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Posts Tagged ‘opportunities’

Thought Leaders

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the hot new terms in our lexicon these days is the concept of a thought leader.  Those of us who have a specialty can now share creative thoughts, views and opinions with the rest of the world through social media sites.

If you happen to specialize in romance writing, for example, you can visit any number of writing sites to post your expertise.  Recognition for your contribution comes in the form of e-networking opportunities, which may parlay into meeting an editor or a literary agent.

So be bold.  Share your thoughts.  Just a note though.  Remember that your information has a far reach and therefore, you need to always remember what the image you are trying to create for yourself and make sure that publication of your thoughts are aligned with your desired image.

Discovering Who You Are as a Writer (3)

April 26, 2008 Leave a comment

In case you are just joining us, I’m in the midst of of a four part series in discovering who you are as a writer.  We are using SWOT to identify our strengths, weaknesses,opportunities, and threats.  While this exercise is ridiculously simple, it can be challenging because it forces you to look at yourself honestly.  After we compile all this information, it will help develp a game plan for any writing project.  Today we are discussing opportunities. I have been using my life to fill in the blanks, because I am transitioning into a writing career. 

I love opportunities…but one has to realize that most times opportunities don’t just come to you.  While it may seem like you are doing nothing to attract opportunities, you actually are.  However, when you want opportunities to show up in a particular area of your life — such as writing, you need to figure out how you are going to make it happen.

Most often, people can draw something from past experience, friends or skills to create writing opportunities.  A friend’s family runs a local magazine that features book and movie reviews.  While this isn’t directly in the ball park of novel writing, it may provide a stepping stone when the editor asks for clips.  You will also get a glimpse of the writing world.   Writing a couple of articles gives you credibility.  It looks good in the proposal.  It looks as if you are serious about writing…and of course, you are.

In my SWOT analysis, here’s what’s in the Opportunity box.

OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunity to meet many people where I work
Member of a Writing Group
Contacts at colleges where I attended
Understanding how to use the Internet and viral marketing as a tool

What I need to do is keep up with the email lists, stay active and make sure I connect with people that I may share things in common. I also need to work on other avenues to develop activities because this is not going to be enough to establish a good contact base for marketing endeavors (meaning the novels yet to be written).

My immediate action plan? I need to get folders set up for each of these areas of opportunity. When I have an idea to expand and broaden the area, I make notes to remind me what stage I am on the development. Always put down what you did and what you are going to do with a date. When your life becomes overwhelming and/or old age besets your memory, this will help you not squander time looking for stuff or redoing tasks already done.

One last note: If you stay at your computer and write without mingling and establishing relationships, you are closing your door to potential opportunities. It sounds regimented, but if you are the passionate type that prefers to stick your nose to the grindstone until the project is over, you will probably need more balance to keep your sanity. It will also keep the low and high peaks of any career at a minimum. To do that means to change your behaviors slightly. If you do a daily calendar, you can map out when you should write, do admin work, network, and relax. You need to nourish your whole self, not just the creative part.

My plan for tomorrow is to not blog my threats (last segment of the series) until I start my short story.

One Way to Make Novel Writing a Career

April 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Figuring out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) posed may position you to achieve your goal sooner, better or easier.  This is because now you are able to clearly assess where you are and take a more clear cut action plan to get you your results. 

Okay, I know what you are thinking.  Why don’t you just write and see what comes of it?  You can do it that way, but I want to make this a career change.  In order to do that, it is best to have a plan.  If you plan to earn a living as a writer, you need to treat this as a business.  Some people are lucky.  They have contacts.  They are at the right place at the right time.  But if you are like me, I don’t have those contacts.  I live in an area that takes pride in the fact that it is a bio sciences community…(yeah, great backdrop to a novel, but I am not really part of the bio community). 

Above all, more than creating strategy, what will propel you forward is excellent writing with a unique viewpoint/plot.  If it is good, it will eventually find its way to the marketplace.  Good planning strategies can sell average quality novels.  Good planning may catapult excellent writing.  And if you are planning to make this your bread and butter, I’m sure you would much rather get paid now as opposed to having your estate receive your royalties.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I know what I should do, but have not taken the time to implement it in my own life.  So, as I discover who I am, so will you.  Before I create my SWOT for transitioning into a fiction writer, let’s be very clear about my goal.

Goal:  To become a fiction writer by end of the year 2009.

Is this specific?  Yes
Is this measurable?  Yes.  Measurable in the sense that the number of written pages will indicate progress.
Is this attainable?  Yes.  It requires discipline and focus.
Is this realistic:  Yes, because I have the education and have been writing for many years…just not fiction
Is there a time frame:  Yes.  (I need a deadline otherwise I get derailed too easily.  If you are working a full time job, this time frame becomes even more imperative, because your time is limited.)

SWOT

STRENGTHS
Writing ability
Good foundation in research
Computer literate
Good imagination
Marketing skills
Small business management knowledge
Analytical
WEAKNESSES
Need more fiction writing time
Easily distracted by family and responsibilities
Too eager to help others
To-Do List is overwhelming 
OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunity to meet many people where I work
Member of a Writing Group
Contacts at colleges where I attended
Understanding how to use the Internet and viral marketing as a tool
 
THREATS
Lack of focus. 
Energies too dispersed.
Self confidence
 

In the next post I will create an action plan to make the most of my strengths and opportunities and strategies to turn my weaknesses and threats into an advantage.

Five Step Process to Assess and Plan Your Writing Career

April 19, 2008 Leave a comment

You probably are wondering why I can’t get my act together and here I am giving advice.  Good question.

 

My career experience has been an integration of sales, marketing, writing, teaching, and observation.  For the past 15 years or so, I’ve listened to financial experts help launch small businesses; I’ve watched webinars on everything from self assessment and motivation to learning how to target the people you want as clients; and   I’ve read numerous books on management, record keeping, controls, tax help, etc.

 

Intellectually I know what has to be done to succeed.  Emotionally, I always put my family first and there’s the rub.  I’m like the carpenter whose home has lots of trim work left to do because the carpenter is too busy fixing other people’s houses.

 

Follow me, and we will work through the SWOT chart together.

 

Step #1:  Determine the weaknesses in your ability as a writer.

Step #2:  What part of the writing process do you like the best?  What are you particularly good at?

Step #3:  Check out the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) chart below.  This is not my invention.  Businesses have been using this for years. 

Step #4:  Copy this chart and fill in the boxes with your assessment.

Step #5:  Put an X  by those items that you do not like doing.  Okay, as a business person, a person who writes for compensation, your success lies in how much you know about yourself and what is your game plan in dealing with weaknesses and threats and exploiting your strengths and opportunities.  Are you planning to learn how to do the task?  Or is it worthwhile to pay a professional to manage that end for you? 

 Sample SWOT Analysis 

STRENGTHS

Dramatic storytelling

Bigger than life characters

Good determination

Great ideas and vision

  

WEAKNESSES

No marketing plan

Networking

Writing dialogue

No filing system

No writing support group

Need better computer and office space

 

OPPORTUNITIES

Great researcher

A people person

Know people in publishing industry

Website

  

THREATS

Lack of self-esteem

Lack of time

Unable to say NO to family requests

Lack of organization

 

Your next step is putting this information together.  This will help you get a handle on areas of needed improvement and the foundation for your marketing plan. 

 

The chart above is a sample.  In the next week, I will develop my SWOT analysis  See how this is eventually incorporated into a marketing plan. (This is the groundwork for your proposals to literary agents and publishing houses.)