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How Much Would You Spend on a Pen?

22 Jan

Hi All,

I was cleaning out my drawer and found a Mont Blanc pen that was given to me as a gift. At that time it was given to me, the luxury pen was running for $100. Would I had bought it then? I was right out of college with no job. Probably not. Would I pay that much for a pen today? Most definitely.

As a writer, the tool I use to create is as important to me as my creation. I know some people are thinking, “$100 for a pen? That’s crazy!” As with anything, people spend money on things that are important to them. While a pen may not be important to most; to me, it is an investment in my craft. And you can best believe that you will only find MY fingerprints on that luxury investment!

What about you? How much would you spend on a pen?

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5 Business Planning Tips for Freelancing Writing Success in 2012

19 Jan

Business Plan

What is your writing plan for 2012? Have you figured it out or are you still in the throes of deciding? For those of you who have figured it out, have you written it down so you can see it daily? Regardless of where you are in the decision-making process, following are five tips to help you put your plan into action.

1. What would you like to write?

This is by far the most important consideration of your writing life. Just because you can write various genres, doesn’t mean you should. Initially, go after the topics and genres that interest you most. When I first ventured into freelance journalism, my mentor asked me what I liked to write. I listed about 10 things. She then asked me again in an attempt to further narrow my interests. When that was done, I had five topics and was ready to move forward.

For seasoned scribes, consider adding new types of writing to your resume. If there is a genre you have been considering but never pursued, give it a try. Take an inexpensive class to see if you like it. If you like it, great; if not, chock it up as a small investment in education.

2. What are your writing goals? Be as specific as possible, and make them measurable. Most importantly, be realistic.

Assume you want to earn $30,000 this year. You must map a plan to do it.

• Are you going to write for magazines, trade publications, and online magazines?
• How many articles or stories do you need to write to attain your financial goals?
• Are you writing the next great masterpiece which will take at least six months to complete? How are you going to sustain yourself in the meantime?
• Which type of business, publication or industry will you be serving?

These are all things you need to consider when setting your goals.

3. Who is your audience?

This gets interesting. One topic can appeal to a several audiences in a variety of industries. Don’t limit yourself and be open. Let’s say you have a great passion for apples. This one subject can appeal to other apple enthusiasts, parents, children, health professionals, teachers, apple growers, organic food specialists and even public official if they knew how they could profit from them. You could write for all of these groups or just a couple.

As a business writer, you may be a specialist in certain genres or topics. If business proposals are what you do best, be sure to find those organizations that will use your services on a consistent basis. As a subject matter expert, you have to find those publications and industries that can use your expertise.

4. How do you reach those people?

Research. Find those sources that will lead you to those audiences you wish to serve. The Writer’s Market series is by far the most comprehensive series I have seen. Google, social networks, the websites of individual publications, and the library and local book stores are other great sources.

5. What are you going to do if your work is rejected?

Yes, this is a reality and it needs to be part of your plan. Everyone is not going to accept your work, and the reasons will vary. But you have to have a plan in place for such occurrences. Regardless of what happens – DO NOT STOP! Contact the editor for feedback and use those recommendations to improve future submissions. Also, consider other publications and industries that could benefit from your piece.

Now that you have tips for your writing plan, it’s time to write it if you haven’t done so already. Although you can begin your freelance writing journey without a strategy, your writing life would be a little easier with one. At least write your goals so you can post them where you see them daily. This will keep you on point; it’s great for brainstorming new ideas; and it will allow you to see more opportunities.

To Your Writing Success!!

 

Image: upandrunning.bplans

National Letter Writing Week – January 9 – 15, 2012

8 Jan

Letter Writing

This week is National Letter Writing Week. Take the time to write at least one handwritten letter this week, and report back the following:

  1. Who did you write it to?
  2. How did they react?
  3. How did you feel pulling out pen and paper to put thoughts to paper?

Be sure to report back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: raffleticket

Tips for Aspiring Authors Who Lack Writing Skills

8 Nov

Snoopy

Recently, I have had conversations with several people who expressed interest in writing books but lack writing skills.  From those discussions, I noticed three categories that aspiring authors fall into.  First, there are the people who want to write but lack skills.  Then, there are people who clearly have stories in them, but don’t want to write. They may have skills, but are not willing to put pen to paper.  The last groups are people who don’t like to write because they lack skills.

Instead of discouraging them from fulfilling their dreams of being authors and sharing themselves with the world, I provided the following tips to each individual group to get them  started on their writing journey.

Group 1: People who want to write but lack skills

Start writing and don’t worry about grammar, spelling or syntax initially.

  1. Read everything even if it’s just a license plate or billboard.
  2. Refresh grammar and punctuation skills by reading, writing and practicing.
  3. Listen to how people speak.
  4. Take writing classes.
  5. Practice with writing prompts.
  6. Find a writing mentor or coach.

Group 2: People who don’t want to write, but want to tell their stories

With advancements in technology, following are ways stories can be told without much writing.

  1. Voice recognition software
  2. Digital voice recorders. NOT tape recorders!
  3. Ghost writers (hire us!)

Group 3: People who don’t like to write because they lack skills

I would give the same advice to this group as I did Group 2.  However, I would encourage them to journal.  Writing in a journal would not only help build writing skills, it would also build their confidence and possibly be the start of another book.

Just because people lack writing skills does not mean they cannot add “author” to their list of credentials.  Just be mindful of the tips above and a published book is sure to follow.

Which category do you fall into? How can I help?

 

Image: chicagowarriorsmysteries

5 Interview “Dos” When Sharing Your Personal Story

25 Oct

Media InterviewI interviewed a person for his personal story, and it was THE worst interview I’ve had this year. Although stories are important in getting your message to others, he had stories for EVERYTHING. Not just regular stories, but big gigantic stories which generally concluded with me asking additional questions because he had not really answered my questions. And, I had to pretend I was interested and listening, even though he had lost me after the first two minutes into the story. Thank God for my voice recorder! So, to avoid being like that other person, I’m going to conclude now with 5 interview “dos” when sharing your personal story:

  1. Answer the question that’s being asked.
  2. Use stories to support your answer. Stories are important, but they should support your response.
  3. Make your stories short.
  4. Get to the point. Attention spans are low, and you will lose people.
  5. Please know that you are important, and so is other people’s time.

I just had to share that story so you wouldn’t do what this person did during our interview. Really, your story is important and you matter immensely, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get to the point and answer the questions being asked.

How have your interview experiences been as the interviewer or interviewee?

Image: medicine.tamhsc

If Your Read is Easy, Thank an Editor

13 Oct

Easy Reading
Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” I would like to go one step further by saying that writing is hard, but editing is brutal. So, every time you read something that flows smoothly and don’t leave you feeling cross-eyed or confused, thank the writer, but hug the editor.

Image: romanceyardsale

6 Personal Benefits of Writing

27 Sep

I love writing. I live, breathe and sleep writing. I realize that everyone doesn’t have the same feelings as me; yet, there is no getting away from it. Although it is not a basic need for survival like food, clothes and shelter, it will definitely make your life a little easier. Just a little. Still not convinced?  Check out the following 6 benefits of writing.

1. Think and see things clearly

Writing is thinking on paper.  Before you do anything, you write them down so you can see what you need to do or say.  Rarely is a TV show or play produced without a written script. Have you ever seen a political figure or any other leader present without a speech?  Writing things out allow you to include things that are relevant and remove things that are not. When you are done, you will have a clearer picture on paper.

2. Plan Better

Planning is one of the major benefits of writing. Can you imagine throwing a party without a guest list or starting a business without a written plan? Writing gives you an idea of what needs to be done, who should do it, how it should be done and why it should be done.

3. Stay organized

Grocery lists, to-do lists and monthly spending plans are the main tools for organization.  They allow you to see what you need to do; the steps needed to complete tasks, how much things should cost as well as how much time it should take to complete them.  Writing lists definitely helps to reduce stress and keeps your project forward moving.

4. Save time and money

Money is saved when you write grocery lists and weekly menus.  First, you determine your meals for the week. You then write down the items needed to prepare them.  Find coupons and other savings to help reduce costs.  You will save loads of time in the grocery story by going directly to the aisles you need instead of walking around looking lost.  Also, money is saved when you buy only those things you actually need on your list instead of things you may need.

5. It’s therapeutic

Journaling is the most inexpensive form of therapy you can find. All you need is a sheet of paper and a writing utensil.  You get things off your mind and onto your computer or paper. You can write when you want, scream and shout, and you choose words you would have loved to have said in particular situations without offending anyone or blemishing your reputation. Writing at your leisure removes the pressure of having to write.  Correct grammar and spelling rules do not apply.

6. Share your thoughts with others

Other than private journals, everything else you write can be read by audiences – newsletters, books, e-mails, websites  and status updates on social sites.  Be a blessing by adding value to the lives of others. Remember that rants and raves can help give people the courage to say and do things they would not have done otherwise. Use wisdom when sharing.

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Above are just 6benefits of writing. There are definitely more, but I’ll let you discover those as you step into the world of writing.  I don’t expect you to enjoy writing as much as I do, but I do hope you have a better understanding of the benefit of writing.

Image: howtoworkthis