The cares of this world like
family, job, household, and shopping obligations often bog down writing to
where it’s harder for writers to be effective in this craft. Writing is a
difficult endeavor to be involved with, especially when people want to make
money at it. Without discipline and focus, the chances at success in this
field are drastically cut. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to
pursue writing with more discipline and focus:
Discipline Yourself to Set Aside
Whether it’s a determined period
daily or weekly, if you want to build up your writing career, time needs to
be set aside to research material, create articles, and find markets. People
often complain about the lack of time in a day, but 24 hours in a day is
sufficient. The reason is that it puts us into the position to where we have
to prioritize our time for work, play, sleep, and taking care of our basic
needs. Many wannabe writers who claim there isn’t enough time to write can
miraculously find several hours a week to watch mindless television shows or
type nonstop drivel in internet chat rooms! Did you know that many writers
and editors are parents and spouses who are attentive to their families, but
manage to build successful writing careers? If they can find time to write
while raising children, which is the toughest job in the world to do
effectively, then very few people have a valid excuse to not discipline
themselves to find some time during the week to complete the tasks that go
with writing for money, even if that means sacrificing an activity or
Focus Your Writing as a Business
Writing a piece via drafting and
re-drafting is only the first step in the process of growing as a writer.
Think about a successful non-writing business. How did it get that way?
Well, for starters, successful businesses have the discipline to be open
regularly and provide good customer service consistently. These are
attributes that have to be ongoing for many hours and for several days per
week. Then supporting those two main attributes are the tasks of
bookkeeping, maintenance, continual training, and much more.
Well, writing for money has to
be looked at in the same way, even if you are just getting your feet wet on
a part-time basis to begin with. Writing isn’t just "typing stuff" and
hoping that publication will magically appear for lots of money. Once the
work has been written, the focus has to include the pitching of works and
queries to the appropriate markets – submitting to them, and dealing with
rejections and acceptances. Then there are the business expenses and sales
that accumulate which need to be followed closely. If business savvy isn’t
something that comes naturally to you, then it’s time to get educated via
business courses and materials which are readily available in the
information age we live in. If you want to write, but are having trouble
finding inspiration, there’s also tons of advice and ideas on how to break
writer’s block. The more you approach writing as a business, the more you’ll
have the focus and discipline to make money from it.
Focus Your Writing As
Another thing that writers may
lose site of is that their works are really like investments. Once you’ve
submitted your work, it’s important to keep track of it like you would a
brokerage investment. Most people who are invested in the stock market or in
mutual funds check their investments regularly via online or when the
statements arrive in their mailbox. Well, a writer’s works need to be
approached the same way; that is, follow up with the editors per their
guidelines and/or within a reasonable period of time if you don’t hear back
from them to make sure they got your work and are still considering it if
you haven’t heard from them. This way, your works aren’t futilely sitting
around gathering dust when they could be submitted elsewhere if the editor(s)
you’ve submitted to have no interest in publishing what you wrote.
And if you are fortunate enough
to make a sale with your work and still retain the rights to re-sell your
work, do so. A writer’s work isn’t necessarily something that can only make
money once unless you’ve sold all your rights away via that first sale.
Given that many travel, literary and other publications consider reprints,
achieving multiples sales from your works is like getting extra "stock"
price upswings and/or dividends from the time spent crafting your works,
even if that means taking some extra time re-editing them somewhat before
submitting them to other markets.
There are no free lunches in
life, especially in writing. Everything we as writers do is done at a cost
of giving up something, whether that be time, mental and typing effort, tv
watching, etc. The key to a successful life is being in the position to do
what you want to as much as possible. You see, there is also a cost for not
implementing discipline and focus: it’s being stuck in a rut and wondering
what could have been!
Biography: Roy A. Barnes writes
from southeastern Wyoming. Besides Writer2Writer, his writing-themed works
have appeared at The Willamette Writer, Writing for DOLLARS, Writers Weekly,
The Fabulist Flash, The Dabbling Mum, and others. His travel- and
literary-themed works have been published by such mediums like Transitions
Abroad, The Goblin Reader, The First Line, Northwest Prime Time, The
Traveler, The Kids’ Ark, and Poesia.