only deserve the recognition for their generosity, they deserve a thank you for taking the time to acknowledge you as a reviewer and give you the opportunity to sample their product, free of cost.

And, yes, I absolutely try to adhere to these strategies when I write reviews. I’ve grown and learned along the way, so I have written reviews in the past that were short and sweet. Each time I’ve written a new review, though, I’ve built upon what I learned from writing the previous one. And, so writing reviews is not only becoming easier for me, they’ve become so much more enjoyable as I pass on to the reader not only my thoughts, but valuable, honest information, with integrity and a genuine heart.

Do you write reviews? Are you thorough? Will you try to be more thorough from now on? Do you think it’s wrong to be paid for reviews? Do you think it’s wrong to receive free products for review? And what do you think about the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling for bloggers? Has it kept you from writing reviews? Or, are you just more cautious? I’ve always been upfront and openly thanked the sponsoring company who sent me products to review – I’m glad!

And stay tuned… more tips are on the way! Is there anything in particular you’d like to know? Share in the comments!

Did you enjoy this article? Feel free to visit the other articles Michele has written for Writer’s Round-About–or contact her to write for you.

Image credit: lockstockb

Your Career: Only YOU Can Make it Happen

Jennifer Greenleaf's January Book Tour and Virtual Book SigningTouring the Blogosphere, Jennifer Greenleaf takes a few moments to share her success secrets with Writer’s Round-About. This weekend she’s doing a special promotion.

How can you take part? “Each book has its own custom bookplate designed and signed by Jennifer Greenleaf. All customers have to do is forward their receipt to Jennifer once the purchase has been made, and then they will receive their signed bookplate. The email you need to use in order to receive your custom bookplate is jgbooksigning@aol.com“. So get yourself the book or books of your choice and get in touch with Jennifer. Meanwhile, enjoy a few words from Jennifer about making success happen.

Even though I’ve been writing professionally since 1999, I still feel I’m very wet behind the ears when it comes to career building. When I first started out, I felt I needed to depend on others in order to find success and make things happen. Here are a couple of areas where I went wrong:

  • I thought if my target market approached me for work, I was successful. WRONG.
  • I thought if I got my name “out there,” that would be all I had to do to obtain writing gigs and clients. WRONG.

Not only was I depending on people to contact me, but I was also depending on other people (like the places where I was published, for example) to get my name out there. Despite being a motivated self-starter, I wasn’t “making it happen.” It took me about three years to realize these mistakes, and I’ve been working on “in your face” type promotions for my freelance writing and books.

There are a number of ways YOU can make it happen. Here are a few:

  1. Query often: querying has to be part of your regular routine if you want your freelance writing career to really work. This is, of course, unless you have already created a good stable of steady work. For those who are novice in the field, it’s essential to make this a fixture in your work schedule.
  2. Blog regularly: Google is a tool your prospective gigs, clients, and editors will use to find out more about you. This is true even if you’ve already landed the job. If you’re blogging regularly about a topic your passionate about or your career, they’re able to see a consistent stream of writing samples regularly. They’ll also learn a bit about your style, maybe learn about some of your goals, and probably figure out what your favorite kind of ice cream is…wait…never mind….
  3. Be reliable: if for some reason you’re unable to make a deadline, be known for good communication. Don’t be unreliable; otherwise you’ll quickly earn yourself a bad reputation. You’d be surprised who knows whom in which circles and, before you know it, you’ve earned yourself a bad name. I learned a trick when I was first starting out to write “dummy” deadlines on my calendar that was a few days prior to the real one. That way, I’m always early or right on time!

This is a New Year and good opportunity to dream big, and make your career exactly what you envision it to be. Follow other writers who are making it happen, learn the ropes of the business from writing websites (like this one, for example), and be realistic about what you can accomplish and when. You can make it happen!

Step Up To Promote Your Writing Business In 2010

I'll be your private dancer, dancer for money!

No more half stepping!

I’m taking a page from one of my favorite Tina Turner’s songs, “I’ll be your private dancer, dancer for money!” as the incentive to set fire to my creative endeavors and get the ball rolling, the juices of creativity flowing, and the networking on full blast. I’m dedicating 2010 to reach my goal of garnering profit from my Freelance Writing Business.

There are things I’m still learning on this solo journey into freelance, but, I’m already set in motion by landing my first major client just before the Christmas Holidays (can you say, “oh, happy day?!”) and I’m gearing up for my first at home telephone interview from another possible client. I’m not a great dancer and I’m a bit too settled to do it for money, but I am confident in my ability to create other people vision into their reality. Over the last three years, through trial & error, submissions and rejections , encouragements and online classes, I’ve gained a bit of know-how in learning/incorporating steps to build up my Freelance Writing Business. The stuff I’ve learned from seasoned pros is meant to be shared, I think, as a preamble to accomplishing ones dream. 

I’m also writing this post from a position of needing to explore my own passion. Put myself and my vision out there freely for an oftentimes discriminate world to examine. I ask that you be kind in your critiques, but, if not, it’s all good! The five steps to promotion that I’ve found works best in bringing  my own personal vision to the forefront and that I offer up to all creatives with dreams, are:

1. Define your niche

Initially, I fought against this because I felt I’d dipped my pen into too many inkwells to be selective; no more! You must find that one thing that drives you and explore the possibilities. When you answer the questions people are sure to ask as in “What makes your product different?” you know you’re on the right track.

2.  Stay positive and focused

It’s hard when your thoughts are like jumping jacks. Your dreams are many and your vision ever changing, but, you must find a way to manipulate your creativity. Have it do your bidding in a purposeful, concise manner. Organize your thought patterns.

3. Seek counsel

I’ve been blessed to have an older woman/adviser who acts as my writing mentor. She has encouraged and soothed away my writing insecurities  over the years and for this I remain truly grateful… I also have a firm belief in “spirit”. I “know” that I am never alone in this often lonely freelance writer business. It matters very little who/where you turn for comfort. It matters most that you do.

4. Network

I’m finding myself opening up to the possibility of making new friends on this journey in freelancing. Recently, I came across a blog whose writer impressed me. I invited her, along with several writer friends, to meet and greet at my home. The events of the evening included good conversation, poetry recitals, tales of life lived  in foreign countries, business cards, plugs, and plentiful helpings of good food & wine . Also, the blogosphere & Twitter have allowed me to network with people as far as New Zealand and as close as the Southside of Chicago, Illinois and the hits just keep on coming!

5. Enjoy what you do

I think this last bit of advice when embarking upon growing your freelance writing business is a given. If you don’t like the long hours, hard, and sometimes tedious work… if you’d rather be out and about having fun with your friends, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen 99% of the time or just abhor waiting for a response to a query… if rejection causes you to go into a eternal funk; Maybe you’d better get out now while the getting is good!

Have you considered how you’re going to do 2010 differently? What do you think are the most important habits you need to develop for success in the year ahead?