If you’re at all like me, you may only be able to write one book per year. Sure there’s NaNoWriMo where you write one book in a month, but you’re still going to need the other 11 months to edit, revise, and polish it into something you can submit. And the advance paid on one book may or may not be worth one year’s income. If it’s the latter, (NOT worth a full year’s income) then you need to think of ways to supplement your income. Have you thought of writing articles for magazines, newspapers or websites? Here’s your ticket to how to “pay the rent.”
A great majority of writers I know, who treat writing as a business, not an aspiration or a hobby, know that article writing is where the money is at. Not only can you write an article, based on a book you’re writing even, but you can do what they call “slice and dice,” which is where you can use the information you’ve gathered, and repackage it in a number of ways for a variety of outlets. For example, I wrote a 240 page reference book on Teen Depression. In addition to that, I wrote an article entitled, How to Spot Depression in Your Regular Patrons for a national magazine for librarians, pitched an article on How to Get Out of Your Funk to a magazine for teens, wrote a book proposal for Adults on “Depression and Anxiety,” and an article for Parents on How to Spot Depression vs. Regular Teen Angst.
The point is, if don’t take advantage of all of the files and files of information you gather while writing your book, you’re leaving money on the table. Surely, there is a stack of unused data, just waiting to be parleyed into other written pieces.
Take a broad topic that interests you: for example, cooking. Then find 5 different ways to repackage it.
1. Meals under 20 minutes
2. Meals for $20 for a family of four
3. Meals any child could cook
4. Meals with low carbs but high tastiness
5. Meals in a Crock Pot
There you go, you have 5 magazine articles from one subject matter aimed at a few different audiences, or outlets (such as on-line e-zine, print magazine, blog, book, newspaper) and you can submit different ideas to all the outlets.
My goal is to write and market two articles per month to add cash flow to my business (The Purcell Agency, LLC). As a professional writer, and business owner, it’s good to have steady income while you build your business’ assets.
What way will you butter your company’s bread?
© Tina P. Schwartz, 2016
Where do you do your best writing? Is it with a notepad at your local coffee shop? Perhaps you bring your laptop to the library and stare at the blinking cursor in frustration. I find that the best way to work on writing, at least my fiction writing, is in the car. As a mother of three, I’m constantly driving here and there. Most of my time is spent waiting. I can spend three hours a day, just going around my small town, in the same five-mile circuit. That is valuable time where I can work out plot lines, problems with secondary characters, eliminate or create entire scenes. As a writer, you can use “down time” in your car in the same fashion.
The first main KEY is to turn the radio off! That’s right, it’s almost like meditation, in a way. The silence can be deafening at first, but once you let your mind wander, it will start going to that world you’ve created in the form of a novel. Personally, I have a post-it pad that pops out of the holder like a tissue box. I just pull one off, and another one pops up. At a stop light, I can jot down a few words to remind me of my stream of thought. Some people even get a small, inexpensive, voice recorder, or use their cell phones, to record a few thoughts. (Of course, this may not be possible any more with hand-held devise laws.) But still, you can work things out in your mind while driving in silence.
Before beginning each novel I write, I have to really formulate a main storyline in my head. I let it percolate before I even write a short, basic, outline. I spend hours writing in my head before I put pen to paper, or touch a single key on my keyboard.
So if you’re trying to find 15 minutes a day to write, let alone several hours, don’t wait until you can get everyone in the house settled down, and actually go to a quiet place to sit at a computer. Use the time you spend running errands, road-tripping, or wherever your car takes you, to get that novel going. You may not realize it, but even if you work a typical 9-to-5 job each day, commuting – especially in rush hour – is a GREAT way to get in that much needed writing time.
Do yourself a favor, and turn off that radio! Get lost in your own thoughts. By doing that you’ll add hours to your writing time each week, and be done with your story-telling much quicker.
If you’ve ever heard of Na-No-Wri-Mo, you’ll know that it’s a “Write a Novel in 30 Days” challenge that many authors do each November. Using the “writing in the car” technique may be just the idea you need to finally succeed!
Good luck and happy writing!
© Tina P. Schwartz, 2014
Everyone from Stephen King to J.K. Rowling has received rejection letters. Congratulations, if you have one, you’ve made it into the exclusive club called “Writers”. Think of it as a right of passage. But why the Q-Tip, you ask?
Quit - Taking It Personally !
After many years in sales, I had a manager that made rejection actually bearable. He explained it so clearly and simply that I’ll share that tidbit with you today.
It’s just that simple. It’s business, not personal. But as writers, our work is personal, isn’t it? No. Bottom line – your manuscript truly is a product. Although we feel like each piece we create is like one of our own children, and no one wants to be told his baby is ugly, we’ve got to take a businessman mentality. Take your ego out of it.
Whether or not that agent or editor gives you personal feedback, or a standard rejection letter, here are the Top Four Reasons you may have gotten your manuscript rejected:
1. Glaring errors (spelling, punctuation, or grammar)
2. You didn’t do your homework – sent wrong genre/age group/word count, etc. to wrong
agent or editor. You didn’t follow the given submission guidelines.
3. They like your story’s concept but didn’t connect to your character’s “voice”.
4. They like your character’s “voice” but the story just wasn’t strong enough/developed
Lastly, it simply may not have been that editor’s “cup of tea” so to speak. Maybe the subject matter just doesn’t interest them. It’s not you… it’s them! So remember this little acronym next time you’re feeling the rejection blues: Q*Tip!
© Tina P. Schwartz, July 2014
Tina P. Schwartz