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Six Lessons From 2011

27 Jul

HERE IS AN OLD BLOG THAT I WROTE AT THE END OF LAST YEAR FOR ALL YOU FELLOW BLOGGERS OUT THERE:

 

I have been writing from home for a year and a half. In that year and a half journey, I have been laid off from two content mill companies, I have worked for mere pennies and I have gained a small handful of word-of-mouth clientele. Along the way, I have learned some things from my mistakes and I am going into 2012 armed with new knowledge and new strategies built around the hard-learned lessons.

1. Read other blogs. Reading other blogs, especially successful blogs, has helped to keep my blogs fresh. I gain an understanding of what my fellow bloggers are up to, and I glean ideas from them. Of course, I never copy their ideas, but I now understand that writing a successful blog involves putting the best of yourself into every blog post. I was neglecting things such as grammar to present a more friendly, conversational blog. I now know this was a mistake.

2. Review your work. I am redoing my older blogs to make them less conversational and directed more toward an audience seeking information. I will also review my older works of fiction and non-fiction. There may be something in my saved work which can be reworked, resold, or just made better and sold as original in 2012. I don’t have to worry about repeat publications because none of my fiction has been published to date. If you’re a writer, you understand that your work is never finished. I will never finish anything then put it down, assuming that it will never need changing. I will be in a constant state of edits.

3. Keep up with your popular blogs. I’m writing a blog on NBC’s “Grimm,” and I’m terrible with its upkeep. This is a giant mistake because it is my most popular blog. Ideally, I should be blogging about the show immediately after it airs. Realistically, it airs on Friday night, and by Friday, this mommy is so worn out that I tape it then review it over the weekend.

4. Don’t blog constantly. I used to believe that I had to blog every day. What was I thinking??? After reading many other blogs, I realized even the most popular blogs aren’t updated every day, or even every week! Life happens, and if you are trying to be a successful writer, blogging will take up time better used for writing stories, articles, or marketing your business.

5. Find a niche with patience. I have read a great deal of advice on freelance writing, and all of it has told me to find a niche. For a full year, I was completely beside myself because I had no niche of which to speak. Was I failing as a writer because I could not comply to this great piece of advice? No. I just had to be patient. I started a few blogs in search of the illusive niche, I tried a few different writing styles, and I finally settled on my own personal niche. It took a year. Don’t be discouraged if you have no niche; spend time finding it but rest assured that it is coming.

6. Hang up the Martha Stewart apron. My house is a mess. I need to drop one or more of my volunteer activities. I took on too much when I was laid off because I got bored. I need to backpedal, tell my Martha Stewart instincts to go to bed, and concentrate on my writing. Playing Mom and spearheading one too many volunteer opportunities have greatly affected the time I should be spending writing. As a mom, there are already many things interfering with my writing time. I should have never taken on more to cut into the time I need to write.

So, my goals for 2012 are to find a way to back out of the volunteer organizations which have my involvement, write more manuscripts for magazine submissions, and market my business in more than just one or two local markets. I will improve the “Grimm” posts and I will concentrate more on my niche. I will finish the projects I started in 2011, but since they are geared toward the wrong niche, they will be the last projects I complete outside of my own personal comfort zone. What goals do you have for 2012 for your writing and family obligations?

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