Debby Giusti here.
We’re three weeks into the new year, and if you’re like most people, you’ve already discarded many of the resolutions that seemed so doable on New Year’s Eve. May I offer a suggestion that could provide an easy and workable goal for 2015? Consider adding a few short-term projects to your writing schedule.
We know too well that writing and revising a full-length manuscript takes time and effort. When the manuscript fails to come together, we get discourage and our enthusiasm wanes. Taking on a short-term project can stimulate our Muse and provide a refreshing change of pace that brings satisfaction upon the completion of the task. Spurred on by our success, we can return to the larger project renewed and ready to work.
Some years ago, I posted a blog about freelance writing for magazines called, "How to Get Your Name in Print Before Your Book Sells." (Click here to read the post.) Prior to publication I wrote for a number of magazines,which is covered in that early blog. Seeing my name in print, having a byline and accruing credits for my cover letters was a productive use of my time.
|The first piece I ever published was a filler|
about being an Army brat for Army Magazine.
Is your church involved in outreach that would be of interest to your community? Is your child’s sports team or scout group working on a neighborhood betterment project? Consider writing a news release for your local rag. Adding a photo with caption can catch the eye of a newspaper editor looking for stories. The human interest angle will not only acknowledge the good work being done in your local area, but will also get your name in print, which is always a reason to celebrate.
Short write-ups usually provide more personal satisfaction than monetary reward, but starting small can eventually lead to a paying assignment. While working in the clinical laboratory prior to publication, I mailed a short article about how my lab was celebrating National Laboratory Week to a trade magazine for medical technologists. That news release caught the eye of the editor of ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory, a slick publication with a great distribution.
|The short news release that caught the attention of the|
ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory editor.
|My cover article "Atlanta Labs Go For the Glory" about|
how Atlanta hospitals were preparing for
the Summer Olympics and the huge influx of
tourists who could bring new diseases to our country.
|Sisterhood has been featured in|
military publications for over 40 years.
|The Writer's Prayer|
Some years ago the Lord opened my heart to an elderly woman who lived alone in Florida and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her daughter was a friend of mine and a strong Christian, but my friend's mother had closed God out of her life. I had only met the mom once, but I knew she could use a pen pal so I wrote her weekly. With each note, I added a few lines about God’s love and that he was walking with her though her battle with cancer. Before she died, the elderly woman accepted the Lord back into her life. My notes weren't the reason she placed her faith in God again, but they may have encouraged her, in some small way, to crack open a door she had closed long ago.
|Hand-written notes can uplift and encourage.|
Writing an outline for a speech even before we’ve been asked to give a presentation is another good exercise. I have two basic forms that include turning points in my own life. One focuses on my spiritual journey, which I use for church retreats or when speaking to religious groups. The other is for a more secular audience and highlights my road to publication and beyond. Having talking points from which I can pick and choose speeds the process when I’m working on a new presentation. An added plus is that when we look back on our lives, often we can more clearly see the way God has directed our steps. Hindsight offers a good perspective from which to evaluate our progress and growth both spiritually and professionally.
Writing short provides a refreshing break when we’re stalled on a larger project. Seeing our name in print, knowing we’ve reached out to someone in need, or merely completing a project in a limited amount of time can get us back on track and eager to return to our manuscripts. Don’t let your writing life become stagnant. Mix it up at times by remembering that writing less is sometimes more.
Share the ways you write short and any success you’ve had with small writing projects. Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for an advanced copy of my March Love Inspired Suspense, STRANDED. I'll also give away five copies of The Writer's Prayer. Let me know if you'd like to be in that drawing as well.
The coffee’s hot. Tea is available, and the breakfast bar is stocked with pastries, bagels and muffins. Now, let’s chat about the writing we do outside of our fiction, when sometimes less is more.
BY DEBBY GIUSTI
AMISH COUNTRY REFUGE
Colleen Brennan has one goal—take down her sister’s killer. But chasing after evidence leaves her in the path of a tornado and stranded in an Amish community. With the killer nearby, Colleen must depend on the kindness of Special Agent Frank Gallagher. Although the army officer is recuperating from a battlefield injury, he wants to help the beautiful woman he rescued from the tornado’s fury. He can tell she’s hiding something important. But getting her to reveal her secrets may be his most dangerous mission ever.
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