Friday, November 25, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 5

Failure is hard but it's part of the writing process. Once we accept failure as truly par for the course, we will fear it less and not allow it to define us. This applies to all life, not just writing.

In light of the recent election here in the US, I read this article in Forbes Magazine, Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump the White House. This article ties in perfectly with today's thoughts on overcoming failure. In the quest for the White House, the article tells us that, behind the scenes, Jared Kushner tried many avenues and social media tactics to promote his father-in-law's presidential campaign, quickly halting what didn't work and putting more energy into what did work.

Did you read that? He quickly halted what didn't work. This means not everything he did worked. This means he failed along the way, but still saw success in the end. The one thing he did was constantly take risks. Some risks panned out and some didn't, but he took the risks.

That's today's tip: Take risks. 

On a clearly much smaller scale than a presidential election campaign, when I started my Writing for Publication classes in our local Community Education program, I did not get enough people signed up to hold even one class. The next semester, four people signed up, but only three showed up. But, I kept putting it out there. I kept offering the classes. After a few semesters of not getting enough interest to hold the classes, I suddenly had five students. Then six, then nine...then a dozen! Then other districts began calling, wanting the classes in their districts. That led me to branch out and offer more courses, including e-publishing. I saw success. I took a risk and it paid off, but it didn't pay off on day one. It took persistence and patience, not only on my part but on the part of the director of the Community Education program.I tweaked my class description in the school's newsletter, trying different ways to promote the class.

I believed in the class and knew people would benefit from it if I could get it in front of them. This paid off when my most famous student, Amanda Hocking, took the class and saw great success in e-publishing the following year.

So, take risks. Realize what works and what doesn't, then keep taking risks.
You won't know whether something works or not until you try.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 4

The inevitable failure we face as writers should not be what defines us as writers. We write, we fail, we write some more. I never really consider failure something to slow me down. By failure, I'm talking about failure to see publication. We can be highly successful writers if all we do is write; if that's our only motivation. But, getting published is another story and we all face the failure of not getting published, of being rejected by a publisher.

I was recently asked to write an article on a specific topic. We signed a contract and I wrote the article. In the meantime, the publisher changed staff and the editor I'd been working with was no longer there. Even though I had a contract, they rejected my article. I'm still going to get paid for writing it, but they are not going to publish the article.

I believe in this article; I am looking for another outlet in which to publish it. I've already sent it to another editor. This leads me to the 4th part of overcoming failure:

Realize your own Potential

While this may appear to echo appreciating your talent, which I blogged about here, it's deeper. Many of my writing students look at the list of names of successful writers at the beginning of my writing course and tell me they could never be like them. My response is a resounding, "Why not? Someone has to be the next famously successful  author - and you are someone!"

No one person is more important than another. Success is not sitting back waiting for anyone specific. You get to decide your success. You get to determine your future in writing Once you realize your potential, you will look at success differently. Even if you have never thought you could be successful, realizing your potential will open success up for you in ways you never expected.

Realizing your potential is key. Realize it, act on it, success follows. Every time.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 3

If you're a writer or even an aspiring writer, you might already know that failure is an inevitable part of being a writer. Knowing this ahead of time can help when the failure comes. And it will come.

One sure fire way to overcome failure is one simple practice:

Keep writing.

That's it. Just keep writing. 

Famed author Amanda Hocking did just that. When she took my writing class, she had a thick file of rejection letters and they kept coming during the time she took the class. What did Amanda do as a result? She wrote more books. By the time she e-published, she had 17 finished novels. Now, because of her e-publishing success, she is an international sensation with book and movie deals that scream her success.

She started out failing.
She kept writing.
She saw success.

That's a simple formula.
It will work for you, too.

Keep writing.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 2

Every writer fails, no matter how successful they are. In my book, Writing for Publication, I talk about failure, how it's inevitable and how to overcome it as a writer.

Today, I'm sharing my second point on how to overcome failure and rejection as a writer. I think of this point as logic at work.

Don't let rejection slow you down.

Realize and accept that rejection is part of the job of writing for publication.

If you accept this, it will not surprise you when it happens.

It's a given, par for the course.

It truly cannot be avoided.

What you need to do is file the rejection away....

then keep writing without missing a beat.

There will more on this in my next post and point 3 goes along with this point very well. I have been a regular writer for one publishing house for over 27 years, yet I still get rejected by them from time to time. I don't care. If one article is rejected by one arm of the company, I submit it to another. If they reject it, I'll submit it elsewhere or publish it on Ezine or one of my blogs. Not every submission if viable for every publishing house every time. 

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Overcoming Failure - Part 1

Every writer has failures. Without exception. Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times before he was finally able to get And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street published by Vanguard Press in 1937.  Search other famous authors and you will find they were all rejected at some point. Famed author Amanda Hocking came to my writing class with a thick folder full of rejection letters. When she, in class, learned about self-publishing and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, she published her own work. Soon, after selling over 1 million copies, she got the attention of some of the largest publishing houses.

Then they fought for her.
They could fight for you one day.

In my book, Writing for Publication, I give 6 ways to overcome rejection and failure in your writing. My next 6 blog posts will each highlight one of these techniques.

Appreciate your Own Talent

If you know you are a good writer
if you have something valid to say, 
appreciate that in yourself.

Self-appreciation comes across to others as confidence.

Appreciating and having confidence in your talent 
is not boastful or prideful, 
it's honest and real.

Appreciate Yourself.

Write Often.
Write Well.
Just Write.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Don't Play The Numbers Game

I have more than one blog. This one is more of my "business" blog where I write about writing and blogging and related topics. One of my other blogs, The Priscilla Principle Blog, is more about my theological take on current events, book reviews and speaking out on things important to me.

My blogs don't have very many subscribers. The Priscilla Principle Blog has a total of 8 followers, but I get a decent number of readers each month, which is quite surprising compared to my number of subscribers.

As you can see from this snapshot of my stats, I get a lot more than 8 readers on that blog each month. Last month there were 1,100, but I've seen higher numbers.

That being said, I don't care. I showed this stat to illustrate that you can have many more views than subscribers. In the blogging world, these are very small numbers. Most professional bloggers see numbers much higher than these. I am small potatoes.

But, I don't care. I may look at the numbers from time to time, but I will blog with or without the numbers. I write because I need to write, so I will write whether my writing gets read or not. Don't play the numbers game; write for you.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How Do You Write?

I love my laptop and modern technology. Most of my writing is actually done in my head so by the time I get to the process of writing it down, I simply start with my laptop and type it out. I love the convenience of being able to see exactly how many words and pages I have.

But, there are times when only pencil and paper will do.

I recently fractured my thumb, making typing challenging. When a writing idea recently struck, I had no choice but to go to pencil and paper to write it down. Now, this writing project has become larger than I first anticipated and because I started it with pencil and paper, that's how I have to continue.

And it has to be in pencil, not pen.
And it has to be a mechanical pencil.
And it has to be on a white legal pad.
And it has to be in longhand, not printed.
And it has to be on my giant, old wooden desk.

As a writer, I guess this shows I have a few idiosyncrasies.
What about you?

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Out of Touch, Out of Commission

Hello, all who read this little blog. I have been out of touch because I have been out of commission. I did post a couple important blog posts on one of my other blogs, but have not posted here for a few reasons, including a fractured thumb. It's very hard to type with a brace on my hand. My writing has taken a severe hit due to this thumb. It's still swollen, but I'm back to work here.

Today, I started working with a new writing client and she said she had no time for writing, but wanted to write about something that's very important to her. I told her she's already started because she's thinking about it and thinking about it is a step in the writing process.

This was a game changer for her and she realized she had been documenting things in writing, giving her starting process a kick into high gear.

Are you thinking of starting a writing project but don't think you have time?

Think again.
You've already started.

Write well.
Write often.
Just write.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why I Write #2 - Because I Should

Last week I started blogging about the reasons I write. These reasons aren't in any particular order; I'm simply blogging about them as they occur to me. I blogged first about writing because I can.

Today I'm blogging about another reason.

I write because I should.

I should write because I often write about abuse. I believe writing about abuse will help someone else who is going through abuse.

I know abuse well and I know the tactics abusers try. I love teaching others what to look for and helping them recognize abuse and also helping them recover from abusive relationships.

Not everyone is happy when I write about abuse. I get plenty of arguments and warnings in my inbox and they leads me to question myself.

When I question myself on writing about abuse, I always come back to two things:
What if I write it and it makes a difference in one person's life?
What if I don't write it and miss an opportunity to make a difference in one person's life?

Newsflash to abusers: I don't care what you think. I'm not writing for your benefit; I'm writing for your victims and targets.

So, I write.
And I write about abuse.
And I will continue to write.
And I will continue to write about abuse.
Because I should.
(And, for the record, I should write even when I don't write about abuse, but this blog post just covers the abuse portion of my writings.)

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why I Write #1

I saw a post on another writing blog today which totally inspired me to write about reasons I write. The post I saw, here, was a Facebook post by The Writer's Circle and it said, "Why I Write #85 Because creating something that didn't exist before is as close to magic as I'll ever get."

I love that!

I also love to write but have never actually written out my reasons for writing. So, I decided to start a blog series on why I write. I suspect some reasons will need more explanation than others. These reasons aren't in any particular order, I'm simply listing them as I think of and realize them.

Why I write #1:

I write because I can.

Growing up in an abusive home where I did not have many choices, writing was a choice I could make that no one could stop. If home wasn't conducive to writing, school was. If neither home nor school worked, my hollow tree down by the creek did. When the field was snow covered and the tree was unreachable, the hayloft in the barn served as my writing venue.

I wrote everything as a child. I wrote stories. I wrote lists. I wrote reports. I wrote plays. I wrote my name, my siblings' names, my grandma's name. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

I wrote because I could.

I could, so I did.
I can, so I still do.

(Photo credit goes to Alan DeRaad, a former student.)

Write well.
Write often.
Write because you can.
Just write.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

STOP! Bloggers, Don't Do It!

Bloggers! STOP right there! Do not publish your next blog post without having it edited!

Over the past few months, I've noticed some blatant errors in some blogs I read. Those errors include:

A February blog post from a direct seller which featured and highlighted January's specials.

Too many run-on sentences to list.

Too many uses of the same adjective: This is a gorgeous set that will add a gorgeous touch to your already gorgeous home.

That and that and that and that and that.....using that too many times.
"That" can be eliminated 99% of the time.

A sentence like this: "You could of used one of these organizers..." which should read, 
"You could have used one of these organizers..." 

The list could go on, but you get the idea. Don't let this happen to your blog or newsletter! Hire an editor before publishing that next blog post or sending your next newsletter.

Fiverr is a great place to start.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Back in the Saddle

I didn't mean to take a break from this blog, it just happened because we were moving, I developed frozen shoulder, life got too hectic and I couldn't focus. I'm not sure I'm focusing any better than I was, but when I realized I had not posted anything on my writer's blog since Jan 2, I felt a bit of panic.

I write nearly every day, regardless of what I post. My personal blog about how my theology shapes my everyday decisions, The Priscilla Principle Blog, has been more active than this writing blog.

If you click on that blog link, you'll find there no pictures to represent the content of the blog. I was recently warned about using Google images for blogging and advised not to. I had just started doing that, and had used a Google image for that post, but I took the picture down. Apparently, a blogger was sued and had to pay over $5,000 for using a Google image.

Ok. Lesson learned - from them.

I will use my own photography or stock photos I've either purchased or ones that were free downloads from now on. I really prefer my own photography, but the image used here is a free stock photo and I think it's adorable.

Write often.
Write well.
Just write.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

This Is Your Year

Happy New Year!

It's always exciting to begin a new year. With the anticipation of all that 2016 can hold for you, make this the year you finally write that novel, memoir, short story, poem or e-book.

This is your year to get published and I wrote a book designed to help you do just that. Writing for Publication is now available in paperback, in addition to the e-book.

Writing for Publication is a simple, easy-to-read, comprehensive handbook on how to write for publication. In it, you'll learn why you shouldn't write the same way you talk, how to keep your audience in mind while writing, why grammar is so important and much, much more.

My writing style is to the point with no frills. Just the facts. Just the plan. Just the way you like it.

My students get published. As a personal writing coach, I've helped an 87-year-old great grandmother get published for the first time. I coached a 14-year-old girl who won the school writing contest she entered. I coached a young widow who wrote her husband's cancer story. I helped a 57 year old pastor get published in a faith-based magazine for the first time. The list goes on. Many students from my writing classes have gone on to see great success as writers, among them Amanda Hocking. Amanda not only saw great success in e-publishing, but also landed a contract with a traditional publisher, then a movie deal. Success!

You can also see success. You can also get published. This is your year.
Order your copy here.
Write often.
Write well.
Just write.