blogging · Change · discipline · goals · storytelling

Running and Starting a Writing Business (What They Have in Common)

I am as much an avid runner as I am a writer. If I could write while running I would do it. My goal is to turn the little bit of paid freelancing I do now into a lucrative career.

Well, today as I was on my run, I thought about what my next steps are in trying to grow my writing business.  I have read blogs by successful writers, and I have watched the videos on creating business plans. I have even read a terrific book or two on freelance writing.  I’m a big planner, so I have put a lot of effort into working toward that milestone of taking my writing from making just a little money on the side to making enough to survive on.

Somewhere in this 40-minute run, I thought about how launching a writing career is similar to the process of running.  Read on to see what I’m talking About.

Both Require Setting a Reasonable Pace

With running, you need to start out slow, especially if you have never engaged in this activity, or if you have run very little.  You might walk for ten minutes, run for five, and then increase your time until you have run a mile, or two, or even more.  If start out too fast, you could injure yourself, but going too slow could bog down your efforts and make you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

With launching a writing career, you also need to take your time. Don’t just quit your day job into trying to make mega bucks.  It takes time to build up any career.  You need to market and build up a portfolio. Test the writing waters on the weekends or evenings while you still have a job. Give yourself time to work toward your goal of becoming an accomplished writer. 

Both Offer Diverse Scenery

You can run anywhere–a trail in the park, on paved sidewalks, in the mountains, by the ocean, or even on the treadmill at the gym. You have a choice of what you would like to see when running.  There’s little chance of getting bored if you change your running venue often.

Scenery is also important when launching your writing business. You can experiment with different types of writing until you find one, or several, that appeal to you.  If you think you could never write about business, why not give it a try?  Or, if you love writing about animals, send some queries to cat or dog magazines.  Diversity is makes the world go around.

Both Require the Right Tools

If you’re a runner, you know how important it is to have the proper tools.  Good fitting shoes are a must, as is comfortable running attire.  If you have long hair, you need some good hairbands, and maybe a hat.  Some runners even go as far as using heart rate monitors to track their heartbeat and calories they have burned. 

Think about this in terms of running a business.  The right tools are a must, especially a computer setup, the internet, a word processing program and email. Another essential business tool is a website to let the world know you are available for assignments. Finally, you need to acquire the skill of cold queries to places you want to write for, and you need to consistently market yourself as a freelance writer. 

The Takeaway

Running can be extremely difficult at first, but it becomes easier as you build up stamina and learn the ropes.  It is also no easier starting up a freelance writing business, but I expect it becomes easier as you become experienced and start landing writing projects.   

In other words, keep working toward your goals and don’t give up. 

 

Change · General Writing

In the Middle of the Night

It is my fault that  I am awake at 3:18 on a Tuesday morning and here in my home office writing this article. I should have known better than to drink a mocha at 8:30 in the evening, and to allow my mind to get bogged down with “stuff.” I will undoubtedly go back to bed soon and try to sleep another few hours before getting up at six to get ready for work.  I am feeling plenty exhausted about now.

So, what’s keeping me awake?

Changes. Huge changes are happening in my life.

I opened the door to opportunity, my feet hit the pavement, and now the forward movement is happening with grace and the right speed.  This action is enough to keep me motivated but not to knock me off my feet.

It took me some time to get to a space where I was not fearing change.  For some time, I was allowing my confidence to waver because I was so busy focusing on what the end result should be instead of experiencing the moment.  In fact, a quote from The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe best describes how I was feeling for a while:

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

My lesson is this; opportunity is not about the end result but about my footwork in working toward my goals. I don’t get to say what happens in the end, or how it happens, but I have complete control over the steps I take to get what I want out of life.

So, change, continue coming into my life because I’m ready for you. One hundred percent ready.

 

General Writing

Everything is a New Perspective

These last seventeen months have been ones of overload leading to renewal and a fresh perspective, and what feels like a new lease on life. My partner recovered well from his heart surgery. Late last spring, I changed law firms and now walk less than sixty seconds to my office. To celebrate all of our good fortunes, my partner and I spent a beautiful week during September 2016 in Rockport, Massachusetts with his family. Sometimes we visited castles, museums and islands, and other times we sat on the front porch eating snacks, sipping beverages and talking about memories and experiences.

I wish I could share that I have gotten plenty of creative writing done this year, when in fact my attention has been focused on writing articles for the Reap Record, the newsletter for Redwood Empire Association on Paralegals. I also, upon invitation, wrote an article on construction defect for our local Bar Association journal.

My creative writing has been on the back burner for too long, but now I am pushing myself to submit a short story to our local anthology.  I am exactly ten days away from the deadline and about 500 words in, with the story allowed a maximum word count of 2500.  All stories submitted for consideration must be about Sonoma County.  Two of my characters are from the late eighteen-hundreds who lived a small town in the northern part of the county, and my main character is from the same town in the mid nineteen-seventies.  In fact, if you were sitting in my office right now, you would see the pictures of my characters pinned to my bulletin board, along with photographs of that small town that burned down years ago.

Now that I am back in action mode, I have decided it’s time to set some goals:

  1. This week I will complete my short story and submit it before the deadline.
  2. This weekend I will work on my tax returns.
  3. Next week I will complete my article on family law for the Reap Record.
  4. During the coming weeks, I will do the necessary footwork for a mutual project in the works.

Finally, it’s time to get devote at least an hour a day to sitting in the chair and working on my stories. At some point, I will also decide whether to permanently shelve my novel, or refurbish parts into a new story.

Happy writing all, and always allow words to empower you.

Writing and Family

New Year and Renewed Goals

I always look forward to the New Year because it means Thanksgiving and Christmas are done until the holiday season gives birth again ten months down the road.

The fall of 2015 was particularly trying for me and my partner of 10 years. First, there were three fires in Lake County California, the Valley Fire being the worst because it rampantly swept through Middletown, Cobb, and Hidden Valley. Three people died and almost 2,000 structures, mostly homes, were destroyed.  We saw our friends’ homes destroyed, to where whole communities were desecrated and people lost everything and were forced into evacuation shelters.  While my partner’s home survived, he started having breathing problems.

Over the next month or so, my partner’s breathing problems intensified.  On October 4, a middle of the night emergency room visit resulted in him having open heart surgery on October 26 for an aortic valve replacement. Thank goodness, he came through with flying colors and was released from all restrictions five weeks later. Now, he is going full speed.

What these experiences were devastating and stressful, they were heart opening and life changing. I felt so much compassion for friends who had lost their homes, but joy that their individual spirit and lust for life continued on.  I experienced the strength of the entire county as people came together in community and helped each other out in all ways imaginable. During our medical crisis, people whose homes had been affected reached out to offer support to us.

These experiences also put my priorities in place. It was as if my problems were minute in comparison. I began to examine my own mortality and what I really want to do with the rest of my life, and especially how to rekindle my writing.

For several months I had been working too much overtime at work, which took away from my writing. In the fall I cut way back on overtime, and then in late December I decided I would not do any unless absolutely necessary. Finally, in January my boss changed our overtime policy, at which time I decided I would not ask for any further extra work because I wanted to spend that time on my writing.

I have been working on my novel more and now have a critique partner.  I would like to finish this work and submit it to an agent. I will be looking for freelance assignments and I will start submitting short stories again. I will make time to write every day and work on creating and building my freelance business. All this because writing is my passion.

I have never had such a dose of reality in life that has put my priorities right where they belong.

Happy New Year, and happy writing!

The Glory

Surprise!

Yes, that’s Surprise in the literal sense!

It all started late last year when I was participating in a book launch at Copperfield’s Books for Water, an anthology published by Redwood Writers. After I read my short story, “The Wrong Address,” a woman came up to me, asked for my email address, and said if I heard from her it would be to adapt my story into a play. I was flattered she liked my story, but I forgot about the incident after a few days.

Well, about a month ago, my boss came to me and said he’d received an email from a Hilary Moore asking for my contact information because she wanted to make my short story into a play.  I had been surprised when my story was accepted into the anthology because it had been rejected by several magazines, but the email from Hilary was even more surprising! After she told me the mission of the Off The Page Reader’s Theater is to showcase local writers, I accepted with pride.

The last few weeks I have been walking on air in anticipation of event happening on April 24, 25, and 26, 2015.   I have shared the news and the event flyer (to the left) on Facebook, as well as published the information in the Redwood Writer. Don has told all his family and friends about the play, and many loved ones will be attending.

On April 25, Don and I will go out to dinner with family and then enjoy the play together. I can’t wait.

This success truly has taken me by complete Surprise! I feel more inspired to take charge of my writing life and continue putting words onto paper. In fact, just a week ago, I entered a short story, a psychological thriller, into a local writing contest. I am not much on contests, but I thought this might be kind of fun.

I have been able to cut back on the overtime at work and am taking advantage of the time to continue writing my novel in progress. I would also like to write some more short stories, as I believe I write better shorts than I do novels.

Someone suggested that I think about putting together a collection of short stories for publication.  I could do that, but I would want them all to be published elsewhere. I have four short stories that have been published, so that’s a good start.

Finally, I want to encourage all my writer friends and acquaintances to be proud of all writing successes and to continue writing.

Happy Writing all!