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Saturday, January 07, 2012

12 Ways To Give Your Writing Career A JUMP START For 2012!

Alrighty, people! It's a New Year filled with new writing opportunities and, like many of you out there, I've been planning out how to make this an even better year for my writing and authoring. The problem is that as with all our resolutions, we tend to come out of the New Year gate full of energy only to fizzle out before January is even over. Don't worry about it...I've been there myself. But not this year.

What I've come to realize that if I treat everything more as an organizational or re-prioritization vision, I can stick with the changes a little better. That way, it's more like tweaking what I'm already doing rather than making a promise to completely change things. I respond better to such things.

I know each of us has set up our writing goals already (Right?) so why don't we brainstorm here today? I'll share some of the ways I'm jump starting my writing and you can add yours in too. Together we can help guide each other along the writing journey. After all, it's much easier, and much more fun, when you have company.

(Oh! And I guess I'm doing some things right so far because the manuscript I was working on for NaNoWriMo has already found a home and will be published in late summer/early fall 2012! WHOO! If I can do it, so can you!)

10 of Chynna's Ways To Jump Start Your Writing In 2012:

1) Start on your platform. Remember this is an ongoing thing. Take the first few baby steps by joining some writing groups and cleaning up your social media lists. (We'll delve into that in a minute.)

2) Get organized. Nothing knocks you off the writing train faster than when your work area looks like a tornado blasted through it. Straighten things up, get yourself a big calendar to keep track of writing projects, have notebooks to write down ideas, get (or made) a little file system to organize jobs, tax receipts, and clear the clutter. Do what works for you to get organized so you can get down to business.

3) Blog. There are several free ones out there, the most popular of which being Blogger and Wordpress. Blogs are a great way of getting your name out there and showcasing your writing skills. Many people use them in a casual way, which is totally fine. But remember that blogs can be that first step in creating a platform by highlighting your area of expertise. I have two blogs: The Gift, which focuses on life in a special needs family and White Elephants that focuses on all the 'taboo' issues I feel need to be discussed more (and that I address in my memoir, White Elephants.) Blog in your area of expertise and/or interest and they shall follow.

4) Create a Facebook page. I used to have a page for each of my books but it was too much work for me. So I created an author page instead where I can highlight all of my work and things are going much more smoothly. They're easy to set up, simple to maintain and FREE! Plus it gives your readers a chance to connect and interact with you.

5) Be a Tweep. Our own Margo Dill wrote a post recently about the benefits of Tweeting and how to get the most out of Twitter. It can be a great marketing tool, if used wisely and Followers = book sales and platform. Tweet about what you know, what others want to know and what you're doing!

6) Join Goodreads. I still haven't quite figured out this amazing resource but it's an excellent place for readers, writers and, especially, authors. Create a profile, join a few groups that represent your interests or writing genre and network!

7) Tweak or create a Website. Writers/authors need a Website. It's a place to highlight you, your work and be the hub for all of your other work. Readers will connect with you more when you've made that personal connection. It makes you seem more 'real'.

8) Prioritize your goals. This is something I've had to work on. Goals are awesome, and necessary. They help keep you motivated, keep you on track and give you something to strive for. But when you've created too many or ones that are unattainable, you lose steam really fast and your desire to stay on the writing track fades quickly. Set small attainable goals for yourself and break big ones into small bits. Trust me, with every checkmark you make on your list or one you can rub off the dry erase board gives you a little more confidence and inspiration to keep forging ahead!

9) Stick with what you know, then branch out. I have a list of writing topics that are 'safe' and familiar. I turn to these when I have no idea what to write about or I'm not feeling confident one day. I suggest everyone keep a similar pile of ideas close, topics you can write endlessly on, then have another pile of things you like to write about but that are out of your safety zone. Doing that keeps your writing sharp and fresh and also shows editors that you aren't afraid to tackle things outside of your expertise box.

10) Network, network, network. One of the most important things to do as a writer and author is networking with other writers and authors. Joining Goodreads, like I suggested earlier, is a great way to do this. You can also join your local Writer's Group or online groups like She Writes. Facebook also has tons of writing and book groups you can join. Just type your favorite or specialized genre in the 'search' box and check them out. Networking with other authors, writers, and editors helps get your name out there as well as builds your writing platform.

11) Have a writing buddy. Connect with that one person who helps motivate you in your writing, like a writing mentor! I have a handful of people who do that for me and I, in turn, cheer them on. It really helps to have that support from someone who knows what it's really like.

12) Make the writing time. I know that sounds easier said than done for many of you out there but it's essential. Even if all you have is an hour or two spread out throughout a day, take that time. I'm a very busy mom of four kids nine and under (two with high needs) who is also putting the finishing touches on her degree and just trying to get the day-to-day stuff done. I make time every day to blog, write articles, do an idea brainstorm and/or work on a new book project. Some days will be more productive than others but I make that time every day.

Your turn! Share your own goals with us and how you've kicked of the New Year. I can't wait to hear your ideas.



  1. Anonymous12:25 PM

    When you say create a website, do you mean other than a blog?

  2. Chynna, your list is very helpful. I had never heard of Goodreads and plan to join this evening! My biggest writing goals this year are to complete a collection of fictional poems based on a family member's life and to self-publish the collection. In addition to tracking my writing on a calendar, organizing my writing space, and making time to write every day, I created an online vision board that is attached to my blog. I look at it every day and can take it wherever the internet goes!

  3. That sounds AWESOME, J.C.! Good for you! You'll have to come back and share when your collection is out. I'd love to check it out. =)

    HEY Amanda! =D Yes, that's what I was suggesting. On the blog, you can do your thing with articles and discussions. Your Website would be where you display the writing work you've done. Think of it more as a colorful and detailed bio. LOL! You've seen my blog, right? I do lots of info-related stuff on there. But my Website is more a display of all my work and my books, my writing bio and reviews/appearances. Does that help?

    Thanks for commenting!


  4. Great list. One thing I would add is make time for workshops, online or in person. As I happened to attend one today by Mary Buckham, which basically taught me I don't know how to write....LOL, I can say they are great to kickstart you and motivate you. Find something on writing craft or your genre and get motivated!

  5. EXCELLENT advice, Anna! Workshops can teach you so much about the craft of writing all the way to how to get your work out there!

    Like Anna said, if you can find one (locally or online) that may prove useful to you in boosting your writing career, jump on the opportunity.

    Thank you!


  6. Great list, Chynna. I agree with you about organizing things!

  7. Hi Patricia! Oh boy. I can't concentrate on ANYTHING when I'm surrounded by chaos. LOL! Organization is essential for good work...on ANYTHING, right? ;)


  8. This year, I'm giving myself more room to play creatively by doing The Artist's Way (for the third time - I always learn something from this) and I'm holding myself accountable by blogging about it as a weekly check-in. I've also set a goal to consider which poems that I have here in various stages of being "finished" can work together as a chapbook. This year is about reclaiming my own work after 2011 was spent doing a lot of poetry editing (I'm an editor at Every Day Poets,

  9. YAY! A poet! =D AWesome goals. I'd never heard of The Artist's Way before. I'll have to check that out.

    THANKS so much for sharing.



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