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Posts tagged ‘Shirley Kawa-Jump’

Prose from the Pros: The Winter of Writing

The Winter of Writing

We sit in front of keyboards, oftentimes mired in the dead, cold, frosty depths of winter. Our inspiration, our words, our productivity matches the dreary winter time season outside. There is no growth. Nothing emerges from the ground. Nothing sprouts from our careers.

The earth rotates in the cyclical seasons we’ve learned to expect. Sometimes our writing also flows in the ebbs and tides of seasons. Our bills, the car repairs, the food for our tables … that remains a constant. Our children need feed, clothed and sheltered; even during the depths of winter – even during the career cycles where we see no growth.

Following is some advice from some of the ‘Pros’. Three books on my bookshelves have become my ‘go-to’ books when I need to give myself a jolt of inspiration. All three are marked with post-its and their pages are littered with dog-eared corners. I recommend them for any writer’s library.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer, by Robert W. Bly
How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, by Skip Press
How to Publish Your Articles, by Shirley Kawa-Jump

three books

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In Getting Started as a Freeland Writer, Robert W. Bly recommends these seven words for getting out of a business slump. He states:

“I have developed a three-part strategy for overcoming a slump that works for both business and personal setbacks … it contains a total of seven words.

Here is the formula for getting out of a slump:

  1. Do something.
  2. Do more
  3. Keep doing it.”

He follows with some tips from writer Susan Miles.

  • Increase your market research time.
  • Prepare for the slow periods during your highs.
  • Give yourself a writing break.
  • Pull out back copies of writing magazines.
  • Change your writing habits.
  • Forget the epics and work on list articles.
  • Repackage and resell.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Revisit your ideas notebook.
  • Don’t aim for perfection.

See Robert W. Bly’s books here: http://www.bly.com/newsite/Pages/books.php

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Skip Press, in How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, shares a ten step process to achieve success. To get out of your slump and continue on through the year towards a successful finish at the end of 2014, implement ‘Skips Process’. (I’ve only included the highlights of each step to include on this post. To see the expanded version, see his book, pages 22-24) Some of these steps apply more to beginning writers in the midst of gaining momentum in their career. If you’re further along the career path, there still may be useful kernels of information here for you.

  1. Survey local publications, particularly community newspapers. Read them and see what they buy. Contact the editor.
  2. Try to determine what you most want to write. Narrow down the field.
  3. Figure out what you will have to write to get 100,000 words done. Draw up a step-by-step plan of what you’ll have to do to have the time to write 100,000 words, and do your best to follow it religiously.
  4. Join a writing group.
  5. Unless you have a very big problem with low self-esteem, stay away from ‘touchy-feely’ classes and groups. You’ll be amazed how much your confidence will rise through accomplishment alone. “Thank you for sharing that with us” doesn’t go very far in getting you published. Completing a major project does.
  6. Buy a current Writer’s Market … even better, subscribe to Publishers Marketplace. (www.publishersmarketplace.com).
  7. Write something every single day, even if only a page.
  8. In social situations, don’t call yourself a writer unless you pretty much make a living at it The exception is when you are with a group of your peers, as in a writing group or class.
  9. Sell, sell, sell! Set a few hours aside each week (or as much time as you can), in locating and contacting markets. Even if you make a big sale, keep promoting.
  10. Be true to your personal goals.

Check out his web page here: http://www.skippress.com/

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Shirley Kawa-Jump also has ten steps she recommends for all freelancers. In How to Publish Your Articles, she includes ‘Ten Freelancing Do’s’ for those desiring a successful full-time freelance career. As with Skip Press’s ten steps, these also only include the highlights of each step. See her book for the full version of her guidelines.

  1. Be sure you have the proper office equipment.
  2. Build up your resource library.
  3. Subscribe to writer’s magazines.
  4. Treat writing as a full time job. Work regular hours every day. Create a To Do list and prioritize your activities.
  5. Never forget that this is a business. Maintain good mileage records and keep receipts from business expenses.
  6. Every week try to send out at least three queries. I keep between thirty and forty queries in circulation at any given point. Maintain these submission numbers to ensure a constant flow of work.
  7. Turn rejections into new queries – Immediately. A query that sits on your desk isn’t making any money.
  8. Make use of reprints. Keep an eye on reprint markets so you’ll be ready to resell as soon as the article’s copyright reverts to you.
  9. Turn in pristine work on time. Nothing beats a good reputation.
  10. Join professional organizations.

Check out Shirley’s site, Jump Start Writing Institute, at: http://jumpstartwritinginstitute.com/

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As with all seasons, this winter too shall end. Use this slower period to generate future growth and success. Here’s to a growing 2014 for all of us!

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