Sunday, March 01, 2020

Your Persistence Matters

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
What is the topic or subjects where you have the greatest passion? How are you translating this passion into your writing? What persistent and consistent steps are you taking with this passion to be telling people about it?
I hope these questions stir some ideas and thoughts for you. From my years in publishing, persistence is a key quality for every writer.  I encourage you to take a few minutes every day and spend time on this topic of your passion. Maybe you write an article for a magazine. Or you work on a plan for a membership course. Or you pitch someone on doing a workshop on this topic. Or you write a chapter in your book on the topic. Take some steps (even if small ones) every day to move forward and be persistent.
Several months ago, a magazine editor approached me to write an article about essentials for a book proposal. When I got the request, I wanted to do it but with my current writing projects, I could not see how I could get it written. I had written for this publication in my past and wanted to meet the editor's deadline. Yet it came and disappeared. To my fault, I never communicated with the editor about needing more time and extending the deadline.  I was not a good communicator with my editor  (something every writer should attempt to be in this business). If you need more time, ask for it—but I didn't.
Several months later I interacted with this editor about another matter. In our email exchange, she said something about the book proposal article. To my surprise, she still wanted me to write it for her publication—even though my deadline had come and disappeared. This editor was persistent in her pursuit of the article. We negotiated a new deadline for the piece. Thankfully with this new deadline, I found a little time to brainstorm how I would write this article.  Besides my bestselling book, Book Proposals That Sell, I've written a number of articles about different aspects of a proposal.

Can you take something you wrote for another publication (and hopefully saved on your computer in a place easy for you to locate), then use this writing as a springboard for the new assignment? Hopefully when you write for magazines, you are selling “first rights” which means when the article is published, those rights return to you for you to use again. As I thought about other articles I had written, I recalled a series of articles I had published on proposals. In a few minutes, I pulled those articles into the longer requested article for this publication. Last week I reworked the article so it flowed correctly and sent it off to the editor. I met her deadline and her persistence paid off with getting what she wanted for her audience.
Several lessons for you from my experience:
1. Maintain your relationship with the editor, agent or other publishing professional.
2. If you need more time, ask for it and renegotiate a new deadline. Don't fall silent like I did and let it pass.
3. Reuse material you have written in the past. Preserve it on your computer in files and folders you can easily locate. Then get more mileage from your previously published work with new publications and new readers.
4. You will reach more readers with your magazine work than most books. I've long been an advocate for writing for magazines as a way to spread your message.
How are you practicing persistence in your own writing life? Are you continuing to build new relationships with publications and editors? Let me know in the comments below.

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