Wednesday, December 28, 2016

From Noisy Activity to Quiet Anticipation: A Handbook for Writers

I love this time of year. The holidays are always filled with noisy activity but the days following Christmas are full of quiet anticipation.

It is a time of rethinking my life, reorganizing my space, and reviewing my goals. It is a time many people resolve to make changes with a “this year will be different” attitude.

I had a friend whose husband always told people she lost 200 pounds. Everyone hearing this was shocked. “Really?” They looked at her in amazement, trying to picture this beautiful woman wearing a size mammoth petite.

Her husband would smile. “Yep, she’s lost ten pounds every year for the last twenty years. She makes a resolution every January to lose ten pounds by summer and she does it!”

New Year’s Resolutions can be tricky like that. We often find ourselves making the same promises every year. I hear it from people who read my blog. I hear it from people at conferences and workshops.

“This is the year. This is the year I’m going to publish.”

Some do. Most do not. Why? The same reason some people lose weight and others don’t. The same reason some people keep the weight off while others gain it back.

Some people talk about change. Noisy Activity.
Some people plan the work and work the plan. Quiet Anticipation

Successful people have a plan.
I started my writing career with a business plan. I didn’t know what I would write or publish. I only knew I would do it. I prayed about it, researched business plans for various corporations and entrepreneurs, and set out to draft a plan suitable for a writer embarking on a new career.

I made the decision to become a published author in February 2012. I drafted the business plan in March 2012. By the end of summer, I had an article published in Home Health Aide Digest, a story accepted by Chicken Soup for the Soul, two articles accepted by the Lookout Magazine, and a contract for my first novel, Breathing on Her Own.

I have since presented the components of the plan to fellow authors via workshops and speaking engagements. I’ve blogged about it both on my blog and as a guest on other blogs such as the one hosted by Southern Writers Magazine.

A couple of years ago, a writer friend challenged me to publish a guide for other writers to develop their own business plan. I wasn’t ready. I had just lost my husband.

Now a new year is upon us and I find myself saying, “This is the year. This is the year I publish the handbook on creating a business plan for writers.”

Now…[insert drumroll here]…in January, the first handbook in a three part Writing to Publish series will be released on Amazon. The first book available is titled Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing. The handbook will be available as an ebook. You can download it on your Kindle or use the free downloadable app from Amazon to read it on your computer. I’m pretty excited about this.

When I first drafted my business plan there was not much out there to guide writers. I’ve since seen a few books addressing the topic and a few where the topic is given its own chapter.

My education and research background takes this handbook in a different direction. I actually walk readers through activities and challenges to construct a plan that is meaningful to them. While the handbook offers examples of structure, it is in no way formulaic.

The second handbook in the series is a primer for marketing. In it I share the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I worry a new writer will think they have to do it all immediately. My hope is to provide information in one place so the new writer can begin thinking about marketing themselves as a writer even before they publish, will know how to prepare to interview with agents and publishers, and will be aware of the initial steps to assure success for their publications.  The title of the second book in the Writing to Publish series is Marketing You and Your Writing 101.

The third book in the series, Writing with E’s, explores five habits needed to move from a wannabe writer to a published author. Writing with E’s is designed to help you bump up your writing efforts. The aim is to deepen your understanding of the tools you need to have in your writing toolbox beyond a computer, a dictionary, and an idea.

The plan is for these three handbooks to release in January and February. Tune in next week. I’ll have more information for you about the first book including the table of contents and a brief description of each chapter. I’ll also be offering a giveaway to readers.

Until then, enjoy the lull. Relax in the quiet anticipation of the new year ahead. And, while you’re at it…share this post with your friends. You don’t know who is out there with the secret wish to author a book.

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