I'd like to introduce you to Sarah Allen from the blog, From Sarah, With Joy. I have been following her blog for awhile now and am a true fan. I appreciate her positive attitude, honesty and sense of humor. Sometimes she writes about writing, other times she writes about her family or applying for grad school or even her desire to buy a guitar. All this at 24. Impressive. And if her large following is any indication, many other readers out there agree with me!
I'm pleased to have Sarah here sharing her insights about the writing career.
The Three Building Blocks of a Writing Career
There are so many things we worry about. Sometimes it feels like we have so many balls in the air that there’s no way we can keep them going, let alone as well as we want to. There are so many things to try and keep track of when trying to make a career as a writer—all the pieces we’re working on, where we’re querying which pieces, keeping track of competitions we want to enter, all of our social media accounts, which book bloggers and reviewers we want to get in touch with—and that’s without all the other normal life things we worry about.
So how do we do it? How do we manage it all effectively and efficiently? I’m still figuring this out myself, but it seems to work best when I parcel out my writing career worries into three manageable subcategories.
1. Writing. Yes, obvious, but also the most important. The others are just supports to this central endeavor. The actual writing is always top priority. It is important to constantly be working and improving. There are an infinite supply of good (and bad) writing books and classes and mentors. I like to divide my projects into further categories. 1) Big Major Project. Like, my novel. Maybe a screenplay. 2) Short Projects. Short stories, poems, etc. 3) Experimental projects. Genre’s I’ve never tried before, maybe trying out a non-fiction article or something like that. Keep up on all these. Especially your Big Major Project. Like I said, this is Priority #1.
2. Submitting. To be a writer you must write, and then put your work where people can see it. That’s where this comes in. That’s where submitting comes in. There are tons and tons of options. For Big Major projects submit to agents or publishers (unless your self-pubbing). For smaller projects there are lots tons of great literary magazines and anthologies to submit to. And remember to keep track of competitions too. (http://www.pw.org/grants)
3. Marketing. This is another business-aspect, putting your pieces where people see them part of the puzzle. Submitting and querying gets our work out there, and then it’s our job to get it to as many people as possible. This can be really difficult, and not something that used to be part of a writers job description. But if we’re really serious about making a career, we need to do everything we can. I like to divide the marketing into two parts: 1) Social Media. This in and of itself can be an unwieldy beast and feel really intimidating. My strategy is a spreadsheet with all my social media accounts and my plan for each account every day of the week. This simplifies it into a daily ten or fifteen minute process. 2) Networking. This part is reaching out to journalists, vloggers, book bloggers, and anyone else you can think of to help spread the word about your book. Be creative. On all aspects of marketing. It could end up being much more fun than you expect.
There you have it. Keep building, keep going. Simplify and keep progressing in each of these three categories and things will come together for you faster and better than you ever thought possible.
Sarah is a (24 year old, blond, fanatical, insomniac, Sherlocked, not-as-naïve-as-you-think uber-dork) aspiring writer living in the DC area and working on querying her first novel. If she’s not writing she’s probably obsessing over a movie or show with painfully stunning acting. Slyther-puff. Anglophile. Jane Austen groupie. Secret lover of jazz and post-grunge rock, not so secret lover of Colin Firth, white chocolate, cavalier king charles spaniels, and Frasier.
A Short Word On Insecurity
|Thanks To Alex J Cavanaugh for hosting IWSG|