Showing posts with label pitching stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pitching stories. Show all posts

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Secret That Can Help You Achieve More With Your Writing

Do you ever wonder why some writers manage to execute their word count consistently, learn new technologies and publishing procedures, get their work to market, and build network contacts all in the same hours per day as the rest of us?
Their secret is now yours.
High achievers in every field use a strategy, whether conciously or unconciously, known as speed of implementation.

Here are 5 ways to use it to your advantage:

1. When you learn something new, use it right away. 

Have you ever been in a workshop or read or watched something that was genius and you thought "that would help me" but then you put it away, got distracted, and when it occured to you later to use it, you had to go looking for it and review the process? Research shows that when we use knowledge right away, we retain it better, and will find more opportunities to use it in the future, both cementing our competance and confidence. When you learn, put that time invested to use. Think of the multiple applications it can have and try it -- no perfection necessary. You can always polish up something you've done, but if you wait to execute because you worry you won't have enough time to get it perfect; you'll likely be doing the reverse. Waiting means using the knowledge when you're not fresh from learning it. (If you want to try something new today: think book covers, marketing materials, or blog art, try canva )

2. When an idea comes to you, take action.

Taking action on a new idea doesn't necessarily mean bumping the current project. It may been a supporting idea that fits in your current project or something you can use as a side interest like a contest submission or a guest blog post. If it is something larger and something better put off, you want to get enough of the idea captured to come back to it later and start it up without a hiccup. A 1 page synopsis and an outline while it's fresh will do that. Also, if you meet up with an agent in the time between idea conception and execution, you will still have something to pitch. (If you're interested in having the opportunity to pitch to an agent or editor, sign up for the pnwa's annual conference early bird deadline and have pitches included in your registration)

3. When you meet a new connection, reinforce the relationship. 

Even if you don't start a new project with your new connection, introducing them to someone who would mutually benefit from the new contact keeps you in both of their minds. Adding a new contact to your social media outlets like facebook, linkedin, or instagram, or exchanging blog or website addresses also lets you have intermittent contact, making it a natural move to touch base when something arises that would benefit your writing careers. (For example, The Town Crier is accepting applications for a 1 month editor in residence with an honorarium attached -- assemble your list of 8-10 writers you'd draw on and apply here )

4. Use the principle towards your daily word count. 

You've heard me say it before: outcome is what matters, strategies can vary. Pick one and use it until you find a better one. You can reward yourself with any number of motivators. Use a writing prompt if that's what gets you going. Set up a challenge with a friend. Commit to a set number of words or minutes writing a day. Speed of implementation means that your scene concept becomes fleshed out before procrastination kicks in. This is why you'll see established prolific writers turn out a predictable number of books. They have practice consistently producing (and the motivating advances that accompany them). 

5. Fight the fear.

You may be a better writer than many you see in the marketplace, but if others don't see your work, what good is that to you? Bringing your writing to your readers is scary, sure, but it is also rewarding. When you receive constructive critique that improves your project, connect with a reader that really enjoyed your work, or inspire another writer to try; you will know why you're doing this. And yes, your work will not be loved by all, but that's ok. The world has plenty room for a variety of voices, subject matters, and approaches. Take a leap of faith and share yours today. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Keeping Your New Ideas from Sabatoging Your Current Project

Once you start to work and make progress on your project, it may look like all sunny blue skies ahead. But it is important to make plans for not only in case of writer's block, but also for what to do when that flowing creativity results in too many ideas. The newest idea threatens the one you are slogging through and looks like more fun/easier to execute/more interesting/what have you... If you have been at this for a while, you know following this path means you can land up with a bunch of good ideas and no completed projects.



The siren song of a new idea can spell death for the current project if it is abandoned before it comes to full bloom. That doesn't mean you have to hold off until this project is wrapped and launched before getting into the new idea. You just have to be smart about it. Here is the strategy to both stay the project's course and not lose the new ideas:

1. write it down

Taking the time to sketch it out means you won't lose the inspiration. You can add more ideas as they come up. Just keep the notebook or digital file nearby as more details are sure to come to you as you continue to work on the current project. If you don't get rattled by it, you can just enjoy it as a side benefit of creative juices flowing. And celebrate! You are generating twice the ideas you anticipated.

2. see if you can tie it into a series

Sometimes new ideas arise because you have hit upon a theme that especially resonates with you or the market is timely and references to it keep arising in daily life. Don't worry that you will lose out this opportunity. If it doesn't tie into your current work as a supporting book or series addition, just keep working on your notes. It might be a stand alone series by itself. And given the success model that sees authors of multiple books hit the best seller lists, this is a direction you'll want to develop in.

3. use it as a reward

Working on a new idea when it's hot has the side benefit of feeling like a reward. Working on your current project for a timed set (even 10 minutes) and then switching to develop your new idea for another five or ten is a model that when repeated can have you producing what you need to on your current project while not losing the momentum of the newly hatched ideas.

4. test it out

As you develop it, give your new idea some test runs by writing a short scene, posting an article or blog post on the topic, or discussing it with your fellow writers and beta readers. Taking it for a trial run lets you see if it is an idea worth pursuing and how much interest there is for it.

5. prioritize it

Not every new idea will make the cut and go long term project. That's ok. Keeping a running list with time frames and markets for them (agent submissions, short story contests, guest blog posts, linked in articles... etc) means you will spend the appropriate amount of time on each project according to its purpose. If you use vision boards, mapping out each project on one bulletin board (virtual or not) is a good way to keep an eye on each of them.

Let me know if this touches on your experience with new ideas. Do they help you or harm you when it comes to your production?

Monday, June 21, 2010

monday night aha moment




love coarse sea salt. it makes me feel like i'm cooking even if it's scrambled eggs and bacon in the microwave ;) {which was exactly what dinner was since d wasn't home for it ;) poor kids -- they are way too compliant ;) }

so i told u a while ago that i was having a mid year angst rethink about the direction my 2010 fiction was taking.

here's the story.

i've been working on a novel that weaves together multiple lives (you know the kind where chapters are about one person, and then the next one is about the one who lives next door...etc) it was going well.

and then i got the big idea to submit individual pieces of the chapters to lit journals and meandered into a whole lot of characters who don't have a thing to do with the book so wrote those to stand alone. and then starting creating art to accompany those stories. so now i'm half way through a year of that and realizing the lit journals (most of them attached to universities or employing slave labour reading interns or the like) will not be reading submissions over the summer.

suddenly it seems like a good time to go back to the real work of the book's characters.

so i now have 3 projects on the go and am utilizing the bulk of my brainspace in how to sort them out around the paying work.

and then i realized.

why do i apply the must get entire vision done during the calendar year to myself?
i have work i like, time to write, house i love to putter in.
i like my life as is.
meandering directions and all.

so if i could get off my own back about it,

maybe i could pen a little on the beach and have something to show you later on this year.

no pressure at all ;)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

it's all small potatoes, really






ok, i was right -- those new books got the better of me. but i did send off a story to a magazine that had previous rejected a different one and invited me to submit again. so we'll see...

dinner was inspired by the woodside kitchen's potato wedges (around them we built teriyaki beef and broccoli, garden greens, cream corn {which had a hint of i burned the pan around it trying to multitask}, and french cut green beans)

it was rainy, but the taking a while to make dinner together was all summer. (the combination of it and the fab produce available makes it unbeatable)

today i am getting off that other story in progress this AM and then meeting up with my favorite supporting reader, ett. as i told her this morning via email, her reading notes on my latest work make me feel less loserish when the rejection letters roll in ;)
look behind the prep bowls for a sneak peek at the as yet unfinished kitchen counter project.
PS on the books -- sometimes i pick books like i do bottles of wine -- a bit too quickly and based on their cute pictures. but still 3 out of 4 isn't bad. (note to self : just because you enjoy reading james frey doesn't mean you will love reading what he loves reading ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

i ♥ rejection letters

i know, i sound delusional. how does one keep confidence in her writing when receiving "no thanks" multiple times a week. let me explain:

1. they remind me that i did in fact write something suitable for submission and got up the nerve to submit it. (an archive of work to re-send out that grows all the time)

2. they keep in focus the odds of becoming a successful writer -- how most of the people who have the desire will lose heart, interest, confidence, or get sick of being a starving artist and leave room for the die hards to move in. (ie. take a look at these odds received in a RL this week: "I enjoyed reading your story. However, I must report that we've decided to give it a pass. Please note that this doesn't necessarily reflect on the quality of your work (we receive about 750 submissions for every 7 we publish) I wish you best of luck placing your piece elsewhere." {this isn't my favorite -- i'd rather the ones i get that read this doesn't reflect on the quality of your work, but i'll take it because the odds reminder is encouraging in turtle winning the race kind of way}

3. they encourage me to get back on the horse -- like the one i received yesterday: "An interesting character study -- however i feel it's not a fit for __________ magazine. I'd like to read more of your stories."

4. they are, at the least, proof of receipt ;)

5. checking my inbox is a favorite past-time of mine

6. Having been published for my news reporting, magazine articles, and online ones and receiving positive feedback to my self-published book and working with business clients on copywriting assignments means i am relatively confident in my abilities so the angst of "no" feels like "not yet" to me.
it's a good thing i like them -- i see more in my future.
and i am willing to Rx with sweets and reads and fun to deal.
so thrilled to indulge in these with this girl this morning and have a date with d tonight.

Friday, May 07, 2010

get great stuff sent to you


you know when you want to go shopping, but you have to use your money for less exciting things like bills?
well, good news.
you still have a chance to WIN some superiorly scouted stuff. tara (whose blog you should be following anyway for home inspiration and to make you feel guilty because you aren't running) is giving away some fabulous things and has a bunch of ways you can enter. find it here. get an extra entry if you use twitter too like i did here .

it's a work week wrap-up, kids' track meet, paper route, and saturday garage sale prep day here. the new story's inching along, but i'm going to try not to stress because the last one that did that turned out well.

and submitting another as soon as i sign off.
happy friday :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the organizing of words and tree by-products

you already know i'm easily distracted so you know how dangerous it is to have a new java script for dummies book unopened underneath my laundry pile (it sounds like a smart motivational tool, i know, but it is what happens when the boys set the table and move whatever is on the table at the time to a different table) i'm not a perfectionist. just so long as everyone is pulling their weight. (and dealing with an askew tablecloth -- dragging on the floor on one side and almost off on the other builds all sorts of irritant-resisting character ;) i'm hoping.

have some writing under my pj belt this morning (that's a metaphor -- i do not accessorize my pjamas in case you were wondering) soon to be followed by lunch-making, coffee brewing, and tackling paperwork, entertaining my kindergartener (maybe he wants to organize papers today? ;) and some more writing. we're hoping for a three pm submission so i can make it to my first soccer game of the season with words not hanging over my head.

♥ that my first email of the day is from D. it works because i love the written word as much or more than conversation (& for those of you who know how shutting up is an incredibly difficult thing for me you know that's saying a lot ;)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

turns out, it wants to be a novel

well, there was a reason the story was not coming out smoothly. turns out, it wants to be more. crazy how it went from a stilted short story to a plotline and a conceptualized cover. am still going to wrap up the story sized bit and submit it to a journal for the meantime.

read a back issue of the Vancouver Sun this morning -- ♥d this article on aging. quality of life is something we can grab now, whatever our circumstances. it rests more on the spiritual/emotional/relational component than on any number of things we often deem more important in our bid to get where we are going. where is that precisely anyways? ;)

happy saturday! i know this is a day we often reserve for those errands and running around, but what if it was part of our QOL plan instead? go figure. an enjoyable weekend! find out what it is you would like to do today and do it.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

one step closer to crafting dryer lint

plastic bag craft flower
scrapbook page featuring kid art
ok, still haven't thought of something to incorporate dryer lint into (i take my eco-girl identity seriously ;) but i might have found a solution to the world's plastic bag problem if what it needs instead is millions of little plastic bag flower embellishments ;)
it's been a busy fiction submission couple of days. working on the third in two days -- the one that was previously not being cooperative. sometimes it's good to set it sit tight while you work on other stories and craft away. my newest page was inspired by C.D Muckosky's page in Creating Keepsakes january 2008 issue. i don't usually use idea books, but i loved the background graphics and went from there.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

what makes a delicious weekend







i've received my first rejection letter of the year. (not the sad day one might assume, for a writer it's par for the course) most lit journals answer within 4 months (for infrequently publishing ones, it can be longer) so this one was right on cue.








of the two most critical letter sentences you know which one i am holding on to most: "Unfortunately we are not able to publish your submission at this time. That being said, I enjoyed your piece and welcome further submissions." (it's like a bouquet of roses to me. ;)

mid easter long weekend, we are either eating a holiday meal or having leftovers inbetween. tho i love an all the trimmings dinner, not much can compare to a hearty turkey, mayo, and stuffing sandwich either.

not tons of time for crafts this weekend, but i squeezed in an instant art sandra lee esque project -- adorable IKEA tolsby frames + Go Rving advertisement cropped to fit.
signing off to collect story ideas, ready the house for easter dinner hosting, and read the stack of magazines waiting for me.
loved this quote: "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for." - epicurus
and the blog post in which i found it.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

D withdrawal Tuesday

my query list is long today (getting in the mind set to forge through the envitable rejection letters to articles sold) it's a business of timing, and having the right idea at the right time (my first article sold 9 years ago when someone else's fell through at the last minute, mine was a similar theme, and i could turn it around in under 2 weeks -- not fast for newspaper standards but a second in magazine time where a 3-6 month lead time (how long from concept to newsstand) is relatively short.) my ego is pretty much out of the process by now, but it's all about keeping the ideas coming, energy up, and coffee on. :)
was getting nostalgic for sharing workspace with D 24/7 until i remembered that it wasn't all like yesterday -- lunch date, conversations without the kids' input, lovely lovely quietness (D and i have mastered the art of the comfortable silence -- which was always impressively (and often irritatingly ;) available to him, but to a chatty chick like myself, an acquired skill)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

i'll write more tommorow

after work, i had a great late afternoon coffee at Starbucks (short sugar free cinnamon dolce cappucino -- mmm) with a former editor of mine today. it was great catching up and dishing on our current writing ventures. ok, hers is a bit more interesting than yours truly's -- travelling the world this year, touching base with humanitarian aid the world over and turning the experience into a glossy coffee table book with her husband. catch her journey here.
then i served sweet and sour pork stirfry with corn on the cob for dinner. ok, Chilliwack corn goes with everything and I dread the end of the season. love those sweet veggie carbs. (at least i'll still have yam fries after that)
a bit of corner gas with the family and then a late night run with the soccer girls -- that's what wednesdays are made of.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

day 1

the end of a great sunny sunday -- church, (fresh take on how God encourages us no matter what the circumstance from the much loved story of noah and the flood); lunch with a girlfriend and our kids at her house -- pizza (+ mojitos for the grown-ups sitting out in the sun); and then on to an in-law birthday bbq where the kids played in the pool for hours. tres relaxing. add in a new article idea (pitched super efficiently via facebook ;) ; the mint plants i have to plant in the garden this week (lemon and get this -- chocolate mint!); and a great read to get to soon and you have a pretty much perfect day.

this broccoli candle always makes me smile on its posh little perch over my kitchen sink