Saturday, February 28, 2009

10 Easy Things You Can Do to Really Boost Your Writing Career

1) Yank the phrase "writer's block" out of your usual patter. Forever!

2)Make a cold call to an editor. Ask him/her for advice on how to improve your writing career. I know it's tough--believe me, no one likes to do it--but what do you have to lose?

3) Start paying attention. Search on Google for the comings and goings of editors at major publishing houses and publications. In other words, get up to your neck in the business!

4) Friend an editor or literary agent on Facebook. Just see what happens. You might make an important contact.

5) Read Stephen King on Writing. Not only is it a great read, but it contains some of the best advice you'll ever find on the craft of writing.

6) Hit the magazine racks. Pick out five magazines you'd like to write for, then write to the editors of those publications telling them you'd love to work for their magazine.

7) Instead of Tweeting your life away, spend a mere half-hour trying to write something good that day. Stop being lazy!

8) If you don't have a blog, start one. It's a free lottery ticket to that all-important thing we call Platform. Get some Platform, my friend, and you're on publishing's easy street.

9) Don't hate yourself all the time for procrastinating. It can just be a natural part of the creative process. While working on stories sometimes, I curl into a fetal position. So, what?

10) Enjoy rejection. That's right. Look forward to it. Smile right in the face of it. Think like a door-to-door salesman. The mindset: Every time a door is slammed in your face simply means you're closer to a sale!

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Anonymous said...

Hello Mike,
You say to call an editor, but I am always hearing that editors are busy people. Sometimes it is difficult for me to come up with ideas. Should I just call an editor and ask her what she is looking for?

Unknown said...


Freelance writing is an "idea business." You should always have ideas by the truckload. If not, thinktank with fellow writers or friends.

Good luck,


Miragi said...

Amen to "On Writing". Excellent advice all through that book!

As for writing 5 mag. you send writing samples? Is there something that can be done that would make the letter stand out from the crowd?

Thanks for the great ideas!


Anonymous said...

These are great ideas. I'm looking forward to trying them out!

Dawn said...

Having been a busy editor for several years, I'd advise against cold calling an editor you don't know and "asking for advice."

Phone them with a pitch, sure, OR build a relationship with an editor and THEN ask them a *specific* question about becoming more successful. Editors are not free consultation services. Don't waste their time.

I think other successful freelance writers would be more open to a cold call from an aspiring writer than an editor would be.

just my 2 cents. maybe it's worked for someone?

Anonymous said...

Enjoying rejection is hard, but over time, I have developed an attitude of "onward & upward" when I get a rejection. I look for specific advice. If there is some, I see how it applies to what I submitted. Regardless, I get the article/query back out as soon as possible.

As for procrastination, sometimes I think what we call procrastination is actually a simmering stage for the ideas/articles. A chicken isn't hatched full-grown, why would/how could it be any different for our ideas?