Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

Yes, I have gotten overwhelmed with the holiday rush. The Emerging Author blog will return after the first of the year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!
May you have many blessings to count today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Part two of the Confessions installment. I am having fun writing! Hope you are having fun reading. This is an interesting new challenge for me.


Carole lay in the bed that night, feeling bloated and out of sorts. Her husband’s rhythmic snores irritated her as she contemplated the events of the day. Lying in the dark like this, it was easy for Carole to admit that she was angry about so many things. Mainly, she was mad at herself for gaining weight in the first place. She reached down and adjusted her waistband, suddenly appalled that even her flannel PJs were growing tight around her stomach. Rolling over on her side, a tear trickled out of the corner of her eye. She didn’t even bother wiping it away.

When morning finally came, Carole dressed and stepped around the same orange gift bag that had been her bedroom floor since Kelly’s birthday party last week. She maneuvered around a Webkinz and headed down the steps, noting that her husband had finally removed his single hiking boot from the bottom step. She went through her morning routine, flipping on the fireplace and starting the coffee pot before heading upstairs to coax Kelly and Sam out of bed.


I watched my mom moving about in the kitchen and I totally knew that there was a problem. So far, she had opened the fridge three times, but had yet to get me my orange juice. “Mom, orange juice please,” I reminded her.

“Kelly, please don’t use that tone with me. I just forgot,” snapped my mom. My mom was dressed in some old sweat pants and a big t-shirt and I watched her open the huge stainless steel fridge, again. This time she came out with a jug of OJ in hand. It’s about time, I thought, trying not to speak out loud. I secretly hoped that nobody I knew would see my mom. She absolutely looked awful with a greasy ponytail and bags under her eyes. No make-up, of course. Totally embarrassing I thought, vowing to never let myself go the way mom had.

“I need a snack,” I said, trying to keep my tone neutral. I watched in amazement as my mom dropped an entire, unpeeled apple in my black Quicksilver backpack, “I don’t like the peel on my apples.”

“Tough, I don’t like outgrowing my clothes,” snapped my mom.

“If you’re worried about your weight, why did you eat all of those enchiladas last night?” I asked, waiting for the explosion. I bent down and pretended to be looking for my tennis shoe. It seemed one of my pink Vans had gotten misplaced. I much preferred flip-flops, or my slip-on Vans, but it was a P.E. day. I finally glanced up to see why my mom hadn’t started yelling yet, but the kitchen was empty, except for my little sister, Sam. Sam’s brown eyes were as big as saucers and she held her spoon suspended in the air over her yogurt container.

“I can’t believe you said that to mom,” Sam said with her 5-year-old jaw hanging open.

“I can’t believe mom is surprised she’s gained weight,” I retorted. “Have you seen my pink Vans? I’m missing one.”

“It’s with your skateboard,” mumbled my little sister as she dipped her spoon back into her yogurt. My sister always ate yogurt and a banana for breakfast. Disgusting.

“I’m going to school.” I slammed the garage door, threw the apple in the trashcan and put on my other shoe. I always wear pink shoes. I grabbed my skateboard and headed down the street thinking about how I would never let myself be like my mom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

News Not Welcome

Sometimes life requires you step out of your comfort zone. I am stepping way out of mine as I feel compelled to post a fictional series entitled, "Confessions." I hope you enjoy the first short story, "News Not Welcome."

News Not Welcome

She stepped into her closet, kicked the Spanx box out of the way and closed the door. Turning to the full-length mirror, she stripped off her blue work out shirt, getting the totally useless built-in “bra” hung up on her earring. After contorting her way out of the shirt, luckily saving both her ear lobe and her jewelry, she stared at her exposed belly.

Carole Cline knew that she was a perfectionist. She was particularly obsessive about her appearance and knew lots of tricks for hiding problem spots (her waist). Her favorite was when her pants actually fit, but in desperate times she attached a rubber band through the buttonhole and around the button, thus allowing her pants to grow with her midsection. She picked up the Spanx from her closet floor and held it on the tip of her finger, regarding it with the same distaste she had for dirty diapers. She’d tried repeatedly to wear the under garment, but had only succeeded in keeping it on once…it rolled down her midsection the entire time she had it on and decided it was easier to just look fat. Too bad she couldn’t return it since it cost an arm and a leg. But lately Carole just wore sweats with an elastic waist. She could get away with that since she worked from home.

The doorknob on the closet door jiggled and Carole threw one of her husband’s old t-shirts over her sports bra, “Can’t I get a moment to myself?” she snapped at the five-year-old pushing through the door? Carole thought for sure she could hide in the closet long enough to regain her composure, but she was a mom and she had realized long ago that moms rarely found escape from their children. Besides, her kids had some sort of internal radar that led them right to her, whether she was in the tub or in the depths of the basement storage room.

“Sorry, honey. Mommy just got yucky news today.” After all, thought Carole, this was her problem, not her daughter’s. Stepping around the Spanx box, Carole followed her little girl downstairs, maneuvering around an orange gift bag, a menagerie of Littlest Pet Shop toys and one hiking boot (man’s size 8).

“Mom, I’m hungry. I want a peanut butter sandwich and applesauce,” whined Carole’s daughter, Sam, possibly the skinniest child ever.

“No honey, tonight we are having something good.” Carole, who rarely cooked, pulled a beer out of the fridge, steeled herself with a long swallow, and proceeded to prepare a meal of epic proportions. When she sat down to eat with her family, she ate as if she were the skinniest 20-year-old on Earth. Only Carole (who was only about 18 years past 20) and her doctor (tall and skinny, of course) knew that she was on the verge of being obese.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Series In Progress

An interesting revelation has prompted me to prepare a series of posts. Inspiration just hit (like a Mac truck) and this is a topic I need to spend time on in order to do it justice.

Please check back next week for the first post in a series entitled, "Confessions."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sick Leave

Last week I had a reality check. My daughter and I were both sick and, at the beginning of the week, my husband was out of town. Although I wasn't bed-ridden with the flu, the daily tasks of caring for two children (one who was sick and one who was bored) while feeling rotten was a huge strain. I was pretty miserable. Writing was the last thing on my mind.

Now I will be paying for it. I have deadlines looming. I like to take my time with articles, finishing up and submitting them a week or two in advance. I have learned that when requesting interviews and working with multiple sources, it is easier to have time.

This is the first time I have dealt with being sick as a self-employed person. What are your tips for staying on track when you are solely responsible?

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Motherhood Muse

Today I am honored to be the guest blogger at Motherhood Muse. Check out both my guest blog post entitled "Nature's Symphony" at

Kimberly will launch The Motherhood Muse e-zine in January and you can sign up now to receive a free newsletter at her website,

Good luck to Kimberly in this great new endeavor!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Novel Idea

I am a mom and a freelance writer. My freelancing takes up all of my "office time." This is very, very good, but not as impressive as you might think. My office time consists of approximately 9 hours a week if there are no school holidays, no-one is sick and I don't need to go anywhere without a child in tow. Unless you count random working hours such as the 20-minute interview I conducted on my cell phone in my car this week. Don't worry, I was parked.

But behind the freelance facade is the creative writer. Essays, fiction...when am I supposed to find time to get all of the other "stuff" in my brain down on paper.

Writers, how do you find time to write what pays the bills AND still follow your muse?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take A Break

One kid is at school, the other is watching a 20-minute episode of The Backyardigans on TV and I need to draft two articles, submit an essay and schedule an interview. Ever feel that way? I think most of us do. Especially those of us with small children. And you'll notice that I didn't mention laundry, unmade beds or dishes in the sink.

I say we should give ourselves a break. One person can only take on so much. So, for the next week, let's concentrate on taking care of ourselves first. Then, write down some realistic goals and see if the writing process comes a little easier.

Being a mom is unpredictable, it is hard work and yes, it is worth it. But no one is perfect. So, take a deep breath and relax.

How do you manage your time?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Keep Knocking

I have a wonderful group of online writer friends. What started out as a blog for a group of classmates has turned into my writing haven. I have never met one of them in person (hopefully this will change soon), but I rush to my computer to share with them the ups and downs of this profession. They don't judge, they are willing to help sort out ideas and thoughts, they get it when I am disappointed and most of all, they celebrate when I have a success.

My online writing group has become a huge source of inspiration. I want to share with you how a conversation went today on our blog:

Writer 1 (a freelancer who has been published at the national level more than once): I keep pounding on doors at this [national] level. So far, I've been greeted with loud silence.

Writer 2's Response: If we don't knock, there's no hope a door will open.

I love this conversation because it is inspiring, it is simple and it is so true.

If you stop knocking, you'll never know what could of been.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conversation With a Regional Editor

I had the pleasure of speaking with a regional editor last week. She revealed some interesting information that I thought all of you writer-moms might like to hear!

She told me that she loves local writers and that one of her goals each month is to include as many local writers as possible. (Do I need to say here, if you have a local parenting magazine, contact the editor NOW!)? She mentioned that she enjoys working with writers at all stages in their careers, but she absolutely will not tolerate...(drum roll please)...

writers who consistently do not make their deadlines

Did you get that? She did NOT say, " I refuse to work with writers who consistently omit commas, or I won't work with anyone who hasn't had 10 articles published already." She said that she won't work with people who don't meet their deadlines.

WOW. Now that is a revealing statement. To be a writer for this editor, you must do the work in a timely fashion.

What a glorious thing to know.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Am A Writer. Aren't I?

Anyone ever ask you what you do for a living? Have you ever had trouble answering?

Being a writer takes a lot of confidence. Telling people you are a writer takes even more.

But the question is WHY? Why is it so hard to say, "I am a writer."

There is nothing glamorous about the day-to-day task of writing. It can be difficult, often is demanding and frequently intimidating. What job isn't? I think we stumble because we are self-employed and virtually going at it alone.

I finally prepared an answer for times when people ask me my occupation.

"I am a writer," I say to the dental hygienist.

"What do you write?" he asks (they always ask that next).

"I write magazine articles about parenting and my life as a military spouse. I currently write for KC Parent, Military Spouse Magazine and any other publication that will buy an article from me," I say, laughing a little about that last part (though it's true).

I feel better knowing what to say when someone asks me these questions. What about you? Do you stumble over the fact that you are a writer? How do you answer when someone asks your occupation?

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I believe in signs. Not the kind you find on the side of the highway, but the kind you receive while charting a course.


I've had my eye on fiction writing class for children for some time. It starts next on October 15. Should I take the class? I was not confident that I could give enough of my time to make it worth the money. So I didn't register. I waited for a "sign" to let me know if it was the right decision for me.

I got a sign. Almost simultaneously, my relationship with two different editors began to jive. I began getting assignments. My inbox was suddenly full. I realized I should follow the advice of my mentor and focus on doing one thing and learning to do it better and better (article writing) instead of spreading myself too thin.

Signs are all around us, we just have to be willing to see them. Are you open to seeing what is happening around you and using it to advance your career?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am honored to have been selected for the Kreativ Blogger Award by two of my peers,
Kristine Meldrum Denholm and Jennifer Roland. I am happy to know that people are reading my blog and I am even more excited to learn about more blogs that are being written about writing.

I am working on my list of seven and will publish soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Encourage One Another

Isn't that the name of a song? It goes something like this, "Encourage one another and lift each other up."

So often in this country, we do just the opposite. We get inside information and hide it away for our own personal use. Is this human nature, survival of the fittest or greed?

If all of the writers out there decided to keep their knowledge to themselves, I wouldn't be a freelance writer today. I wouldn't even be blogging. I wouldn't know how. I had to learn from others who were more experienced and more successful.

I have an incredible group of online writing friends. They are another secret in my continued perseverance. It is an amazing experience to connect with other writers who rejoice when I rejoice, console and encourage when I am rejected and "get it" when I am ready to give up.

Please, please, encourage your fellow writers and seek others like you. Share the secrets of your trade and reap the rewards of your generosity. Writing is lonely enough...there is no need to go it alone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Slow and Steady

I was told if I worked hard and practiced patience the assignments would come.

I am so relieved that it is starting to happen. Like a steam engine pulling out of the station, I am slowly building speed.

Are national magazines clamoring to fill my inbox with job offers? Not yet. But I do have steady assignments from two publications through the first of the year. This suits me well as I have a preschooler around the house most days of the week. I have no doubt that I will continue to gain assignments as I produce quality work that is submitted and formatted properly.

Steady assignments = steady paychecks, steady clips and most importantly, steady practice. I believe that writing is a craft that must be practiced repeatedly, regardless of your level of expertise. Each blog post, each article, each book chapter is an opportunity to raise the bar and write better than you did last time.

Keep up the good work, keep the faith and keep chugging along!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Save Time, Organize Your Space. NOW.

This is it folks, school starts here on Monday. Are you ready? Included for your reading pleasure is a list of my office pet peeves--and how I am going to squish them right out of my writing space.

1-Mailing labels. I HATE taking time out of the submission process to print address and return address labels. The printer usually eats something or the labels are out of alignment and suddenly, it's time to go pick up the kids. I am printing return address labels and SASEs now. I will have a stash available and only need to print out the mailing label when I am ready to submit.

2-Postage. Did you know you can purchase $1 stamps? How about 5 cent stamps? Those yellow envelopes that hold your clips and queries cost (currently) $1.05 to mail...unless you go over 2 ounces. Save trips to the Post Office and buy your stamps before you need them. Also, consider a scale so that your postage is correct every time. (USPS online has current rates for postage).

3-Supplies. Did the kids use your stapler for summer crafts? Where is that red pen and did I take my essay journal to the beach or to my parent's house? Check printer ink, your paper supply and batteries in your recording devices, etc. Get your supplies in place so that everything is within arms reach.

Go to the office supply store today. Don't wait. Can you be ready on the first day of school?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set, GOALS!

It's almost here! The start of the school year is more of a "new year" for my business than January 1 ever is. The IRS mandates my fiscal year be January 1 to December 31, but my personal career calendar is from the first day of school to the last. 

How about you?

It is time to consider goals for the year. 

1--What do you plan to achieve with your writing? Be specific!

2--What do you plan to achieve with your income? Numbers people!

3--How much can you do each day, each week, each month?

4--Ideas, please! List them, line up interviews, get ready to write queries.

5--Go, go, go!

I challenge you to get your office, your goals, your career in order BEFORE the kids head back to school. Hit the ground running; otherwise, you might lose valuable time trying to organize your thoughts and your space. 

Your kids aren't the only ones who need to be prepared for a new school year.

Do it! I dare you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Assess Your Achievements

My writing career is different than it was last year.

One year ago:

I did not know how to blog.

I was struggling to find a system--for my office, for my writing, for submitting.

I had only just begun to write and submit articles (my first article was submitted June 1, 2008).


I hold myself to a higher standard.

I query more, get paid more and respect myself as an able writer.

I write more and prepare less.

I enjoy the possibilities of a developing platform.

Next Year:

I will be amazed at how far my journey has taken me, just as I am today.

Take a moment to reflect upon your achievements and enjoy the realization that hard work pays off with time. You deserve a pat on the back!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Slow Down

Other moms who write assure me that I am NOT alone--writing often slows down (or almost stops completely) when the kids are home in the summer. I am finding that I can handle the slow-down in production to hang out at the pool; however, I am not so thrilled that the momentum I was gaining in April has almost ground to a halt. In fact, it did grind to a halt, but I am working to get it back.

I am determined to learn a lesson from this summer's slack-off, and here is my game plan! I have started a "summer" folder. While this year's hard-learned lessons are still fresh, I am developing some achievable summer goals and putting them on paper. For example, I can search for homes for each of my essays that still reside only on my computer and submit those "leftovers" without the need for large chunks of writing time. My folder will also hold ideas for articles that can be written based on a compilation of previous research and interviews, so that much of the leg work is done ahead of time. My biggest goal is to have at least one "spare" query prepared before school is out that can be mailed as summer turns the corner into fall. 

What about you, are you experiencing the summer slow down? If so, how are you reclaiming your career? 

I challenge you to start preparing NOW for next summer's lazy days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Submitting More Than One Article at a Time (To RPPs)

A member of my writing group prepares several submissions per month to submit to regional parenting publications (RPPs). I wish I had that kind of output! She was curious as to whether or not numerous submissions to the same publications would be viewed as pesky if they were sent individually. I thought she had a great point. I also realized that, if sent separately, it would take a great deal of time to send that number of submissions to a large group of editors.

I considered possible solutions and proposed that she try the following:

--Choose a self-imposed deadline each month (the first day, the 15th day, etc.) and complete all work for the month by that date. 
--Submit one email that includes the following information: name of each article, word count and a 2-4 sentence description of each article.
--For those of you who are really on the ball, direct editors to a website or blog that lists all of your other available articles as a reminder each month that you have work readily available.

I am not an editor, but I cannot see how this would possibly be viewed as pesky. In fact, I believe it would be a great way to showcase your work, your ability to meet a deadline and your commitment as a writer.

Do any of you have experiences in this area to share?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Moving Madness

I am currently moving into my new home. I am surrounded by boxes and a desk is being put together in my new office!! I do hope to get back to my regularly-scheduled Thursday posts soon. Please don't give up on me and keep checking in.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Simultaneous Submission vs Reprint

Simultaneous submission or reprint?

When submitting to a regional publication, which is the best way to go? A reprint automatically cuts your chances of selling a first-rights piece. But does a simultaneous submission get to confusing, or is it it the way to go?

Perhaps with a simultaneous submission, one could begin contacting only warm leads to keep the list more manageable. After say, one month, if first-rights haven't been purchased, offer it to the remainder of the list as a reprint.

I am simply thinking aloud. Thoughts, comments and experiences?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Essays and Regional Publications

I love writing essays.

I enjoy writing for regional parenting publications.

I had never considered combining the two until a Mother's Day essay I had written was rejected by a national publication. Eager to get the essay placed before Mother's Day, I decided to try placing it with a regional publication. I truly had no idea what sort of market I would find, but I knew that Haircuts and Conniption Fits would have no chance at publication if I let it waste away on my hard drive.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the results and have, just this week, submitted a second essay to RPPs. I am excited that Sports Car Girl, Minivan Life has already found a home. 

If you are an essayist with a tendency to write about your adventures in parenting, I suggest you give RPPs a shot.

Happy writing...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Does Relaxation Equal Greater Comittment?

If you have been keeping up with me, you know that my family has moved. Yes, the build up was long and painful, but the hard part is over now. Still without a home, we feel confident that our material items were packed securely and we know that they have arrived in our new town. This is all a part of being a military family.

We made a trek across our beautiful country last week, enjoying many stops along the way. It was not the smoothest of travels as we had a full schedule and, on one day, a blown out tire--both of which led to several extremely late nights on the road. Our final destination was Florida for a much-needed week of relaxation and time NOT in the car.

I finally decided to stop trying to continue on with my writing while preparing for the move. It has been about a month now since I realized it would be healthier for me to take a long break. A hard decision since I felt my momentum was really beginning to build.

Luckily, I miss writing. I can't wait to get back to it and I have ideas floating around in my head just waiting to pop out onto the page. In fact, I think perhaps I needed a break. I have found new inspiration and new desire during my nomadic weeks. I didn't know if I would miss writing or not. I was afraid I might enjoy the vacation a little too much--like I did when I had an office job and I never wanted to return! But here I am, sitting in a rented vacation home in Florida getting anxious for my desk and a whole entire office in my new home dedicated to writing.

Summer is here. If you are feeling frustrated or or your idea tank is low, I encourage you to give yourself a break. Take some time for your family, for yourself. Take a vacation from work and see if you can return with a renewed sense of purpose and readiness!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Link to Interview With Author Stephanie Riseley

 I want to share an interesting interview with Stephanie Riseley, author of Love from Both Sides: A True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality. Here is the link:

Monday, June 1, 2009

On Vacation

I am moving and enjoying a relaxing vacation at the beach. I will resume my Thursday posts as quickly as possible. Happy summer to you all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Interview With Christina Katz

I am pleased to host author Christina Katz today as she answers questions about her book Get Known Before The Book Deal.

Q: What is a platform?

 CK: Long story short: Your platform communicates your expertise to others, and it works all the time so you don’t have to. Your platform includes your Web presence, any public speaking you do, the classes you teach, the media contacts you’ve established, the articles you’ve published, and any other means you currently have for making your name and your future books known to a viable readership. If others already recognize your expertise on a given topic or for a specific audience or both, then that is your platform.

A platform-strong writer is a writer with influence. Get Known explains in plain English, without buzzwords, how any writer can stand out from the crowd of other writers and get the book deal. The book clears an easy-to-follow path through a formerly confusing forest of ideas so any writer can do the necessary platform development they need to do.

 Q: Why is platform development important for writers today?

 CK: Learning about and working on a solid platform plan gives writers an edge. Agents and editors have known this for years and have been looking for platform-strong writers and getting them book deals. But from the writer’s point-of-view, there has not been enough information on platform development to help unprepared writers put their best platform forward.

Now suddenly, there is a flood of information on platform, not all necessarily comprehensive, useful or well organized for folks who don’t have a platform yet. Writers can promote themselves in a gradual, grounded manner without feeling like they are selling out. I do it, I teach other writers to do it, I write about it on an ongoing basis, and I encourage all writers to heed the trend. And hopefully, I communicate how in a practical, step-by-step manner that can serve any writer. Because ultimately, before you actively begin promoting yourself, platform development is an inside job requiring concentration, thoughtfulness and a consideration of personal values.

Q: How did you come to write Get Known Before the Book Deal?

CK: I already had a lot of momentum going when I got the deal for a very specific audience. I wrote a column on the topic for the Willamette Writer’s newsletter. Then I started speaking on platform. When I gave my presentation, “Get Known Before the Book Deal,” at the Writer’s Digest/BEA Writer’s Conference in May 2007, Phil Sexton, one of my publisher’s sales guys, saw it and suggested making the concept into a book. Coincidentally, I was trying to come up with an idea for my second book at that time and had just struck out with what I thought were my three best ideas. My editor, Jane Friedman agreed with Phil. That was two votes from people sitting on the pub board. They converted the others with the help of my proposal, and Get Known got the green light.

 Q: Why was a book on platform development needed?

 CK: Writers often underestimate how important platform is and they often don’t leverage the platform they already have enough. At every conference I presented, I took polls and found that about 50 percent of attendees expressed a desire for a clearer understanding of platform. Some were completely in the dark about it, even though they were attending a conference in hopes of landing a book deal. Since book deals are granted based largely on the impressiveness of a writer’s platform, I noticed a communication gap that needed to be addressed.

 My intention was that Get Known would be the book every writer would want to read before attending a writer’s conference, and that it would increase any writer’s chances of landing a book deal whether they pitched in-person or by query. As I wrote the book, I saw online how this type of information was being offered as “insider secrets” at outrageous prices. No one should have to pay thousands of dollars for the information they can find in my book for the price of a paperback! Seriously. You can even ask your library to order it and read it for free.

Q: What is the key idea behind Get Known Before the Book Deal?

CK: Getting known doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take an in-depth understanding of platform, and then the investment of time, skills and consistent effort to build one. Marketing experience and technological expertise are also not necessary. I show how to avoid the biggest time and money-waster, which is not understanding who your platform is for and why – and hopefully save writers from the confusion and inertia that can result from either information overload or not taking the big picture into account before they jump into writing for traditional publication.

Often writers with weak platforms are over-confident that they can impress agents and editors, while others with decent platforms are under-confident or aren’t stressing their platform-strength enough. Writers have to wear so many hats these days, we can use all the help we can get. Platform development is a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Anyone can do it, but most don’t or won’t because they either don’t understand what is being asked for, or they haven’t overcome their own resistance to the idea. Get Known offers a concrete plan that can help any writer make gains in the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive publishing landscape.

Q: What is the structure of the book and why did you choose it?

CK: Writer Mama was written in small, easy-to-digest chunks so busy new moms could stick it in a diaper bag and read it in the nooks and crannies of the day. Get Known is a bit more prosaic, especially in the early chapters. Most of the platform books already out there were only for authors, not writers or aspiring authors. To make platform evolution easy to comprehend, I had to dial the concepts back to the beginning and talk about what it’s like to try and find your place in the world as an author way before you’ve signed a contract, even before you’ve written a book proposal. No one had done that before in a book for writers. I felt writers needed a context in which to chart a course towards platform development that would not be completely overwhelming.

Introducing platform concepts to writers gives them the key information they need to succeed at pitching an agent either via query or in-person, making this a good book for a writer to read before writing a book proposal. Get Known has three sections: section one is mostly stories and cautionary tales, section two has a lot of to-do lists any writer should be able to use, and section three is how to articulate your platform clearly and concisely so you won’t waste a single minute wondering if you are on the right track.

Q: At the front of Get Known, you discuss four phases of the authoring process. What are they?

CK: First comes the platform development and building phase. Second comes the book proposal development phase (or if you are writing fiction, the book-writing phase). Third, comes the actual writing of the book (for fiction writers this is likely the re-writing of the book). And finally, once the book is published, comes the book marketing and promoting phase.

Many first-time authors scramble once they get a book deal if they haven’t done a thorough job on the platform development phase. Writers who already have a platform have influence with a fan base, and they can leverage that influence no matter what kind of book they write. Writing a book is a lot easier if you are not struggling to find readers for the book at the same time. Again, agents and editors have known this for a long time.

Q: What are some common platform mistakes writers make?

CK: Here are a few:

  • They don’t spend time clarifying who they are to others.
  • They don’t zoom in specifically on what they offer.
  • They confuse socializing with platform development.
  • They think about themselves too much and their audience not enough.
  • They don’t precisely articulate all they offer so others get it immediately.
  • They don’t create a plan before they jump online.
  • They undervalue the platform they already have.
  • They are overconfident and think they have a solid platform when they have only made a beginning.
  • They become exhausted from trying to figure out platform as they go.
  • They pay for “insider secrets” instead of trusting their own instincts.
  • They blog like crazy for six months and then look at their bank accounts and abandon the process as going nowhere.


I’ll stop there. Suffice it to say that many writers promise publishers they have the ability to make readers seek out and purchase their book. But when it comes time to demonstrate this ability, they can’t deliver.

My mission is to empower writers to be 100 percent responsible for their writing career success and stop looking to others to do their promotional work for them. Get Known shows writers of every stripe how to become the writer who can not only land a book deal, but also influence future readers to plunk down ten or twenty bucks to purchase their book. It all starts with a little preparation and planning. The rest unfolds from there.

Q: Couldn’t any author have written this book? Why you?

CK: I have built a career over the past decade empowering writers. I’ve developed and built my own platform as a writing-for-traditional-publication specialist, and I’ve worked with others as a writing and platform-development instructor. Many of the people I’ve been working with are landing book deals and while the other hundred-or-so writers I work with a year are developing their skills, I notice patterns of behavior—what leads to success, where writers get stuck, and how I can be helpful in these rapidly changing times in the industry.

I’ve witnessed too many writers, who were off to a great start, hopping online and quickly becoming very lost. I started to write about platform in Writer Mama, How To Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, but I quickly noticed that more details on platform development were desperately needed. My platform is based on helping others. I have a vested interest in seeing the people I work with—and those who read my book—succeed. Writers are my tribe.

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books). She started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on “Good Morning America.” Christina teaches e-courses on platform development and writing nonfiction for publication. Her students are published in national magazines and land agents and book deals. Christina has been encouraging reluctant platform builders via her e-zines for five years, has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. A popular speaker at writing conferences, writing programs, libraries, and bookstores, she hosts the Northwest Author Series in Wilsonville, Oregon. She is also the author of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (Writer’s Digest Books).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Differing Opinions About RPPs

In my readings about RPPs, I have noticed some differing opinions about the submission process. I have spent a great deal of time thinking through what I have read and I have a few things I'd like to say.

Some writers believe that it is in poor taste to send a single article to hundreds of regional publications in a single sitting. Is it? I don't truly know, but here are my thoughts. 

1--Reprint. The first sentence of my cover letter states that I am selling this article as a reprint. If it is a reprint, then an editor must assume it has been printed elsewhere and was not written specifically for their publication. They know immediately what I am up to--I am trying to sell my work in as many places as possible. There are no false pretenses what-so-ever.

2--Simultaneous submissions. How is emailing one piece to a group of editors any different than simultaneous submission? Granted, not all of the bigger publications "allow" simultaneous submissions, but many do. If a publication wants to use my work and requests regional exclusivity, then I either say, "Sorry, it's been published by your competitor," or I give them regional exclusivity.

3--Writing is a Business. Because writing is a craft, and often an extension of the author's own opinions or emotions, it is easy to forget that writing is also a business. I don't believe that there is anything wrong with making your work available to as many publications as possible. After all, isn't that why we create websites pitching our work and offering our "articles available for reprint?"

4--Instinct. A writer-friend of mind mentioned that she simultaneously submitted an article to RPPs this past week. She has had some interesting responses. One magazine told her straight up that they don't accept simultaneous submissions. So there you go. Next time, send that publication a query or remove it from your group of contacts. Don't offer them another reprint. My friend also felt strange not personalizing her submissions. The only advice I can give is to follow your instinct. Instinct is an overwhelming gift that we often don't use. I don't currently have a regional publication in my area that accepts the types of articles I write. I am moving and hope to work more closely with a regional magazine that has published my work in the past. Instinct tells me I am doing what is right for me now--writing, gathering clips and getting paid.

I have mulled over this "controversy" for a while now. What are your thoughts?

***Please join me on Tuesday when I host guest blogger Christina Katz.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Best wishes for a day that is just-your-way. 

Go Writer Mama's!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Motivate Me!

Sorry if you are expecting a regional post--I am following my muse and talking about something else today: motivation through goal-setting. I am going to share my motivating methods and then you tell me yours, OK? 

Big: I have issues finding time to pamper myself. I am, like you, so busy. When I am alone, I often choose to write, clean the house or run errands. I have realized that it is OK, even important, to pamper myself. I finished that column (early) that had been giving me fits. That earns me 30 minutes to buy and/or read a book (one of my most favorite things.) I submitted that essay--go take a long bath (another thing I love). I completed a telephone interview that had been making me nervous (whew), I give myself $3.46 for that Skinny SF Vanilla Late I so love at Starbucks. Knowing that I can reward myself when I complete a goal keeps me moving along. And it keeps me sane.

Bigger:  I have been a stay-home mom for a long time. For years, I chose to buy my everyday clothes at discount stores. That was great for then, but this is now. I am making (some) money again. I would like a new purse, some new shoes or an outfit for a special occaision. Or maybe my hair could use an update. When I make "X" number of dollars, I head out for some shopping or a pedicure. Anything to make me feel good about my appearance. Talk about motivation. I better submit because I can't "get" without those checks!

Biggest: I really, really, really, really, really want a big, fancy I-Mac with the TV-size screen. I am determined to make enough money writing to buy my own. I opened a checking account and all of my writing money goes in. I keep a running tally of how much I will need to pay for income tax and, otherwise, I try to watch that balance grow. I also use this account for upcoming classes and workshops that I want to take, as well as all of my office supplies. Having this account has motivated me to spend LESS money on "stuff" so that I can reward myself with items on my wish list. It has also helped me see (I am very visual) my income grow (or stagnate) and I am very motivated to add something to that account every single month.

Mother's Day is just around the corner. There is no better time than right now to appreciate yourself. Take a few minutes to set some writing goals and rewards that will allow you to take care of yourself as you take care of your career!

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finding An Expert

Guess what? You can find experts to interview, even if you've never published an article. Here's how I secured my very first interview (which led to an article I sold to RPPs multiple times).

1--Prepare the article and/or interview questions. I prefer to have an almost completed article sitting in front of me before I request an interview with an expert. Why? If the article is complete, I can choose my questions based on what I have already written. The answers complement my article and it doesn't take long to plug in the expert's responses. On the same note, I fully prepare my interview questions before I request an interview. If an expert is willing to answer my questions immediately, I better have those questions prepared!

2--Geography. I chose to attempt an interview with a psychologist in Georgia for my first RPP article. Why Georgia? I was in Georgia, visiting my parents, I am from Georgia and I knew that Georgia had at least 3 RPPs. It was just a comfortable place to begin. The second expert I interviewed was in Baltimore. Why? Because Baltimore's Child was the first RPP to publish my work and I hoped to continue working with them by acquiring an interview with a local source.

3--Find the expert. Instead of closing my eyes and pointing to a name in the phone book, I decided to look for professional associations that would include, as members, psychologist from Georgia. I found the Georgia Psychological Association online. 

4--Request the interview. Once I had my target association, I went to the "contact us" option on the website. In my subject line I put, "Interview Request." In the body of my email, I simply stated that I was working on an article, gave the article title, and said that it would be submitted to Atlanta Parent, as well as other regional publications. I indicated that I would need a psychologist that worked with pre- and post-partum clients so that his or her expertise would correlate with my subject matter. I had a favorable response within an hour. (I was so excited I could hardly respond to the email!).

5--Follow Through. As soon as I had a name and contact information for my expert, I ran with it. I emailed immediately (as it was to be an email interview). I again explained my purpose for the interview, thanked the expert for her time and posted the questions right then and there in the body of the email. I also gave her a deadline for her responses by saying, "I will need your responses by May, __, in order to meet my deadline. Yes, I did have a deadline--I set the deadline for myself in order to complete the article, submit and get busy on the next one.

6--Follow Up. My expert was a pleasure to work with and I let her know that. I sent her (and my contact at the Georgia Psychological Association who set up the interview) a hand-written thank you note right away. As soon as the article was in print, I sent a another brief note of thanks, my business card and a copy of the article with instructions about how to locate it online. I sent both of those contacts holiday cards as well. Do I want to work with them again--you bet. Do I hope they remember me--you bet.

7--How Many Sources? I have found that interviewing one source per article has worked well for me. I typically include some anecdotes from real people in the article, too. 

8--Identify the Source. If I am submitting an article to Kansas City Parent, but my source is from Atlanta, I simply omit the location of the source. Instead, I say Dr. Who is a pediatrician with over 20 years experience. 

There are so many smart, educated people who want to share their knowledge with others. Most of those people are working in fields where they are already striving to help people every day. If you present yourself with confidence and treat others with respect, I believe that you can land interviews with the experts of your choice. 

How do you find experts? I'd love to know!

Next Thursday I will write more about my experiences with RPPs, so come back for a visit! Until then, happy writing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Submitting To Regionals

As mentioned in my previous post, I enjoy writing for regionals.  Today I want to share how I submit my manuscripts.

Buy the List: I purchased Brette Sember's e-magazine, "Selling to the Regional Parenting Publication Market." Included with this e-zine is a comprehensive list of email addresses for editors of regional parenting publications (RPPs). Even if you don't purchase the e-book, I recommend the list. You can purchase updates to the list, which includes new markets, on a monthly basis from Brette's website.

Organize the List: My RPPs list is organized into chunks of 10 or 12 so that I don't get targeted as a spammer. Each time I work with an editor, I move him or her from my generic lists to a "warm leads" list. More about this in a minute.

Writer's Guidelines: I do not follow specific writer's guidelines for my initial manuscript. I simply keep my work right at 800 words and send it in the body of my email as a double-spaced document, alone with a standard cover letter. However, if I enjoy working with an editor (the clip is high quality, my check arrives when it is supposed it, and/or my ideas click with the editor's ideas), I move those editors into my warm lead group. Now I have a narrowed-down list of publications. I can begin to pay more attention to writer's guidelines and tailor my submissions for different publications. Just the same, I send that original manuscript to the big list.

Sources: I typically cite only one expert in my manuscripts. One source = one interview = less time. I have interviewed sources all over the country. If I work with a magazine in Texas on one article (but my source is from Atlanta), then I might try to find a source in Texas for my next article in hopes that that magazine will work with me again. I find my desired expert and request the interview, explaining that I will be offering the finished product to multiple regional parenting publications. I mention that I have had success with this in the past and I refer them to my blog. On a few occasions, I have not received responses for interview requests (email), but I have been granted interviews far more frequently than I have been ignored.

Sell as a Reprint: A few times, I sent my original manuscript to one RPP at a time and asked if they would like first rights. I don't bother anymore. If I want to sell first rights, I will simply query a national publication. My experience is that most RPPs want good work (obviously), but simply don't have the budget to pay first rights for an unsolicited manuscript.

There is an exception to every rule and I am telling you what works for me.

I would love to hear about your experiences with RPPs and I invite you to join me next Thursday as I discuss ways that I have found experts and how I go about the interview process.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Advice From Cup Of Comfort Editor...

I enjoyed reading this and thought it was a good reminder for any type of submission.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writing For Regionals

Thanks to my online writer's group for inspiring today's post!

I enjoy writing articles for regional parenting publications (RPPs). I have found what I consider to be a great deal of success in this endeavor, especially for a new writer. True, the pay is not as "good" as a national publication, nor do I receive much notoriety from friends--in fact, most people don't realize how many articles of this sort I have managed to place since June of 2008, but the clips and the cash eventually begin to add up.

Here are reasons I write for RPPs.

1-- I am a mom first. I still have a child at home five out of seven days a week. Writing for RPPs allows me to go at my own pace. The only deadlines are the ones I impose upon myself.

2--I choose the topic and the experts. Have my topics always been a hit? NO. Have I always secured the interview I wanted? NO. However, I have sold at least one copy of every single article I have ever submitted. Better yet (maybe) is that I have learned what works and what doesn't work.

3--Less stress. I send RPPs the entire manuscript. Either the editor likes/needs my work, or she doesn't. I have had great success selling articles months after submitting them. I believe that regional editors keep well-written articles on file & access that file on a regular basis.

4--Help an editor, help myself. When I started submitting articles to RPPs, not one single editor knew anything about me. Providing the entire manuscript allowed the editor to know if my work fit their publication. Better yet, they knew the article was complete before their deadline. My favorite part of working this way is--when I hit send, my work on that article is done. The opposite is true with querying--when you send a query, the work is just beginning.

I frequently get caught up in wanting and needing to make big bucks and feeling validation by publication in a national magazine. This desire was only fueled by my essay in Southern Living.

However, RPPs are a great place for me right now. It is steady and comfortable AND I firmly believe that I would not call myself a freelance writer today if I hadn't found the opportunity to write for regional publications. 

Join me next time when I talk more about HOW I submit to regionals!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Epiphany: an intuitive discovery or realization (thanks, Webster's)

I love epiphanies. I had one today.

I write a monthly column about a topic that is very far removed from my life right now. I hang on to the column for many reasons 1--one clip a month, 2--working with an editor, 3--working on my craft, 4--income. However, I struggle. I struggle with making the column exciting, I struggle because I know I could do better, and I struggle because I know my peers are reading that very column every month. 

In comes my epiphany.

My focus has been entirely too narrow. I have taken a few key words and zoomed in on them like a bull's eye on a target. I have not allowed myself to create because I am too worried about being creative.

I am about to write my best column for this magazine yet. 

Do you focus too closely on key words? Do you allow your view to become so narrow that you don't see the big picture? If so, I hope your epiphany is on its way! 

Better yet, how do you AVOID getting too focused on a certain word or key words? How do you bring the "big picture" into your writing?

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Totally Forgot...

Remember that website I started building? I totally forgot about it. 

It's OK, I hope you will have a good chuckle at my expense.

I have the home page ready to go. I am working on the second page, but I am finding it very tedious. It is where I am listing my published work. Since the website is new, I am having to go back through records to get my ducks in a row. Plus, I am winging the format. So what basically happens is...I fall asleep.

Ah, I dream of a time when I can just pay the $50 a month to let someone else take control of my website. Oh, and I also dream of the day when I am busy enough (writing, not doing laundry) that I have enough information to NEED someone to make monthly updates.

It's the simple pleasures of a good daydream that keep me going...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Thanks to all of you who participated in Day 27 of Christina's blog tour. I hope you will come back and visit Emerging Author often.

The winner of the signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama is: 

            Kristine Meldrum Denholm

Congratulations and enjoy the book Kristine!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seven Hundred Fifty

I was wide awake Thursday morning (oh, around 3). Besides enjoying the snow that had fallen since I went to bed, I kept seeing this number rolling through my head, "750." 


A writer-friend submitted an essay to Brain, Child. She got a very thoughtful, but negative response. The editor told her that for every SEVEN essays they publish, they receive/have to reject SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY.

Again, WOW.

That really put "things" in perspective for me. 

1--Rejections don't always mean bad writing and certainly aren't a personal affront.
2--Someone else simply hit the nail on the head and I did not.
3--All that stuff Christina and Abby have tried to hammer in my head about targeting your market must be so true!

I hope the number dancing in my head will go to sleep now that I have written about it. But I know it will never be totally dormant. Each time I write a query or an essay, it will wake up and remind me that I have to consider all aspects of my chosen market. Even more so than I have in the past.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Celebrating the Writer Mama Anniversary Tour with Guest Blogger Christina Katz

Every so often you meet a person who is truly dedicated to helping others succeed. I believe that Christina Katz is one of those people. The author of two books, Writer Mama and Get Known Before The Book Deal, Christina has helped many, many writers achieve success.

What I have learned from Christina has truly changed my life. One year ago, I thought my career options were limited. Now, my options are limitless. I am developing a writing career that I am proud of, while spending time with the children I love. The book that started it all for me, Writer Mama, is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month. Leave a comment after this post, and you could receive a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama.

Thanks for stopping by my blog on your whirlwind tour, Christina! 

Post #27: The Author Questionnaire

At some point during the print prep process, you will likely be asked to fill out an author’s questionnaire if you have not done so already. This is a great opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current platform and address where you might strengthen your platform to increase your book’s chances for a successful launch.

Here’s the kind of information you’ll be asked for in an author questionnaire:

Your complete contact information

Your college affiliations

Your alumni publication contact info

Magazines and newspapers you have contributed to

Local newspapers

Your agent’s contact info

A list of organizations of which you are a member

Any honors or awards you have received

A list of periodicals and/or reviewers not already listed

A list of local radio/news stations

A list of folks who might blurb or review your book

A short description of your book that emphasizes its selling points

Be sure to ask for your author questionnaire after you have submitted your book, if you’ve not received it already. You’ll want to give your publisher as much time as possible to contact your list. But never presume that your publisher is going to contact everyone on your list. Generally speaking, publishers focus their promotional efforts on a small selection of frontlist titles. So consider yourself the primary, full-time publicist and booking agent for your book and your book launch events.

Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog's comments:

How will you feel about filling out an author questionnaire to support your book launch? Will you have a lot of contacts to add to the list, or will you wish that you'd done more networking and staying in touch with others?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ebb and Flow

As I begin this post, I am chuckling to myself. What I have to say today is somehow tied to my earlier post "Balancing Act."

Today, I feel calm. I feel like my writing is taking on a natural ebb and flow. My goals and responsibilities are achievable if I refuse to allow stress to overtake me. I can play with my kids, write a spur-of-the-moment essay (and submit it), turn in my monthly Military Spouse column (before the deadline), complete my assignments in writing class and do the laundry. Heck, I've even watched Twilight twice this week.

I firmly believe that, when we are where we are supposed to be, that there truly is a natural ability to achieve. I am not suggesting that we can sit on our bums watching soaps all day, waiting for inspiration to join us on the couch. I am suggesting that we really can achieve a balance in our lives if we don't fight against the natural rhythms of our current situation.

I like feeling this way. I will revisit this post when I get harried and bogged down with life's demands.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Did I really do this?

I did.

Today I purchased my domain name and have begun the process of creating a website. I feel so grown-up!

Why did I make this (to me) leap? Because I am missing out on some serious self-promotion opportunities. Every time I send an editor a bio, I cringe because I have no website tagged to the end. I know, I could put my blog address, but that just didn't seem right to me. For me, it wasn't exactly what I wanted to project to my readers or possible employers.

Backup--did I say self promotion? Yes indeed, I did. Let me explain something that I have learned in this business--this is a big one. If I don't put myself out there, I won't be "out there." I don't magically pop into editor's heads for a great writing assignment, I don't mystically get selected for a blog tour and I don't mysteriously become a reputable writer if I sit in my office closet all day just waiting. I have to make the first move.

My career as a freelance writer only started thirteen months ago. Since then, I have said at least 100 times, "I was just in the right place at the right time." That is not true. The truth is, I put myself in the right place at the right time.

So I am building a website. It might look hokey for a few months while I get the hang of things. It will probably drop off of my radar for a while as life temporarily takes over career aspirations for a while. But I will have a web presence, my published clips will (eventually) be available on my website and I will be putting myself out there.

A website is the right step for me right now.

I firmly believe that, for each of us, regardless of our career status, NOW is the time to make our presence known.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Balancing Act

Monday I cleaned out closets and worked in my garage. We are preparing for a move.

Tuesday I spent the entire day working on an assignment for Pitching Practice with Christina Katz. In between driving the carpool and attending a meeting, of course.

Wednesday was all about my children.

Thursday I am back in the office.

Friday I have a string of commitments beginning with a doctors appointment at 7:30am and ending with a movie night for my kids and two friends at 9pm.

Next week is Spring Break.

How do we busy moms balance it all? Sometimes, I feel like I don't! Working from home is a blessing and a curse all at once. On Tuesday and Thursday my writer-self either cleans frantically before the girls leave for school or runs from the door to my office, ignoring breakfast dishes on the table, unmade beds and piles of laundry.

Sure, no boss is breathing down my back. But, no boss is breathing down my back. My workload is up to me. It is my responsibility to set and achieve goals. I must be accountable for my career.

And I love it! Being responsible, both for successes and failures, is one of the best parts of this job. I am absolutely free to do what I want and to do it to the best of my ability. And next week, when Spring Break cuts my writing time severely, I won't have to "ask" for time off to take my kids to the zoo.

Kudos to each of you who are tackling the balancing act. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Blogging is overwhelming. I am not overwhelmed by keeping up my own seems I always have something to say!

I am overwhelmed by all of the blogs available for reading. How do I choose which ones to read? I could use all of my writing time reading other people's blogs. I would learn a lot, but I wouldn't get much done.

So how do you choose which writing-related blogs to read, how much time to spend on blogs and blogging? Do you set aside a certain amount of time each day? Do you choose one or two blogs per day to read, risking the chance of getting behind on the others?

Perhaps most overwhelming of all is my realization at just how much competition is out there. Everyone seems to have something to say!

Thoughts to ponder...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Take My Advice...

Writing is a great way to learn, and that is one of my favorite outcomes of article writing.

I just completed writing an article that outlines ways to spend quality time with your children. As I interviewed my specialist and began writing the article, I felt more and more guilty. Do I spend enough time with my daughters? Well, of course I am with them a lot of the time, but do I actually take advantage of the time we have together?

No, I do not.

I learned that I need to re-prioritize.

Meals must be cooked, laundry must be folded and yes, sometimes I just need a break. I have realized that those things would happen more quickly if I would first carve out some time with my kids to play and enjoy their imaginative minds.

I am going to make a new commitment to myself and my children. I am going to read my own article and then do what it says!

I wonder what I will learn from my next article...

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Momentum is like a snowball--just as likely to melt as it is to build speed!

My momentum has had a meltdown of sorts. Who knew that February would be such a busy month? A week-long vacation and a visit from family and Poof--February is suddenly March. Wow.

But, much to my own surprise, I have managed to complete my monthly goals. In all honesty, I will probably complete February's final goal during the first week of March--but I can live with that.

Just like I seem to be living with writing. It is becoming a natural part of my day, my week and my month. It seems natural to clear my desk, jot down my list of goals and go to bed knowing that the next day will be productive. I am pleased with my progress, which helps my momentum, thus increasing my production!

We should never underestimate the value of clearly defined goals.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Double Whammy!

Today I received two rejection letters.

Of course I was disappointed, but I feel really good, too.

One year ago, I had no idea I could be a freelance writer. One year ago, I had never heard of Writer Mama, I had no idea that I could write and submit articles to regional publications, and I didn't even know Military Spouse Magazine even existed.

I have had articles published in over 10 regional publications and have had an essay picked up by a national magazine. I write a monthly column for an international magazine. I have come so far, how can I be discouraged? Receiving rejections means that I am persevering, learning and trying. And for goodness sake, I only work about 12 hours a week!

It is so hard to be rejected. It is so good to be writing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I HATE Interviews. I LOVE interviews.

I hate talking on the phone. It is a battle for me to pick up the phone & call a hotel to make a reservation.

Why? I DON"T KNOW! My hands get sweaty, I trip over my words.

So lets imagine how it is for me to schedule an interview and then have to conduct it. I get so nervous before hand that I could throw up. I hate the way my voice sounds on tape and I think it about it the entire time. I shake like a leaf just trying to dial the number.

Then I get started talking to the person I am interviewing. I learn so much. Sure, I am able to write an article much easier after speaking with an expert, but it is also a real time of growth for me.

Today I talked with Andi Grant, founder of Give2TheTroops. What an amazing person. She works full time and dedicates an unthinkable number of hours to her her organization each week. Talk about changing lives and being a motivational figure. Wow!

Find out how you can help Andi and thousands of other volunteers support our troops by visiting the website

I wish I could hang on to this euphoric feeling for my next interview...but I know that it will be more sweaty palms and shaky hands...