Holiday Writers Challenge

It’s time for the Great Holiday Word Count Challenge! Whether you’re wearing out your fingers trying to get NaNoRiMo done or you’re shopping a book-length project, don’t forget about the little jobs. They’ll keep you producing word count through the next hectic weeks.
Also, check out my new page called Book Review. First up, my review of Kay Marshall Strom’s Book 2 in Grace in Africa series: The Voyage of Promise (Abingdon Press, 2010).
Writing Tips for Today: Writing and marketing “shorts,” fillers, essays or articles can be a great way to build your writing resume, platform and experience. As you work toward the goal of a published book (or as in my case, another published book), supplement your time and income by creating copy for a variety of publications. Sometimes you can make more money with a 25-50 word helpful hint than for a longer work. And the ones which don’t pay still provide clips and look good on your resume. Here are some ideas, both paying and nonpaying, to get you started:

  • Do guest posting for blogs. Ask other writers or friends in your genre to swap posts, or branch out and find blogs that are about some topic in your novel. Also, Kathy Stucker has created a clearinghouse to advertise for guest slots and subjects on all types of different blogs. Blogger Link-up can be found here.
  • Write fillers, anecdotes, helpful hints, puzzles or jokes. Most run from 25 words to around 150 words. Get a good market guide, such as Sally Stuart’s Christian Market Guide or the general Writer’s Market. Find current markets for magazines or newspapers that take these short items. Adhere to the guidelines and start with denominational, niche-audience or regional magazines–big generalized pubs such as Reader’s Digest are in decline these days.
  • Break out the sunglasses and write spring or summer-themed essays or articles. Just as writers must produce Christmas stuff in July, you should be thinking about spring/summer in advance. Many publications have a 3-6 month lead time.
  • Devotions are another way of breaking into print. Follow guidelines for each company and denomination. Some will allow you to write samples that won’t be printed but serve as an audition. If they like your work you may get an assignment.
  • When trying to break into consumer magazines, targeting one of the regular “department” columns or features is often the best way to begin.
  • Write for anthology calls for submission.
  • If you’ve got holidays on the brain, go ahead and write your ideas. Sit on these items until next summer when you can market them.

Try This! Take a look at your novel-in-progress. Identify three subjects/topics in your book that you could translate into an article, helpful hint or anecdote. Tying your novel’s themes and topics to actual issues, places or people can help you build that platform later on.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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