Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Connect with Your Fellow Writer

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2009 at 7:06 pm

As a writer I’ve placed a high priority on networking and socializing with other writers.  I thought it was high time I’d shared with my cherished readers why this is such an important factor in your career.  How could I have let this go unnoticed and un-blogged-about for so long?

Fellow writers can serve a mentors, support systems, and motivation.  You can share feedback on each other’s work, ask about their successes and failures.  Pick up jobs when their workload is too heavy, share blog appearances, etc.  One good example of a writer I met and how the time I took to reach out paid off is here.

Here are some more specific examples of how writing relationships can benefit you:

  • Mentors.  As a beginning writer mentors can be hard to come by.  Most established writers have huge workloads and otherwise are unable or uninterested in taking the time to review your work.  But if you do meet someone who’s willing to take the time to give you some pointers, hold on tight with both hands!  Take advantage of having someone to look at your work critically.  Ask that they look over pieces before you submit them.  Pick their brains about the best publications for beginners.  And last but not least be respectful of their time, and don’t forget that they are doing you a favor.  Offer to take him/her out for lunch from time to time, send cards or gifts on holidays and birthdays, make sure he/she knows that their time is appreciated.
  • Support Systems.  Fellow writers can be invaluable to you.  When you’re feeling discouraged they’ll be able to relate.  If you need someone to hold you accountable they’ll know what you should be doing.  When you need a cheering squad they’ll know exactly how hard you’ve worked and what you were up against.  If you have writer friends, don’t take these relationships for granted.  Suggest feedback sessions, you can look over each other’s work.  Trade clips and tips when you are successful with a particular publication.    You can trade blog posts and hand off assignments when your work load is too heavy.  But most importantly, don’t focus so much on what the other person can do for you that you forget to consider what you can do for your friend.  No one likes a one-sided relationship.
  •   Advice.  In most cases, even if you are not friends or do not have a mentor/mentee relationship a writer will be willing to give an interview or answer a few quick questions.  So take a risk and shoot some e-mails to a couple local writers, or some of your favorites.  The worst that can happen is say no.  And in the event that they ay yes you’ll have a great opportunity to pick their brains regarding their writing success.  Ask then how they broke into freelancing, their favorite writing resources, their favorite pearls of wisdom, etc.
  • Working Relationships.  In some cases you may come across writers looking for someone to co-author a blog, or a book.  This can be a great opportunity to build a larger audience by sharing the burden of promoting.  But beware of who you create lasting ties with.  Make sure you read their work beforehand and are certain that they can in fact write well and would be a positive reflection on you.  And it would be a good idea not to rush into a project until you’re fairly certain that they’re not crazy.
  • Authors…you will need someone to review your books and platforms to promote your books.  So building relationships with writers is essential.  The reverse is also true, if you write book reviews yu will need to reach out to authors.

Of course if you know of more ways that networking can help, let me know.  I’d love to include it.

So what are you waiting for?  Go mingle.

And Now I’m A Writer! by Anjanette Morton

In Guest Blog Posts on December 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Though I’d always had a secret passion for writing, I never imagined that I would someday make it my career. But as with many fabulous turns in life, once I decided to walk down this path, I received just the right feedback to let me move forward.

A few years ago, I left yet another soul-draining job. I was 29 and completely dissatisfied with the direction my so-called career was taking. Too often I let a misguided sense of obligation keep me in a role that I preformed well, but got no satisfaction from. This particular job saw me working for 2 owner/managers who spent most of their time pursuing their spiritual growth rather than growing their own business.

I decided to leave the job and spend time thinking about what approach I should take with my seemingly non-existent career aspirations. I actually preferred to work alone, with a general guideline and a specific deadline. And, for once, I wanted to do something that might use my creativity (before it was stomped to a definitive death).

When my husband and I also started to talk about possibly starting a family, an idea began to crystallize. I’d been shopping around fruitlessly for a book to give me some tips-and-tricks about what I could do to ready my body (and our life) before we began to start trying for a baby. I wanted something easy to read, not overly wordy or medical and with some practical ideas about exercise and nutrition. No matter where I looked, I just couldn’t find something to fit – everything on the market (and there wasn’t a lot) was either dated or completely intimidating. Complaining one night to my husband, he said “Well, then why don’t YOU write the book you’re looking for?”

And that was the start of my career in writing.

I spent the next several months doing research and slowly writing my book. I had a very specific idea about how I wanted the book to look and how it would help the readers. I got a variety of friends and acquaintances with different areas of expertise to read through the manuscript. I wanted all feedback, as many suggestions as possible – I truly wanted to reach the right balance between informative and accessible.

After my fourth edit, I wrote my book proposal (a virtual necessity if you are writing non-fiction) and began to approach literary agents to test out the interest in my concept. I was amazed that I actually got positive feedback from my query letter from greater than 20% of the agents I approached. However, the overwhelming message was that my lack of previous publishing experience (and the fact that I wasn’t a doctor) would hold the manuscript back. So I decided to ask my trusted doctor if she would co-author the work – vetting all of the recommendations and adding any medical info she thought should be included. Lucky for me, she was impressed enough with what I’d created to jump on board.

Fast forward a few months and one overseas move later and my project had stalled. I was busy with a baby and had let my query process take a back seat. I didn’t have the funds to self-publish, so that wasn’t an option, but it also seemed unlikely that a major publishing house would be willing to take a chance with a (purposefully) shorter manuscript. I then remembered that an old friend of the family had recommended a publisher who was a mix between a traditional and a vanity press. I went to their website and completed their online query form. The next day they requested a full copy of the manuscript and within a week I had a contract in front of me. While it wasn’t my top publishing house choice, it would mean that my book would be available for purchase in hard copy and I’d be receiving royalties for all sales.

Since my book was published I have done some (not nearly enough) marketing for it and have more recently branched out to do paid articles for various local magazines and web sites. I started my own blog this last year with hopes to expand the site to include video blogging and perhaps contribute to various other blogs and online magazines. Like anyone who has done the hard yards with their manuscript, I look forward to getting the time to do a full edit and update with fresh eyes, more experience…and possibly another book or two under my belt.

You can find Anjanette online at Writergrrl on the Loose… or follow her on Twitter.