Saturday, October 09, 2010

Finding Your Focus

Originally posted @

The best place for focus is internal. I’ve been on a journey of writing self discovery this year, and I’d love you to join me a journey to find your writing focus. I started with something simple: Set a goal. Make a commitment. Decide what you are working on and focus on your project.

I thought about these questions: Where are you in your writing? In your story? Plot worked out? Characters sketched? What kind of goal do you need to set? What kind of commitment are you willing to make? Do you need to finish that story? Do you have a project you need to edit? Do you need to write a synopsis or a query letter? Are you ready to send out a submission? Do you need to update your website? Schedule a blog tour? Research details – or marketing strategies? Set up a blog or remember to blog?

And these things too: If you are ready to submit a new project (or resubmit an older one) have you done your “homework”? Doyou know which publishing houses publish the type of story you are submitting? Do you know which editor or agent to submit to? If you are to this point you might want to consider checking out a few places online that make the process of narrowing down your options a little easier. If nothing else – use a good search engine (I’m a Google girl) and simply type in your genre and “publisher” or “literary agent” to get started. In this day and age there are so many opportunities for information at your finger tips it pays to do your “homework” before submitting.

Don’t you owe yourself and your writing career one or two hours of your time? Within that short timeframe you can find so much information about specific publishing houses, agencies, editors or agents you’ll be amazed. You’ll learn – following their specific guidelines – is starting off on the right foot. Some only want a query letter (with blurb). Some want query and synopsis. Others want a query, synopsis, and a few pages to 3 chapters. Most of the ePublishers want the entire manuscript. By doing your research, you’ll know if they encourage you to attach part of your manuscript. You don’t want to pass up that opportunity if they offer. Send them what their specific guidelines state and you are a step ahead of others who don’t follow those guidelines. Agents and editors complain about people not following their guidelines all the time!

Sometimes when you search the agent or editors name – you’ll find a blog post or an interview – here you have a chance to see what they like and/or dislike in queries and submissions. Most blogs offer a search feature — where you can search the blog/site for specifics (saves time) – just search by “name” or “submission/s”. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn this way. Some agents/editors really want to know in your query letter if – you met this person before? Do you follow their blog? Why are you submitting to them in particular? Let’s make 2010 all about finding our focus and moving forward with our writing. I hope you’ll join me this year in a journey to find your focus and to help others along the way.

Since I can’t sit with everyone individually to discuss these points, I hope by asking these questions I’ve got you thinking… and maybe making your own check list. The more you put into your writing the more you get out of it. Good luck, and I hope you find your focus and get busy!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Manic Monday!

Life's been a bit crazy. Both of my kids are back in school and we have schedules. I love schedules -- but ours have been insane! The oldest plays school softball, which starts as soon as school does, so that's four days a week. Add in a knee injury and physical therapy two days, plus both kids and ccd, every week for one, every other week for the other -- and some days I drive up to my house, don't kill my car or get out before leaving again! Besides the dh has not been feeling the best, but is hopefully on the road to recovery.

Whew. I'm tired and that's not even close to all I have going on. My day job has been super busy (thankfully!) and I'm working on a follow up story to one of my finished novellas (and have about three other stories I need to be working). And I'm expecting first round edits any day now for Risking Delaney!

Oh...and there's this little RWA chapter I'm currently president of and we are hosting one hell of fantastic reader's luncheon coming up 11/6/10 - which means that is a big time suck right now too!

How's your day? What have you been reading? I admit lately I've been mostly listening to audio books (thanks to busy day job - I'm on the road bunches).