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Writing Strategies For Success
Success Does Not Happen Overnight
Forget about it! Toss aside those foolish thoughts. Banish them forever from your mind. Success in the Arts does not happen overnight.
There…it’s been said…now let’s move forward into the reality of your situation as a writer.
Artists….writers….musicians…sculptors….anyone in the business of the Arts should remember one simple truth: you have to work to make it in the Arts and often times hard work is not enough. There has to be a perfect alignment of the planets to overcome the percentages against making it in the Arts.
No, I’m not talking about those who write SEO articles for content mills. Anyone with a grasp of the English language can make some spare income doing that.
No, I’m not talking about making passive income on sites like HubPages. Again, anyone who knows how to play the SEO game and who can write with a degree of flash can make a couple hundred bucks per month.
I am talking about the dyed-in-the-wool writers who seek grander horizons. I’m talking about those who wish to make it in the magazine business, or who have visions of being syndicated in newspapers, or who seek the greatest prize of all, a novel contract with a major publishing firm.
For those writers, I can only repeat what I said earlier….success does not happen overnight.
If you can accept that truth then maybe I can help you a bit on your path towards success.
I have written several articles already about marketing strategies, and invariably I hear from writers who tell me that writing is easy for them but marketing is like pulling a tooth without a painkiller.
I understand. I truly do. I have a degree in Marketing and even I hate it. I feel it takes time away from what I truly love to do, and that is to write. How can I write if I’m so busy selling myself? And then there is a humility problem that I face when I think about marketing…..what kind of creep constantly sings his own praises? What kind of bore keeps pounding his friends with news about him and his writings?
So the battle continues for all of us. I know this to be true: nobody is calling me asking to be my publicist, so if I want to make it in this business I will have to do that job of marketing as well as the job of writing. Period!
Setting marketing aside for a moment, let’s just talk about the everyday battles that we face. There are always time issues. There are always life issues. There are always issues dealing with self-worth and self-doubt. How are we going to overcome all of these issues and succeed?
I invite you to kick back and consider some of my suggestions. You just might find something that will work for you.
Have a Strategy
What is your goal in writing? If it is simply to give you an outlet for your thoughts and creativity, then you really do not need to read any further in this article.
If, however, you are one of those who has visions of something a bit more, then you need to define your goals and develop a plan that will help you achieve those goals. In my opinion, other than a lack of talent, this is the number one failing of many writers. They write and they share on Facebook and they write and they share on Facebook and they write and they….well, you get the point. They are going nowhere because they do not have a strategy that will help them succeed.
What does a productive writing life look like for you? What do you want to accomplish? How can you be more productive? Who do you want to reach with your message and how can you reach them more effectively?
Become a Living, Breathing Personification of Your Platform
Your platform is your area of expertise in the writing field, and it is everything that you do to demonstrate that expertise.
I have pounded this message into many a head, but I need to repeat it for those who did not hear it the first hundred times: you need to establish a niche for your writing, and you need to portray yourself as an expert in that niche.
Whether it be quilting or cooking, astrology or travel, you need to focus on one area and then pound it home.
A platform will help you to focus. A platform will make you more efficient, will open up opportunities and give you momentum and direction.
There are only 24 hours in each day, and six or seven of those are needed for sleep. Then, of course, there are the daily activities like eating, perhaps another job and the time needed to spend with family. In other words, of those 24 hours there really are only three, four or five that can be devoted to writing.
Use them wisely! If you can only devote three hours to writing per day, then do not allow disruptions and distractions during those three hours. If you are your most productive at eight a.m., then try to schedule your writing time at that time. If writer’s block strikes, then use your normal writing time for contacting editors, agents or publishers.
Use social media wisely and then limit your time there. Facebook is addictive. Of that I can attest. It is very easy to spend hours on Facebook, but you do not have hours to waste. Set a limit, make it a productive stay while there, and then sign off.
Network like Your Writing Life Depends on It
Because it does! Writing, like any other business, is all about being in the right place at the right time, and then taking advantage of the opportunities when they occur. You can greatly increase those opportunities by getting to know people in the writing field.
Make contacts with like-minded people, and then spend the time to get to know them. Promote their work….sing their praises….join them in their celebrations of success. Despite what some think, writers should not look at other writers as competition. Writers should see each other as a strong support system.
Repeat and Refine
What has worked for you in the past? Figure that out and then repeat it. Find the area that has produced the best results for you and then pound it hard, and this refers not only to your writing but to your promotional efforts as well.
Use your successes to be a springboard for future efforts, but at the same time try to develop new dimensions to your platform. In other words, stay true to your niche but find new dimensions to that niche.
Have an Attitude of Success
I know what it’s like. Hours become days become weeks, and not once has success knocked on your door, and the doubts settle in and you wonder if you have lost your mind by dreaming of being a writer.
Knock it off!
Develop an attitude of gratitude and success. How many people dream of doing what you do but are unable to do it? Try to remember each and every day how lucky you are to be living your dream, and then switch those thoughts to ones of success.
You will be successful! You will achieve your goals! You will find the pot of gold at the end of your personal rainbow.
Speaking from personal experience, whenever I am feeling down and out, I surround myself with supportive, positive people. I have a network of fellow writers who infuse in me a sense of wonder. I have Bev at home who refuses to let me fail, and who constantly tells me that I am going to be a huge success one day.
With that kind of support, how can I fail?
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Now Get Back to Writing
That’s enough for one lesson. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and let’s get busy. Those words are not going to write themselves. They need a writer to do that and I happen to know a very good writer who is up for the job……you!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”