Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Get Your Writing in the Hands of Readers

In Getting started on August 20, 2010 at 1:46 am

Before I jump right in, I wanted to remind everyone that I am hosting my first giveaway to celebrate the re-launch of this blog.  You can win a copy of Christina Katz’ book Get Known Before the Book Deal.

Breaking free of the “beginner” or “aspiring” writer titles can be tricky.  It requires that you have actually done a fair amount of writing, and if you’ve gotten paid to do so that’s an extra boost. 

Querying is a necessary evil in the writer’s life.  But it is not the only proactive step you can take.  Getting published is not only about pure ability and persistence; it is also about demonstrating that you have an audience.  So, it would stand to reason that building your audience would be a worthwhile endeavor (I talk more about that here and here).

In the posts linked above I talk a lot about building your audience through Twitter and online networking – which is great.  But it doesn’t get your product into the hands of your audience.  Having hundreds of followers is lovely, but those followers are an untapped resource if they’re only reading your tweets.  You want people reading your work.  You want to show editors and publishers that you are writing, and people are already reading/buying your work.  Show them you’re a good investment!

Now for the “how“.  I have chosen to start with blogging, which is an excellent example of getting your writing into readers’ hands.  However, you’re options aren’t only limited to blogging. 

If your goal is to become a best-selling author, then a good place to start would be with an e-book.  There are some opposing opinions on this, but if you ask me it’s a great way to get your first book in the hands of readers, at no cost, and build fan base in the process.  Bare in mind that “e-book” doesn’t mean you put in any less effort.  You will sill have to promote it and make sure it’s flawlessly written.  You can get away with making it shorter than your average full-length book though, depending on how much you decide to sell it for.  Smashwords is a great resource for selling your e-book.

You can produce an e-newsletter, or an e-zine.  The benefit of the newsletter is that it gives you the opportunity to collect the email addresses of potential customers for when you do have a product to sell.  You can search out online writing opportunities as a contributing writer (in most cases larger sites will be looking for more experience).  This gives you the growth potential of a blog without the pressure of facilitating the site yourself.

Whatever avenue you choose to take – keep the mission in mind.  You want people reading your work.  How are you going to get your writing out there?

When Being a Mom Isn’t Enough by The CrayonWrangler

In Guest Blog Posts, Writing & Motherhood on August 19, 2010 at 12:01 am

I had big dreams for myself.  Then I had kids.

For four years I believed that my dreams could not exist alongside motherhood.  I settled myself down to changing diapers and answering questions like, “Can God make a rock so big He can’t move it?” I began to feel out of touch with the rest of the adult society, being able to only discuss meal options for toddlers and bathroom schedules for potty training. I felt brain cells dying an agonizing death each time I sat down with the children to watch some animated character sing a song about “not biting your friends.”

My dreams for myself were now sitting in the bottom of a diaper pail.  Until I began an online journal about my three girls as a way of documenting their lives. I assumed that as those brain cells were dying, I better get it all written down.

Day after day I dutifully recorded the events of that day and began to take pictures to compliment the written words. One glorious day something amazing happened. I had a comment from a reader that said how much she enjoyed reading about our adventures and how it made her feel not so alone. She commented on a post where I was almost at my wit’s end with one of my daughters who had made artwork out of a dirty diaper. I began the next day with a mission to not only journal about our daily life, but to do it in a way that others could relate.

I began to use a more descriptive voice and took the time to take better pictures. Much like a pea thrown at the dinner table, it hit me. I was living my dream. My experiences with my girls and all the years I was putting behind the camera and computer to journal, my creativity was exploding. There are many days when being a mom is just too much. Too much noise, too much mess and too much personal space invaded. At the same time, being a mom sometimes is just not enough. Not enough times to fulfill dreams and not enough time to be the person you were before kids.

For a long time I felt guilty that my dreams were still so important that I mourned them. I felt that as a mom, I needed to let go of the dream of being a writer and photographer and be content just being around my kids. I have begun to see that by finding a way to continue living my dream, I am a better mom. There is no rule saying that you have to quit being who you are and who you wanted to be just because you became a mom. By continuing to strive for your goals keeps you in touch with who you are and gives you a chance for growth. You can come watch me live my dream by visiting me at where I still talk about our daily adventures and learn to laugh at them along with you.

You can also follow me here.

The Secret Weapon

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I often suggest that as an aspiring writer you seek the advice and wisdom of other writers.  I try to take my own advice, as such I have had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of some pearls of wisdom from other writers.  If I had to pick just one tip from all the advice I’ve gotten, there is one that stands out among the rest, and has resonated with me: Write often (more specifically – write daily).

Apparently that old cliche, “Practice makes perfect” has some truth to it.  Suzanne Reisman once told me in an interview “….one of my teachers said that writing is generative. The more you do it, the better you become. That is very true.”

I’m of the opinion that the best kind of daily writing is the kind that is actitvely moving toward your goals, i.e. writing query letter, blog posts, book proposals, etc.  But writing is writing, even if no one else reads it.  The idea is that you want to exercise those “writing muscles”. 

A good place I would recommend you start is Funds for Writers.  The resources offered here are garaunteed to give you plenty opportunities to get writing!  Writer’s Digest also offers an extensive list of writing prompts here.

Finally, the only thing better than writing daily is top have said writing critiqued frequently (and critiquing another writer’s work whenever possible is also good exercise).  By participating in communities for writers – online or in person – you’ll have many opportunities to exchange feedback.  Otherwise, just reaching out to writers via Twitter or email may yield some favorable results.

How often do you write?  And where do you get your best feedback?

The Right Writing Group for You

In Blogapalooza on August 17, 2010 at 8:45 pm

First let me say that I am really enjoying Blogapalooza.

I decided I would review some of my old posts and expand a bit on a few topics.  How appropriate for the re-launch of my blog!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I originally launched Searching for Freelance Success in August 2009.  In that first post I talked about embarking on my writing career – taking that first step.  I talked about launching Mommy Writers in hopes of connecting with other mothers struggling to balance a writing career.

Since then Mommy Writers has had some success, but suffered with my recent hiatus.  SO I have decided to put that project on hold while I focus my energy on fewer projects, like gaining some momentum on my Twitter account and re-launching this site.

But what about networking?  Learning from other writers?  Connecting?  I’ve decided to sit back and just participate for a while instead of facilitating.  With that I have returned to a few social networking sites that I’d already known about and researched a couple of others as well.  This is the list I came away with.  I hope it proves useful to you!

Have some other communities for writers to add to this list?  Let me know and I’ll add them.

A Woman on a Mission

In Blogapalooza on August 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I was checking out a post written by a fellow blogger, when she mentioned the “mission” of her blog.  And it occurred to me that I had never established a clear mission for this blog.  And so I decided that as part of my re-launch I would add a new page containing my mission statement.  It’s turned out to be a bit harder than I’d expected.

It’s been a bit like trying to figure out my life’s purpose.  Why did I start this bog?  Why do I write?  What do I hope to accomplish?  These are difficult questions, but once you’ve determined the answers you could be a lot closer to your writing goals than you realize.

If you’re having trouble answering these questions, a better place to start might be with the exercise in this post.  You will be prompted to develop a writing “business plan” or list of career goals.  It might be easier to first determine where you want to be, then you might stumble across some of the “why’s” and what drives you.

One thing I have learned is that as a writer our primary goal is to share information.  We all hope that someone else will benefit from our experiences or knowledge.  With that in mind, think about what you most want to share with others.  Considering this you’ll be well on your way to developing your mission.

Why do I need a mission statement?  With a clear mission, you’ll find that you have new clarity in your writing.  When you know exactly what it is you want to convey to your audience, you may find that you’ve been saying it the wrong way, or using the wrong tools to communicate.  Maybe you’ve been working on a book when your message would have been best received on a blog, or vice versa. 

Do you have a mission statement already?  Is it on your blog or do you have it somewhere only you can refer to it when you need a refresher? 

Stay tuned for my mission statement!

The Breeds of Writer

In Blogapalooza, Getting started on August 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm

So you want to be a writer, but what kind of writer? And how do you get there?

There are many different breeds of writers: authors (fiction & non-fiction), screenplay writers, bloggers, grant writers, journalists, etc.  So which is the best fit for you?  And bare in mind that in most cases writers dabble in more than one area.

I, for instance, primarily write blog posts as a means on acquainting myself with my audience.  But I also have an interest in journalism (editorials & personal essays mostly), and authoring books.

It’s also important to consider the “less glamorous” writing jobs like grant writing, technical writing, business writing, and the like.  How does one break into one of these fields?  The best way is to research first.  Talk to other writers in the field.  Do internet searches. Read books.  This alone will give you valuable insights into your intended field.

Until you feel sure of what kind of writer you want to be try a few different assignments.  In the beginning your primary goal is to accumulate experience. And diversity in a writer is not bad.  There will be times when writing jobs in one field are sparse but others may be available.

At The Intersection of Motherhood & Writing

In Blogapalooza, Writing & Motherhood on August 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I am typing this post with my almost-2yr old on my lap, as I feed him a bowl a cereal, and keep him from spilling said bowl of cereal all over my keyboard.  This is just one intersection of writing and motherhood.

Another example has been the last two hours trying to get these posts written for Blogapalooza while dealing with the attention seeking antics of a toddler competing with the computer.  Or how about trying to decide how long I can go without changing his diaper before diaper rash starts to form because I am finally hitting my stride with a post?  And then there was that priceless moment about 15 minutes ago when I had to subdue him – he was throwing a massive tantrum when aforementioned antics weren’t pulling me away from the computer fast enough.

I’m sure many moms out there can relate.  But it’s dealing with those moments in stride that will ensure our success.  As opposed to being deflated by these moments – which will only ensure that your writing career remains stagnant.

As is the case with life, there are no perfect solutions.  There is no “right” way, just “right” for you and your family.  Maybe letting your little one sit in your lap while you type will appease him/her temporarily?  Maybe you can get him a toy laptop to “work” on while you write?

The only things that have worked consistently for my son and I are if I work in short bursts while he’s awake, taking breaks to play with him and entertain him in between, and get the bulk of my writing done while he’s asleep.  That’s it.  He’s not easily distracted, and while he can be fairly independent he hates seeing me at my computer.  But I have to learn to just take it in stride.

How do take the intersections of motherhood and writing in stride?

Building Your Platform

In Blogapalooza, Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

As a writer, there is “more than one way to skin a cat”, as in most cases.  So the path you take to freelancing stardom may be different from the path I take, or the path Stephen King took, or Terri McMillan, etc.  But, many of the elements are the same.  One of those elements is “platform building”, or building your audience.

In my case,  since returning from my hiatus I have decided to backtrack and start with my audience.  I returned to my Twitter account, and began tweeting consistently, reaching out to existing followers, and looking for new people to follow.  As a result, the number of followers I have has gone up by 200+ in less than a month, and even with no new blog posts, this blog has seen some pretty decent activity.  If you’re still unsure about Twitter (as was I in the beginning), tak  look at this list of how Twitter helps writers.

By doing a Google search you can find several resources on how to effectively use Twitter in your career.  I have been reading Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm.  A favorite online Twitter resource for writers can be found here.  That @inkyelbows really knows her stuff.

Of course, Twitter isn’t the only way to build and connect with your audience.  It’s just where I chose to start.  My favorite book about platform building is Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz.  This book has been instrumental in helping me understand how and why I need to build my platform.  And guess what.  I’m giving a copy away!

To celebrate the re-launch of this blog I am hosting my first giveaway.

Carol from Everything Home…Wth Carol has won this this giveaway.  Congratulations Carol, and thank you for participating!

I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!  And just in case you didn’t know, another great way to build you audience is by guest posting on other people’s blogs.  If you’d be interested in being featured here as a guest blogger, just let me know!

Blog Re-Launch & Blogapalooza

In Blogapalooza on August 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I am so excited! Today marks the first day of the re-launch of this blog, and it is also Blogapalooza Day.

Blogapalooza is a blogging challenge – 24 blog posts in 24hrs (for more info visit Blog2Print).  It seemed like a great way to kick off the re-launch.

Why a blog re-launch?  Those who follow me on Twitter or follow my blog would have noticed my hiatus over these past few months.  But recently it has occurred to me that if I want something to happen for me professionally, I have to make it happen.  So there you have it.  I am completely revamping my online presence.

What’s going to happen?  Over the next two weeks there will be a lot happening to celebrate.  I’ll be hosting three giveaways, there will be a new post everyday (some by me and some guest posts), I’ll be guest blogging at a couple other blogs and more.  So be sure to check back here daily from now until the 31st.

I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!  If you’re participating in Blogapalooza, let me know so I can cheer you on today.  I’ll even add a link here so others can cheer you on too.

Visit these other Blogapalooza Blogs!


Not Your Average Teen

The Adventures of Supermom