Writer Mama Success Rhythms

By Christina Katz Christina Katz and daughter

Now that all thoughts are turning towards 2010, l’d like to point out the key change I think all writers, including writer mamas, need to make. We all need to diversify our skill sets or we won’t be able to compete in the new marketplace. So as we enjoy the holiday season, think about how you will diversify your writing portfolio in 2010.
Craft: Try new forms. Your writing is going to be read in ways that have not even been discovered yet. How can writers prepare for this? By getting your needle unstuck and busting out beyond your most comfortable literary forms.
Never forget that attention spans are shrinking and that everyone is overworked and underpaid. So solemnly swear right now: I will not waste other people’ time. I will only write what is compelling, necessary and needed. Otherwise I will keep my words to myself until they are polished and targeted enough to share.
This, after all, is what writers do: we nurture clusters of words until they are ripe for the reading. Nurture ’em first. Share ’em only when they are ready.
Pitching: Diversify your income streams. You’re going to have to pitch more people more often just to earn what you were earning before or simply to generate enough leads to earn. So, don’t get your needle stuck on just this one editor or that one editor.
Yes, ongoing relationships are still great when the opportunity comes along, but don’t hope for that. Become gig-minded instead. Focus on landing and executing one gig at a time and then move on. Go for more gigs.
If an ongoing relationship with an editor yields steady results, great, but write for the sake of the writing well, not to hook your cart to one particular publisher or editor’s cart in hopes of regular assignments. And even when you get a stream of steady assignments, be sure to write for others in case that stream dries up.
Platform Building:
Streamline your platform-building efforts and specialize. The future of platform-building is going to involve streamlining. I’ve certainly learned this from personal experience.
You are going to have to keep your platforms simple, sisters. Don’t overlook specializing as a crucial preliminary step. And partner wisely with others, not just with anybody. It’s a crowded, cluttered, noisy Internet out there now. Rise to the top of the Google list by sounding one, clear, strong note, not by running bumpy scales instead. Okay? You’ll need to do your footwork to figure out your specialty.
Professional Development: Be choosy and select only the best. Just like you can’t be everything for everybody, you also can’t go everywhere and do everything. So, be picky. Don’t join just any associations. Join the best associations for you. Don’t attend too many conferences (or none). Attend those that will assist your career most. And don’t base your decision on price tag alone. Pay more for the right association, the right conference, etc. in order to preserve your time and energy. Above all, invest in your own career first, before assisting others.
Hope your Writer Mama Success Rhythms continue into 2010 and beyond, mamas.

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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