By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Last week I picked up the phone and called a writer I met over a year and a half ago. I encouraged her to send me her material. It was not my first phone call or email to this author but in a consistent pattern since we met, I’ve been reaching out. As of this writing, she hasn’t sent her material. Months ago I recall reading her book proposal and seeing potential. My follow-up work has not been done in a nuisance way so she wonders about my persistence. I have had a steady pattern. This characteristic of consistency is an important one for every writer. In this article, I want to give you some ideas how to build consistency into your writing life. First, each person needs to determine what do you want to accomplish with your writing? Do you want to increase your presence on a specific social media platform? Do you want to get more readers to your blog or your newsletter? Do you want to get more reviews for your books? Do you want to sell more books? Do you want to write more magazine articles? There are endless possibilities and questions. My point is to select something specific. Now with a specific writing target clearly in focus, how are you going to execute this task? From my experience the consistency comes from creating a system. For example, I post on my social media about 12 to 15 times a day. Yet I only spend about 30 minutes a day on these posts. I am consistent in this process because I’ve developed a system for creating and posting my social media. Years ago I decided to post my tweets every hour throughout the working day--and not at the top of the hour but at five minutes past the hour. In a few cases each day I post at 35 minutes past the hour. Each of these posts are scheduled a planned. Sometimes I will post immediately and often happens when I review a book and promote the book and review. If you follow my social media stream (which some writers do because they repost and share my material), I’m providing an education in publishing and the writing world--particularly if you read the various articles. My posting is a continual part of my effort to share what I’m learning and also educate others on this complex and ever-changing world of publishing. Other writers, editors, agents and leaders in the publishing world are reading these actions--including these articles in The Writing Life.
My results and success in publishing didn’t happen overnight but happened because of my consistent action. I tried something, then adjusted the plan and then continued it--thousands of times. I’m consistent because I’ve created and continued my system. It is that simple and something you can do as well.
Or maybe you want to blog each week or several times a week or once a month. Select a schedule which will work for your writing life and is something you can do over and over. I write these articles about The Writing Life once a week and have posted consistently for years. Throughout the week and often at odd times, I will have an idea for an article. I write it down and keep a running list of these ideas. During spare moments throughout my week, I will write my article. Sometimes I have it written early and other times I do it at the last minute but every time I get it done because I have developed a system. For my blog, each entry is intentional to my particular audience with topics and labels (to help the SEO), a clear by-line who wrote it, a relevant, royalty-free image, a different image at the bottom of my blog and tied to my special offer (and if you click the image it goes to the offer), a click-to-tweet at the end of each article to help people easily pass along my writing to their audience, and many other details are included. If you want to know how to make money with your blog, I have a risk-free resource (just follow the link or click the image). Yet each detail is planned and a part of my created system which I use on a consistent basis. Because I have been blogging on a consistent basis, with millions of blogs, my blog was named as one of the top 27 content writers (which was a complete surprise to me).
Recently I received a proposal submission which was probably this writer’s first attempt. The submission was incomplete with a hand-drawn illustration which will likely never be published (unless the author does it herself). As an editor, I could have:
1) ignored it and not responded (a common response)
2) scheduled it for rejection or
I chose to respond to this writer and take a few minutes to send her some free resources and guidance. I have no idea if she will take my suggestions or ignore them (another choice). I recall my own early submissions and the mistakes which I made over and over. If no one helped me, I would still be unpublished. I include this story to show that each of us have things we have learned in our publishing journey. I encourage you to make the effort to pass along these lessons to others and help them.
How can every writer become consistent? It begins with creating a system which works for you, executing your system over and over, then reworking it as needed. None of these actions happen randomly. My consistent actions and development of an ever-improving and refined system is working. What actions can you take to become a more consistent writer? Let me know what else you suggest in the comments.
Labels: blogging, book proposal, marketing, planning, publishing, social media, system, Terry Whalin, The Consistent Writer, The Wrtiing Life, writing