When I first set up shop as a young writer, I got loads of invites to networking events. Chamber lunches. Le Tip meetings. Breakfast clubs, after-work mixers. There are plenty of organizations and groups that welcome new members and can be sources of business leads.
I went to them all, for a while. And I was miserable. I was also terrible at that kind of networking. I got few leads. Gave even fewer. Felt out of sorts, exhausted, like I didn’t belong.
All the gatherings also took a lot of time out of my workday. And while I did meet…
We met in his conference room. It was bigger than my entire office. He sat across from me at a table so polished I could see my reflection.
He’d been in business for two decades. Me? I’d started my own writing / P.R company only eight months earlier.
We talked about the project he was proposing. He wanted some public relations materials created and distributed, some press releases written to promote his new workshop. He told me his budget. I nodded my head. At that time, it was more money than I had earned from any project as a solopreneur.
It was 3 p.m. Friday and I was curled up on the right corner of the couch. Head pressed against the hard armrest, too tired to get a pillow. Dog pressed against my back, no help at all.
I counted the hours until bed. Could I be asleep by 8 p.m.? Lame. I heard my husband’s key against the door and then the door bumping against the doorstop.
“It’s the weekend!” He hollered. Backpack over his shoulder, hands over his head in celebration. “What do you want to do?”
I opened my eyes, looked at this good-natured, easy-going guy, and…
My fingertips are burning where they touch the mug filled with hot coffee. I take a quick drink, set the mug down on the desk, and continue scrolling through the morning emails and notifications.
It’s 6:15ish. I just took the dog out and I’m working early today because I have an evening presentation that I want to rehearse a couple of more times before I launch into my first assignment.
The first email is a notice that the product I ordered, is no longer available. Another tells me about a meeting that needs to be rescheduled. Something has come up…
In the middle of March, last year, just after lunch, I received an email from my daughter’s school.
“We will,” the principal wrote, “Be suspending school for all students and staff, due to the pandemic.” It was another 394 days, oh yes I counted before my teenager would be back in the classroom.
So. That happened.
The next day, I signed a contract to write my fourth nonfiction book.
The day after that, I completely lost my marbles.
How the heck was I going to write a book while helping my daughter navigate the remote school program, and sharing an…
I finish the Zoom call and look over at my fat cat sleeping in her box in the window. So relaxed. I am not. I’ve been up working since 4:30 a.m. when I had to wake for a podcast to promote my book. Then I had an article deadline, taxes to file, invoices to send. At 7 a.m., I got my daughter up and fed and out to her first day of in-person school in 374 days.
And now, I am here, in the quiet of my home office, alone. …
The morning darkness suited my mood. I didn’t bother turning on the lights. It was another Monday and I didn’t feel like going to work.
I was bored with the job. Burned out. And embarrassed.
You see, two decades earlier, I’d left a stable (READ: soul-sucking) job, with a generous income to pursue my dream career as a writer.
I wrote articles, and blog posts. Speeches and podcast scripts. I created content for the web, and corporate white papers wrote three books. I hustled. And learned. And grew and improved. And you know what? It worked.
I’ve been supporting myself…
Publishing an essay or article requires more than good writing. You also need a solid structure including a strong opening, tight focus, and memorable ending filled with both broccoli and chocolate cake.
Broccoli and chocolate cake?
That’s the way I remember the two components I need in one good ending. I’ll tell you more about them as we go. But, for now, as you read, double-check your stories for these other must-have components to make sure they are ready to publish.
In the newspaper world where I started my writing career, we called the opening of an article the lede…
I sent the 53-page book proposal to the agent on Wednesday. Thursday, she requested another sample chapter. Friday, she rejected the project. The market just isn’t right, she said. But, keep going, she said.
I hung my head after reading her email. Gritted my teeth for a minute. Drank a beer that night. Complained and ranted. Fantasized about making sandwiches at a deli instead of writing at my desk. Wrestled with self-doubt and fatigue. Then, I sent the proposal out again. The next day.
After 25 years as a professional writer, I’ve learned there is one basic thing that separates…
Sit down with any writer’s group, commiserate with a writer over coffee, meet up in the hotel bar after a writer’s conference — and you’ll hear about how hard it is to make a career — one that pays the bills and affords the occasional beer — by selling your writing.
It’s true. There are easier ways to make money. …