Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day really I'm not cheating

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I am learning a great lesson this week.  When you want something to happen get moving and seek your blessings.  You have to reach for them that is when the magic happens.  

In the process to better define my writing company I have had more writing opportunities come to me...or maybe I went to them. I have been researching, writing, rewriting and editing for the last 4 days.  From when I wake till I go to bed.  I love it!! 

A contract that I started prior to the challenge has resulted in a flood of work the last few days not to mention an article that I wrote in May needed further editing. In between all of that...I have stayed strong and continued my personal growth experience. 

My novel- I write and write and write...then had to erase 2k words the last few days.  I got rid of one of my favorite chapters.  It didn't work with the plan.  I love the writing and lovingly copied and pasted it in another document but it won't work for this book so it is out of there.  I have been putting that off for a while but not any more time to get this done. 

My blog- I have started the rearranging of the blog. (As you may have noticed.) Moving to the two columns gives me more possibilities and I can start setting up for sponsors and add a more uniform method for my dear readers to follow me and my misadventures.  Who doesn't want to do that?

I also have been working on marketing and branding.  So far the focus is on social avenues.  I think this will be the easiest to start with because of the low entry cost.  I am excited. When I wonder away from my social networks I forget about all the incredible people you meet this way.    

My business- Thankfully my contracting work has been prolific.  I am still working on the business plan...which is a little behind schedule for me.. But it will get done.  In the meantime as I work on it I am doing it.  I have contacted a few freelance groups and am looking forward to getting more work.  

My growth- Again...this part is continual. Everyday I open up my WIP and trudge through that business plan I feel validated in my growth.  I know that when I get that feeling that I am intimidated to submit something or contact someone for possible work I am growing again.  

This process is interesting.  To my family it looks like I am chilling on the sofa.  Meanwhile, I am emailing, writing, researching my butt off.  I have noticed a strange cramp starting in my right hand..pointer finger.  Pretty sure it is the early signs of carpal tunnel.  All athletes get injuries.  Maybe I need to start stretching.  

Write on folks.  

How are your challenges going?  What kind of progress are you seeing?  Any suggestions of stretching to ward off carpal tunnel? 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

PSP Challenge: Day 3

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The adventure continues.  I have found that I am enjoying the structure to the day. I did get one day off because of unexpected "life" stuff but am back on it.  

My Novel:  For the last three days I have added 1k words to my WIP.  The restructure has really helped me to focus what I have and to shape it into a stronger story line.  I am happy with it.

My Blog: Well...I know how I want it set up but when I study html it makes my head spin and eyes cross.  I will have to keep working on this.  Lucky for me I have a few more days in the challenge.

My Business:  Found a great posting on this subject...well, besides the amazing ones I have been putting out there. The blog is The Self-Publisher's Notebook and he has a pretty extensive list that completely matches what I have been finding as I have been going through this process.  Swing over and check out what he has put together.

I have been researching...a ton on this.  And have more questions as I go.

My Growth: Next week will be better.  I am focusing on (this sounds redundant but...) focus.  I don't know about you when I am writing it is a full spurt of writing that blast out 200-400 words then a good twenty minutes piddling on the interwebs bouncing back and fourth between Facebook, Pinterest and what ever my ADD clings to. Then I wonder back to my writing. It is a wonder I have been getting my word counts.  Next week I am closing out all of the tabs and all of the documents and focusing on one, just one. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

P2P Challenge Day two: Refocus

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Aw now that is it!  You know it is funny the minute you set your mind to achieving great things is when a million other things come up to distract you.  That was my day 3.

A previous article I wrote needed some immediate fixes before it could go to print. Another piece I did needed to be edited and sent to the publisher. Then there was regular life. I know sounds like a list of excuses. But the thing wasn't I stayed up a little late but I persisted. 

The week is set on the theme of "refocusing" regardless of the things that are thrown in front of you, one must choose.  Is it the path that others want for you or do you want to be the one that determines your fate.  

I like being in control.  

Day 2: 

My Novel- I continued working on reshaping my wip.  It was one hot mess, but now is pretty exciting.  I can't wait to see what it is by the end of day 30.  After reshaping it I have to go through and make sure that the chapters I have all contribute to the plot progression and story structure. It will take a few days to get it fleshed out and refigured into the stronger form.  It sounds overwhelming to reshape 30k words to fit the new structure but I am thrilled to be doing it. 

My Blog- I really felt like I needed to do research.  It seems stupid, I read blogs all the time but not looking for structure and the purpose of the blog. It was really interesting.  I have the blog mapped out...mostly. It is a work in progress. 

My Business- I am really enjoying writing my business plan..I know I am a sicko. It is all about pricing, goal setting and really "seeing" your business how you envision it being.  I reached the pricing section. It is all about market research.  You guys know how I love some research. :)  

My Growth- This has been my stumbling block.  Ironic.  Today I was supposed to set up my metrics for growth. I do this all the time for students. But that is is them not me. I will keep working on this today.  Grrr.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

P2P Challenge: Day One, Refocus

P2P Challenge

The challenge, Personal 2 Professional, officially kicked off yesterday. The challenge is to dedicate 4 hours of your day five days a week for the next 6 weeks (Monday through Friday) to your writing.  Each hour will focus on a different area of your writing life. For me I chose: my novel, my blog, my business, my growth.I challenge you to share this journey with me and begin your own challenge. I suggest creating your own 30 schedule.  Once it is laid out it become a process of checking the list for the day and getting started.

Challenge rules: 
  1. Commit 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks to your growth in writing. 
  2. Share your experience on your blog.
  3. Grab our button and post it to your blog.
  4. Put your name and link your blog to the linky thing below. 
  5. Visit as many of us on the challenge as you can daily and share the encouragement. 


Day one: focus
Day one for me is building the challenge and determining how I want to grow over the next 30 days.  Each area required me to develop essential questions that I would need to answer as I go through this process.

My Novel
It meant really defining what the true story is that I want to tell.  I have had a picture in my head of this small town with all of these people.  Every single person has a unique story and in this single story they have been chiming in to get their story told too.  As I was writing I knew something was amiss but could not put my finger on it.  As part of my epiphany for this challenge I found an article, 'How to Create a Story Structure to Die For,' on the blog Write to done. The article discussed a model of story structure where there are really two stories in every novel.  The first story is the all of the action leading to the disillusionment of the hero. The second is everything the hero does once he has waken up from the dream. All I had was story poor hero was wondering around and all this bad stuff was happening to him and he wasn't having that big moment.  

My Blogs
I didn't start blogging thinking I was providing a product.  I was writing and if someone read it and liked it, cool.  As I invested more time into my blog I started really rethinking it. What if I did make money by blogging then I wouldn't have to have that scary second job teaching students to drive... intriguing.  To make the transition I had to ask what is the product and how am I selling it 

I decided that the product is writing...duh. I then had to decide how I wanted to position myself to make this product something that is useful to other writers.  I have mapped out several ideas.  Over the next 30 days I plan on writing a book that follows this challenge with all of the data, additional templates that the readers can use, and stories of my experience.  Some of that I will be sharing with you through my daily postings.  I also will be creating a writing program to teach on weekends to fellow starting writers that are looking to "go pro." Over the next 30 days I will be restructuring the blogs to better fit my goals and products. I look forward to hearing your advice as I proceed.

My Business
I didn't realize I owned a business till last summer.  Till then I wrote but it was a hobby. I found an article on The Guardian, 'Live Q & A: How to become a freelance writer.' The article had some great links (I love those) and it was through there that I found a template for a business plan. This week I am asking how do I defining my business and the goals I have for it? The business I have decided is multifaceted, because I like more than one pile of money and it insures I will always have something going on. I decided that Chubby Bunny's Ink has three departments: epublishing, contract writing and education. Over the next 30 days I will be more clearly defining each of these departments, their mission, goals, structures and processes.

My Growth
I needed to figure out what areas I believe I need to improve. This part was tough.  I think it was the hardest. Thinking about it I asked myself, how can I improve as a writer and business woman?  This is probably a pretty extensive list overall.  However, I decided for this 30 days I would focus on increasing my technical skill, character development, story structuring, community reach and consistency. Now I understand as a writer my life goal is to continually build my skill with all of these areas and that I will not master them in 30 days. But my goal is to improve them through steady focus for the next 6 weeks.

I look forward to hearing about everyone's journey and changes.  Please link below and start you challenge too.

30 days from now...from personal to professional writer

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Ever find a blog post that gives you a spark?  There is some kind of magical mix with what is going on with you and something clicks? It is a powerful time.  I got the chance to experience that last night. I was suppose to be in was 3 in the morning. I had stumbled from one blog to another and then locked in and could not stop reading. When I finally pulled myself from the postings I laid in bed and couldn't stop thinking what it meant. 

Funny thing is I saw this blog, Write to Done, last year and didn't think anything of it. The student has to be ready for the lesson to be learned.  

After reading and thinking I came to the conclusion it is time for a 30 day challenge:  

For the next 30 days I will focus 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for the next 6 weeks to my business of writing.  Each hour has a different purpose: my novel, my blog, my business and my growth.  I have spent the day mapping it out and cannot wait to share with you as I go through this learning experience. 

I encourage you to take the challenge with me. As a community we can create the change in ourselves that we want and need to move forward. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Set yourself up for success

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There is a point as a writer you have to decide if you want to keep this as a hobby or take it pro. I have been tottering on the edge and have finally taken the plunge.

It is funny...I would be bankrupt if I had treated a traditional business like I have been treating my writing. You know if you were opening a business you would commit everything you had to it.  It is yours and you dare not risk your huge investment.  The only problem is that many writers don't see what they do daily as an investment.  We have our computers and internet so when we research for hours and write an extremely powerful piece on Monday we figure we can give ourselves a break on Tuesday.  Right?  I know I have. I think it speaks to my slow rate of success especially in the beginning.  But can you imagine if you owned a store and had a great day on Monday and made a pile of money would you shut down for Tuesday because you were tired.

Yesterday I was cruising around the blogosphere and found a great post.  She stated that writers should create their own business plan. You would do it for any other business. For a brief minute 6 years ago I thought I wanted to leave teaching and go into business.  During that time, while getting my MBA, I discovered the importance of having a plan for your business.  A business that has a plan knows where to invest time and resources.  If one area is in a lull then there are other areas to focus on growing.  With no plan there is a lot of running around like a crazy person and nothing happening or if it accidently does it is a shock to everyone and tough to replicate.

The main goal of a business plan is to define your business as a writer.  It makes you ask what type of writing do you want to do?  What audiences can you write for? How do you want to develop your brand? Where do you see yourself as a writer in three, five and ten years?

I have been working on my business plan for the last two days.  It is not easy. There is math involved.  (Not my favorite.) But it is well worth it. Invest in yourself and define your future..create a business plan if you are ultimately dreaming of taking this pro.

In the quest for greater communication...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Writer? Do you get paid for that?

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Doesn't every writer wish and dream of the day they move from the amateur column to the paid professional column? Or even better to the elite well paid professional column.

I have been a writer in my soul since I was in 5 years old and made my mother write down my stories. Or when I would make my Barbies and little ponies act out epic adventures of love, war, and loss.  When my 7th grade English teacher sweetly told me that my horrible sad little poem was "really good" I knew it was meant to be.  Sure I did the college thing. And I lucked into a career that is the perfect accent to writing and that I happen to love...teaching.  But I still wrote.  Poems, short stories, essays, proposals, detailed classroom observations, long list for groceries organized by aisle, and when I was out for a wild night on the town with my girls I did character sketches of the drunks around me.  (No not my friends...mostly patrons, well okay but my friends are so damn funny they slip in there.)

The million dollar question is how does a passion obsession become a professionally paid skill?

Well I am close...I do  know, how to become a fledgling freelance writer.  Not nearly as sexy...but extremely exciting.    

Taking that giant leap from non-paid to paid is a painful and long ride. I had my blog for 3 years and wrote for free.  I started other blogs for work and wrote in those for free.  I volunteered to write articles/advertisements for the friends to publish in the newspaper. I wrote for professional journals.  All for free. At first it is really cool to see your name in print and your sassy words out there for everyone.  But then at say...the 10th hour of research for a that long article that just won't end and is fighting you like a one armed get those damn I wish I was getting paid for this.  It is in those times of frustration you have to stay strong because you are on the brink of greatness...and if not that at least a reprieve.    

The more you write, the better you become.  Sounds trite, but it is true. I wrote a novel. I blogged about that journey. I shared and marketed that blog on Facebook, twitter, and every writer's social network I could find.  I built up a small following. I am still working on creating a larger following.  

Funny thing is when your friends and people around you know you are a writer they share that information.  And when they hear of opportunities they recommend you and tell you about them. It is through my small following that I have gained all of my current freelance writing jobs.  Some have been small, almost like a test. Others have been pretty big, and paid well.

I think it is better that it starts off this way.  If you started a restaurant you wouldn't want to be the top one in the nation before the doors open. You have to play with pricing, recipes, branding, training of your staff and develop your business savvy.  You have to learn.  I am learning.

I have figured out my most effective way to research. I know my natural patterns and when I write the most the fastest.  I know my triggers that get me writing.  As I get jobs I am learning about book keeping and how to keep records for myself and taxes.

I have determined that to bring more jobs I will have to go get them.  I will have to apply, call and contact those in my niche and introduce myself and my skills.  

So these next couple of weeks the experiment to reach beyond your circle to get those sweet writing jobs?  I will keep you posted on my success. 

I am continuing to write in my WIP.  I am amazed at how much better this WIP is over the last one I wrote.  It feels better going in, and the process is flowing.  I wish the same for you.