Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Blog is Moving Home


I’m moving WriteSuccess again. This time, I’m moving it home—to the home URL, that is, .

For the better part of the last nine years, I’ve published WriteSuccess as an e-zine. That format suited me, as well as a core following of readers, just fine for the longest time.

But I’ve found lately that the amount of time it takes to put each issue together, even an imperfect issue, versus the percentage of people who actually open it when it lands in their inboxes, hasn’t felt productive for me. Moreover, I noticed that even my own online reading habits have changed—I am now much more likely to crack open e-mails that I know will be quick reads than those that are jam-packed with articles, links and other information. And when I have a few minutes, I’m more likely to check for personal and professional updates on Facebook and Twitter than log into my e-mail inbox. It’s just the age we live in.

As the popularity of social networking sites like the ones I mentioned above has exploded, and as blogs have become the main article publishing format for millions of people, I knew that I needed to reformat WriteSuccess if I wanted to continue to connect with writers online and keep delivering links, information, resources and inspirational pep talks as I’ve done for nearly a decade.

In short, it was time for WriteSuccess to go Web 2.0.

So from now on, you’ll find us in our new blog format, at our same old URL. Over time, I will stop sending WriteSuccess via e-mail completely, and communicate solely to those who sign up for the blog feed, or to those who stumble across the site via my referrals from Twitter or through their own searches for writing information. I urge those of you who continue to want to be notified of WriteSuccess updates via e-mail to unsubscribe from this newsletter and subscribe to the feed at the sign up box on the home page at .

I will post more frequent but generally much shorter updates on the WriteSuccess blog containing links to useful sites, resources and articles, interspersed with articles of my own, than I did when I published in e-zine form. My aim is to make WriteSuccess a more valuable source than ever of information for writers who are trying to build successful writing careers.

I also plan to continue to publish your WriteSuccess Stories—announcements about books or articles you’ve written, writing jobs you’ve landed, and/or writing contests you’ve won—so make sure to keep those coming.

As always, I will welcome your comments and feedback. In fact, my hope is that this blog format will make doing that even easier for you.

Here’s to your writing success.

Mary Anne

P.S. I also invite everyone to follow me on Twitter, where I send out links to writing jobs, writing contests and writing articles nearly every day. To follow, go to , or narrow your search to my posts only by entering "WriteSuccess" on .

Friday, August 14, 2009

Let Your Writing Light Shine

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

--Marianne Williamson

I generally opt for pithier quotes than the one I selected above, but as I skimmed through Web pages of inspirational words, this one stopped me dead in my tracks. I thought about editing it a bit, you know, making it a little shorter...but to me, every word of it counts.

If you skimmed past it, I ask that you go back and read it. If you read it quickly, I urge you to take it in a second time more slowly. And if you're already familiar with the quote, I encourage you to take it to heart, perhaps even memorize it.

What is it about these words from Ms. Williamson that strike such a chord in me? From a personal standpoint, I often find myself "playing small," justifying the mundane actions that I prioritize as necessary, while postponing the ones that just might make a huge difference in my life or in the lives of others. I don't tackle the great novel because what if I never finish it? I put off working on ideas I have to help certain kinds of writers find lucrative work because what if it fails? Or worse yet, what if it takes off and I don't have the energy or ability to keep it going effectively?

These self-doubts plague many of us on different levels. We writers, who so often bare our souls and expose our vulnerabilities, may wrestle with them even more than other people. When I journal about mine, I generally think that they stem from feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure. Or I sometimes wonder, who am I to pursue a greater destiny than the one I am currently living?

What captivates me about Mandela's words is the challenge that they present to all of us to be our best selves and give our lives and work our best efforts. He syas in effect, "I dare you to step into your greatness. In fact, you not only do yourself a disservice by 'playing small,' you are letting down every single person who needs you."

All I can say to that is, "Wow." Because here's the thing--people need us writers for so many things. They need us to keep them informed, make them laugh, motivate them to make a change, guide them in learning a new process, entertain them, get their messages across, promote their products and services, influence others to take some action, or tell their stories for them. Rich and famous people need us, companies of all sizes need us, our readers need us. Ours is a marvelous, important profession. We must never think of it as being otherwise, or belittle our calling by placing it behind all other things on our "to do" lists.

For whatever reason, we've been called to be writers. Let's not "play small" --let your writing light shine.

Here's to your writing success.

Mary Anne

P.S. If you don't already do so, come follow me on Twitter! I send out links to writing jobs, writing contests and writing articles nearly every day. To follow, go to , or narrow your search to my posts only by entering "WriteSuccess" on .

Friday, July 31, 2009

What Makes a Freelance Writer a Freelance Writer?

Earlier today I read this blog post at Ghostwriting-The Hidden Writer, which posed questions we should ask ourselves in order to determine whether or not we are truly freelance writers. The test questions were split into two categories--the first five we were meant to say "yes" to and the second five we were meant to say "no" to if we really, really, truly consider oursleves to be freelance writers.

The "yes" questions spoke to what some might consider our higher selves--do we write because we're passionate about it? Because we can't see ourselves doing anything else? The basic gist of the "no" questions fell under the apparently less aesthetic motive of "are you doing this for the money?" category.

My immediate reaction, and eventual comment on the blog itself was, does being a freelancer have to be an either-or thing? Can't we love it and still want to write for a living? And can't we loathe coming to our keyboards on some days, but make ourselves get to work because we need to if we want to pay our bills?

I think Amanda's point was that she does not consider those "writers" who swarm on the job bid sites to make a dollar an article to be truly freelance writers. But aren't they? They are writing, albeit not up to any standard that I would consider professional, and they are getting paid for it, sort of. Is the writer who has never published a word somehow a writing saint, while these writing, um, bottom feeders are the sinners?

Frankly, whether we write chick lit, fillers, blog posts, brochures or true literary masterpieces--or boilerplate articles--I think we all fall under the freelance writer umbrella. We are simply appealing to different markets and audiences. As for me, I continue to lean towards continuing to call those writers who want to or already do make a real living through writing as "writerpreneurs."


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wow, Where Did July Go?

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted a blog entry--and most professional bloggers recommend posting two to three times a week! If I hadn't come here to check just now, I would have let the entire month of July go by without posting. Where did the last four weeks go?

I'll be better about maintaining this blog going forward. Not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. This blog is an important part of my communication strategy for some exciting things I have in the works for writers, and I need WriteSuccess followers to keep coming here now and then. I may eventually move it from this free platform and put it right onto the main WriteSuccess site, but for now it's here, so here is where I need to come on a much more regular basis. After all, I don't need to write an epic each time I post an entry; I just need to post some thoughts and news that might be of interest to you.

My apologies for being so lax about this. I really am working on some exciting stuff that will help some of you develop profitable and successful writing careers. So you are in my thoughts more than you know.

In the meantime, I urge you to follow me on Twitter at , where I post links, jobs and quotes for writers pretty much every day. To narrow down your search to my posts, just type the word WriteSuccess in the new search box on the home page.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are You a Writerpreneur?

Writerpreneur (n) - One who writes for a living; a writer who considers writing to be a profession or business, and constantly seeks new ways to earn money as a writer.

No, I didn't coin this term, unfortunately. From what I can tell via Google, Gregory A. Kompes came up with it to describe his writing life. I took to the word immediately, and decided to formally define it. I think it embodies what a lot of us dream of being or already are. At least it does for me.

By the time I graduated from high school, I already knew I wanted to be a writerpreneur (or, as I stated in my yearbook, a "professional freelance writer"). But coming from a working class family and neighborhood of mostly blue collar fathers and stay at home mothers, I hadn't the foggiest idea how to treat writing as a business, and instead clung to the safe route of "real jobs," dabbling with writing on the side. While I am still employed full-time, I can at least now say that I do enough writing to consider it a steady part-time job, and still plan for the day when I can write, and support myself by doing so, full-time.

Not all writers are writerpreneurs. Some write solely for the joy of it, or for self-discovery, or for creative release, and there's nothing wrong with that. My guess is, some of the world's best writing never gets read by anyone but the author. And not all writerpreneurs are good writers; I see examples of that nearly every day. What binds writerpreneurs, however, is the drive to make writing a career, not a hobby.

Writepreneurs come in many varieties. Some, like Bob Bly and Peter Bowerman, freelance as copywriters. Stephen King, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton and many others make a more than comfortable living writing fiction. But these represent only well-known writerpreneurs; many, many people you may never hear of do ghost writing, copywriting, article writing, songwriting, speech writing, and supply an endless stream of scripts, screenplays, greeting card verses and Web copy. Others run their writing businesses based on information products, ebooks, or by developing niche Web sites.

True, the internet has proven to be both a blessing and a curse for writers. Too many sites look for free content. Too many internet marketers look for cheap writing labor. And too many people are willing to take these cheap or free assignments.

On the other hand, the industrious writerpreneur can use the internet as part of a profitable marketing, networking and job search strategy. Never before has it been so easy for a writer in New York to do work for a client in California, or for writers in Australia and the UK to submit articles to American and Canadian markets. Never before has it been possible for good writers to make commission by promoting the products of others as affiliates, or by blogging, or by teaching online courses.

For the resourceful entrepreneur, opportunities abound. It takes effort and persistence, just as getting published always has, but I firmly believe that making a good living as a writer has never been more doable. In fact, a lot of writers already do so.

Here's to your writing success.

Mary Anne

P.S. If you don't already do so, come follow me on Twitter! I send out links to writing jobs, writing contests and writing articles nearly every day. To follow, go to , or narrow your search to my posts only by entering "WriteSuccess" on .