Posted by: nancyisanders | September 15, 2008

The Career of Writing

If you work full time and want to make the transition to writing full time but can’t schedule three hours each day to write, there are other options. One is to work on a three-week cycle.

For Week One, schedule one hour for writing each day on your calendar, Monday through Friday. In Week One, you will still be building the foundation of getting published on a frequent basis.

On Monday, spend your hour researching no pay, low pay periodical markets. Pick one periodical to target.

On Tuesday, spend your hour reading your target periodical. Pick one kind of article you’d like to try to write in it whether it be the recipe corner, the crafts page, or the devotional. Type out a sample of the type of article you want to write.

On Wednesday, spend half of your hour brainstorming ideas to write for your target periodical. Then spend the next half hour organizing your ideas into an outline for the article you want to write.

On Thursday, spend your hour writing the first draft of your article.

On Friday, spend your hour editing your manuscript and revising it. Write a cover letter and submit it to your target publisher.

For Week Two, schedule one hour for writing each day on your calendar, Monday through Friday. You’ll build the foundation of landing contracts for deadlines to write books and magazine articles that pay.

On Monday, spend one hour researching the market. Read market guides and writer’s magazines until you find a publisher that you’d like to write for. Pick one publisher to target.

On Tuesday, spend one hour reading your target publisher’s product line. Use the “search inside the book” feature on amazon.com. Get your publisher’s books from your local library. After you’ve spent time reading, type out samples from the format you’d like to pattern your upcoming manuscript after.

On Wednesday, spend one hour brainstorming a manuscript idea that fits like a glove into your target publisher’s product line. To help you get ideas, browse through their website. Make a list of titles they’ve already done and try to think of titles that will fit into that list that they haven’t yet done. Choose three potential ideas that might fit into their product line.

On Thursday, spend one hour writing a paragraph about each of your three ideas to flesh them out.

On Friday, spend one hour writing a query to send to your target publisher. In the query, state that you’ve been browsing their website, studying their target line, and reading their books. Explain that you have three ideas that might fit into their product line. Include the paragraph you wrote for each of your three ideas. Ask the editor if she would be interested in receiving a proposal for one of those ideas. Check the target publisher’s writer’s guidelines to see if they take e-mail queries. If they do, e-mail your query. If not, snail mail it.

For Week Three, you’ll build the foundation of writing just for fun. Schedule in one hour each day, Monday through Friday, and write just for the fun of it!

For Week Four, start the cycle over again. By writing with purpose and with a plan for your one hour each day, working towards three separate goals each different week, you will still be able to lay the foundation for a solid writing career. Plus, it will better suit your schedule and not be as overwhelming.


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