Archive for February 26th, 2009

Writer Mama Success Rhythms: February 2009

Christina Katz and daughterBy Christina Katz

Ultimately there’s only one person in charge of the big-picture planning of your writing career. That’s just one person who is responsible and accountable for making the “right” choices and decisions. You! You must steer your own ship into the happiest harbors for you. Here are some success rhythm tips for how to let your passions be your guide, just in time for Valentine’s month.

I recently had a phone coaching session with a former student who was being a bit hard on herself. In my class, she’d decided to focus on a specific topic to develop her platform but was starting to feel like maybe she’d made the wrong choice. And hey, we all make the wrong choice sometimes. So, don’t waste even a second beating yourself up or belaboring the point. Just hone in on the topic or topics you want to devote your time to instead. This can apply to topics and craft. Perhaps you thought you liked writing certain forms like fillers and profiles, only to find after a time that you can whip off essays and how-tos more quickly. This is a helpful discovery, so run with it!

The same writer mama had experienced some success placing articles, but felt impatient with her progress, like she should be either further ahead of where she was or accomplishing something different. If you do this too, stop. Forget what you haven’t achieved and look closely at what you have accomplished and continue to accomplish. Do you enjoy striving for these goals? If yes, how can you draw on what you’ve learned and leverage it for more success in the short and long runs? Regardless of the type of success you have selling your work, if you are already somewhat successful, you have lessons that you can learn and success you can amplify.

The truth is that like writing, self-promotion involves a lot of trial and error. Last month I wrote about thinking your platform through before you hop online, but this isn’t written in stone. Sometimes dabbling around online is the best way to learn. One caution, though: some choices can’t be undone–like the name of the blog you choose or the name of a group on Facebook (as I just learned). So think it through before you act. Remember the three keys: clarify your topic, niche, and audience first and try to get it right the first time. And if you make a mistake, just start over. No biggie.

Professional Development
It’s still early in the year and not too late to plan to attend a writing conference in 2009. Consider your objectives first. Will you attend primarily to learn, to network, to pitch a book, or for another reason? What do you need to learn? Whom do you want to meet? What type of book will you pitch? These are all important questions to answer before choosing the best conference for you. Visit for a full listing of writers’ conferences and workshops.

Trust your instincts and follow your passions. One fresh choice can lead you in a happier direction. Then you’ll enjoy what you do so much more than you would if you confined yourself to uncomfortable limits.

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer’s Digest Books). A platform development coach and consultant, she started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on Good Morning America. She teaches writing career development, hosts the Northwest Author Series, and is the publisher of several e-zines including Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs and Get Known Before the Book Deal, and speaks at MFA programs, literary events, and conferences around the country.

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