Sunday, July 14, 2019

Writers Must Look in Two Directions

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

When I was a child, my parents sternly warned me, “Look both ways before you cross the street.” It was wise counsel then and is also relevant today. As writers, we have immediate deadlines and long-range plans. Are you working on both? These actions are important for every writer and it is something that I do every day—work on both types of deadlines.

Immediate Plans

As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James, I am processing submissions and talking with authors about the details of Morgan James to see if it is a fit for their book. If so, then I need to champion the book to my colleagues with relevant details to see if they will agree—and then send an official publishing contract. When the contract comes, I need to send it to the author (or their literary agent) and then answer questions and negotiate and finalize the contract. There are numerous steps in this process yet it is important to keep moving on these submissions and contracts. It is a continual part of my immediate work.

Also as an editor, I make follow-up calls and send follow-up emails to authors about their contract to see if they have questions and encourage them to move forward. Authors have many choices about their books and sometimes it takes many of these follow-up calls before they sign and move forward. It is a continual process and often with many twists and turns.

As a writer, I'm sending magazine editors and online editors requested articles on their deadlines. I have a number of these deadlines and use reminders on my phone to make sure I meet their needs. As my friend New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins says only one in a hundred writers will hit their deadline. As you meet deadlines, it is one of the simple ways you can distinguish yourself from others.

Another immediate deadline is to prepare for upcoming conferences. For example, next month I will be teaching a continuing class on Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers. The conference gives the faculty deadlines for their handouts. I have taught this class other places so I have a prepared handou—yet I need to check this handout and make sure everything is working on it (all the resources, etc.). My class will be teaching related but distinct material from my book, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams.

Another immediate deadline is working on growing and feeding my own social media connections as well as my own network and platform. The growth process is continual for every author. These immediate deadlines are just examples of immediate deadlines—and not a comprehensive list.

Long-range Plans

Besides these immediate plans, I am constantly initiating long-range plans as well. I'm in discussion with some authors and publishers about writing projects. I'm blocking time and regularly writing on my current book project. I'm initiating and making marketing plans for the launch of my next book. I'm pitching myself as a speaker at forthcoming conferences and events. Some of these plans are for events in a few months and some of them extend into next year. Long-range plans are also mixed into my schedule.

As you think about your own writing life, are you looking in both directions? How are you mixing short term plans and long-term plans into your day? Let me know in the comments below.


Are you making immediate and long range plans for your writing?Get insights here from this prolific reader and writer.  (ClickToTweet)

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