Sunday, January 27, 2008

Make Cyber Waves!

Tired of being stuck in the same old writing rut? Think you’ll never reach your dreams? Hop on board with me and lets make cyber waves!

First, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When describing myself, is writer the first word that comes to mind?
  • How badly do I want my writing dreams to come true?
  • Do I have what it takes to persevere in the writing world?
  • Can I keep my chin up when tons of rejections come flying at me?
  • Are seeing my name in print and earning cash with my words important to me?

If you answered yes to the above questions, the tide is rising!

Once you have the writer’s flow cascading, ask yourself a few more questions:
  • Which magazines or websites would I like to see my byline in?
  • Do I want to be published in anthologies?
  • What genre sparks my interests and keeps my attention for hours?
  • Am I willing to submit my work and give editors time to evaluate it without chewing my nails into the quick?
  • Can I produce when an editor replies to my query with a go ahead to write that article?

Once you’ve made up your mind to write regardless of criticism and doubt from family or friends (and maybe even yourself), and decided which publications you’re going to target, you’ll be several steps closer to getting published.

Give yourself a pat on the back for purposing in your heart to make your writing dreams come true and then make a trip to the store. That’s right. If you really want to make cyber waves with your writing, you’ll need to get organized.

You may have heard it said, “An organized writer is a successful writer.” I believe this to be true as I’m finding continued success with my writing while practicing the following organizational steps.

There are computer programs you can purchase but if you don’t have much money to invest into your writing business starting out, simply go the less expensive route.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Two three-ring binders (one for submissions and queries and one for writer’s guidelines).
Two packs of clear, plastic sleeve protectors
Yellow highlighters
Pink highlighters (or color of your choice)

Place one pack of the plastic sleeves in each binder. Put the highlighters in a decorative cup on your desk or in a drawer.

Now it’s time to make log sheets for keeping track of your work. I use my word processing program and design a table with the following headings.

Publication | Editor | Replies | Website | Pays| Title/ Word Count| Date Submitted |Results

You’ll have columns and rows to write in the information noted. I choose the landscape layout for the designing and printing because there are so many columns, it works out better. At the top of each page, you can choose a title targeting a certain market. For instance, I target anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and websites. So, on the anthology log sheet, I would title it “Anthologies” and so on.

To be even more organized, I keep my log sheets in alphabetical order in the front of my binder. More importantly, keep a master copy of each log sheet in a file or folder so you’ll only have to create them once. Whenever you get a page full (and it will happen faster than you’d think!), all you have to do is make a copy of the master and voilà! you’ll have a new log sheet for documenting your submissions.

As for the highlighters, they come in handy when you start receiving rejection letters and making sales. When I receive a rejection, I write in the date when it was rejected. Then I write “Rejected” in the Results column and highlight it in pink. That is my red flag or color coding system that shows me quickly that article was rejected.

When I make a sale, I write in the date and “Sold!” in the Results column and highlight it in yellow. This shows right away that article was sold.

Now, let’s focus on the other binder. This one is for your writers’ guidelines. There will be times when you may receive a writer-themed newsletter that includes various writers’ guidelines and you want to print them out. Or you can use your favorite search engine and type in words like, “writer’s guidelines,” “markets,” or “contributor guidelines.”

Don’t know where to keep them? That’s what the binder is for. Print out the writer’s guidelines you’re interested in and organize them alphabetically. They’ll be in a safe place and you can study them more easily.

Ok, you’re a confident, organized writer. What are you waiting for, silly? Crank out the words, take this cyber world by storm, and make waves!

Are you making cyber waves already? Are you organized or lost in the midst of paper chaos? Do you think a writer has to be organized to be successful? Do you have a method for keeping track of your work? Do you plan on using these tips? Make a cyber splash in the comments.

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