Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, June 30, 2014

What Writers Can Learn from Successful Corporate Types

The results are in on my inexact, informal survey. 
Here's the hypothetical situation I proposed. The book is in the submission phase, so the writer is in that wonderful hell called WAITING-TO-HEAR-BACK.  What do you think is the most important thing this writer should do, believing that s/he will be published and will soon have to tell the world about this new book?
16 said keep writing 
  • something new and different
  • something to "play with" and enjoy

11 said work on marketing (many went on to be very specific)
  • set up blog tour
  • set up cover reveal 
  • book promo posts
  • blog about that tour
  • prepare “stock questions” for interviews
  • organize mailing list
  • plan website updates
  • set up social media accounts

1 make list of reviewers
1 read 
1 critique other’s work 
1 research agents
1 work on tag lines and synopses 
1 take a break before starting something new
1 make list of alternative titles
1 do anything that needs doing, even clean the bathroom

We could have predicted these responses, couldn't we? Well, all but the bathroom suggestion. Writers are a-nose-to-the-grindstone lot. Keep writing. Start the next project. Develop a marketing plan. Whatever you do, don't forget you're a writer, even in the down times. 
I was sure we weren't the only compulsive workaholics, so I took a look at a successful person in another profession and came up with some interesting things.  

While developing the Huffington post, Arianna Huffington pushed herself to the brink of exhaustion, finally fainting, falling and breaking her cheekbone on the edge of her desk.
I loved what she said about realizing she had to slow down. " The toughest part was disconnecting from all my devices. . ." (she was running an online media company :-))

Here's some of the other things she said that I thought we writers might take something from.
  • learn to live with incompletion
  • say no to things, even when you want to do them
  • remember success has to include health and happiness or it isn't success.

Let's hear it for Arianna!

*****

Juvie in Orange

So now I'm back to my Logline/Tagline creation. I got some great feedback and did some more work.

Previous Week: Shackled by near illiteracy, a teenage boy decides escape from his alcoholic mother and absentee father will give him a better life, but his bad choices trap him in even a worse place.

This Week: Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is shackled by near illiteracy and trapped in a dysfunctional family. When he tries to escape, he chooses the wrong way and lands in juvenile hall. He might have a second chance if he listens to the priest and the teacher. 

Tagline: 

Previous Week: Going to juvie wasn’t part of his escape plan. 

This Week: He's trapped by near illiteracy, surrounded by tempting escape plans, short on good choices. 

What do you think of Arianna's advice? Any other suggestions for my log line/tagline?  Have a great Monday. 

41 comments:

  1. Like the changes in both this week.
    Arianna is right - we have to say no sometimes. Otherwise, we'll kill ourselves with a lot of busywork.

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    1. I tell myself that all the time. I feel like Nancy Reagan, "Just say no."

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  2. I'm going to say no to cleaning the bathroom.

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    1. Of all the bloggers who stop by, why did I know you two would not do bathrooms? Kindred spirits. :-)

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  3. Love Arianna's take on health/happiness/success - so true! And I like the changes in your logline/talines :)

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    1. Thanks, Jemi.

      I think I'd like to be done with these lines. I wrote the book with my first one at the top of each page. Now I have to make it so other people will understand what I mean? I guess so. :-)

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  4. ACK! Broken cheek bone from the edge of her desk. that's made my face hurt just reading it.

    I like the changes this week too. But I still kind of like the first tagline too.

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    1. OK. I liked it, too. But it seemed to confuse some readers. I guess I'll never get it so everyone is clear and in agreement. Just not the way the world works.

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  5. Hi Lee .. deinitely say 'no' .. and don't overdo it .. leads to stress, heart problems et al ..

    Keep writing though ... keep going ... but clean the bathroom on occasions ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Just before company? That's my idea. :-)

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  6. I think writers tend to be work-a-holics. It's good to rest and not overstretch yourself, though.

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    1. You're a musician, too, so you are on a couple of work-a-holic paths.

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  7. I think I would try to combine last week's logline and this weeks. I've been doing a lot of reading to give myself a break from writing.

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    1. Me too. Reading is the best kind of break.

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  8. You've made some wonderful improvements to the logline/taglines above.

    2012 was the year I tried to be all things to everybody and realized I was hurting myself more than anything. It's taking me some time, but I'm getting better at setting aside me and kiddo time as well as me time so I don't end up with dead batteries that refuse to recharge lol!

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  9. I think you have to figure out what you like doing and focus on those, even with marketing. I'm an introvert, so in-person events really make me miserable. I'll do them as much as I have to in the beginning, but I'm trying to take as much advantage as possible of the fact that we live in an online-driven world and I can have far more (national and international) reach online than I can by visiting local venues!

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    1. I understand 100%. In person takes such a lot of energy. But I've found that the rewards are triple. Still online is wonderful and certainly gives you more exposure.

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  10. I do force myself to take a breather from writing just to enjoy another's book and my family! I'm pretty good at that unless I'm under a deadline.
    Love the new logline! I kind of like the first tagline better, but both are good!

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    1. I doubt I'll ever get the perfect tagline. Thanks for dropping by, Kelly!

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  11. That's such a good point about taking a breather. We need time away from writing and thinking about writing. Of course, it's probably easier to take time away from writing than thinking about it. LOL!

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  12. And do not put Dezzy on the mailing list is prime directive :) I really do not like those circular letters :)

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    1. You are not on any of my mailing lists. Wati! I don't have a mailing list. . .or do?

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  13. Interesting to hear what everyone responded, and I agree we all need to take breathers. I pushed myself hard last year and I suffered. I'm doing better this year even though I find it hard to say no to things and slow down. I like the newest logline best.

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    1. Thanks Christine. Glad things are slowing down a bit for you.

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  14. I am not surprised by the Clean The Bathroom response. I think the worst thing is to allow yourself to fall into a lethargy caused by anxiety. Heck, we tend do that from time to time when we get stuck writing. The key is that we are still writing and have something to come back to when we get unstuck. Forward momentum seems to be the common denominator.

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    1. When all else fails, I go forward. It seems to be the hopeful direction. :-)

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  15. I think Arianna's last bit of advice is gold. What's the point of being successful if you're miserable?

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  16. It took me some time to learn the ropes of social media. But what Arianna said is absolutely true. One of the biggest and hardest things I have done was learn to say the word, NO.. especially when dealing with my own free time and lack there of. We can only do so much and once we get to the breaking point of where we have fallen to exhaustion, our endeavors are no longer fun or filled with the passion we need to WANT to succeed. It becomes a frustration rather than a joy.
    Social media and networking can be very overwhelming. We must not forget we started this journey because of our passion, not the just the pursuit. The stamina is definitely a wonderful experience, but remembering to breath while enjoying the written word is truly what moves our souls.

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  17. wow, literal pain in the cheek to wake up! the biggest thing for me is saying no... and I'm slowly learning it needs to be looked at in the positive. this was a complete love for me. fantastic subject girl!!

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  18. Arianna's first point seemed a little cryptic. I could interpret it a couple of different ways:

    (a) You can't always afford perfection and have to recognize when something is good enough, even though it may seem incomplete to you.

    or (b) There are times when you have to abandon things - recognize when something isn't working and cut your losses.

    Both if these are hard to do, and both good pieces of advice.

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  19. I loved Arianna's advice! She's so right on everything she said. Good improvement on your new blurb! I prefer the old short-and-punchy tagline though. ;)

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  20. I think Arianna's advice is excellent, and spot on! I've been thinking along these lines lately and aiming for a better balance. So glad you shared this, thank you. Also liked the advice from your poll. Informal and inexact or not, it was great. :)

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  21. Arianna Huffington has great advice. Thanks for putting all the numbers together. I like this week's log line better. But last week's tag line. Also, there's something that bothers me a little bit about "near illiteracy." I can't put my finger on what it is.

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  22. When I'm not writing, I'm researching and marketing. I keep busy with goals in mind. It's also important to take a break and enjoy life, though.

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  23. I'm not a writer, but I find it interesting that you can take Arianna's advice and apply it to almost anything. I can certainly apply it to motherhood...especially the incomplete one :)
    ~Katie

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