Career Stalls – what, if anything, can we do?

Last nights #kidlitchat on Twitter had a two-sided topic. One question was what to do when you are blocked with a current writing project. That one generated, as expected, a lot of great tips for jump-starting the writing machine.

But I want to talk about the other side of the question that didn’t get much (if any) discussion – what, if anything, can we do to jumpstart or revive a stalled career?

I guess the first question is, what’s a stalled career? So much of this business is out of our hands. We can control one thing, the manufacturing of a product to sell, a book, a poem, an article. A speech to give, a class to teach.  We can control to the quality of that product and we can control the completion of that product but the actual sale of that product, the sale which builds our career, well, we have no control over that.

So is a stalled career one in which you used to sell and now you don’t? Is a stalled career one where you made it to one level of income and you’re trying to jump to the next level? Is it that you want to be more known that you are now? What is a stalled career?

And the bigger, more important question is, what can you do about the state of being stalled? Because if you can’t do anything you might as well just hunker down and get back to work on what you can control – the writing.

I’m interested in your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |33 Comments

organizing electronic/digital stuff

I have a new computer coming in a few weeks and each time I get a new computer I think I am going to get a little bit better organized. Mostly it works just never as much as I want it to.

This time I am trying to clean up some of the electronic noise I have around me. I am curious as to what habits other people use for some of these things.

1. Email.

Are you a tosser or a keeper?  I’ve got mail going back 10 years, which is really bad. Most of it did not need to be saved. I’m in the process now of going through a few old email boxes every night and tossing all the old stuff that really shouldn’t be saved.

I do have the habit of using my email boxes as a file system so I try to have the same names on mailbox folders as I do on the folders in my documents folder or in my physical file cabinets.

I use Outlook for my email and I am learning how to leverage that program for better time management. For instance, the journal function within Outlook will automatically record each time I open and close a file. Which means I can write a book and know how many hours/weeks/months/years I spent on that part of the project. Which may or may not be a good thing.

2. Documents folder on my computer.

As I said, I have the file names here mimic my mailbox folders and my physical file cabinet. One trouble I seem to be having is that I have way too many folders. I don’t know any way around that.

3. Digital photos.

I am always afraid of losing a photo and as a result I sometimes end up with 2 or 3 three copies of the same picture. This happens a lot when I am saving inspiration pictures for the house or garden.

I have to clean up the mess from the past so I have started just dumping things into general folders (house, yard, family, etc) and will have to slowly sort through them and get rid of the duplicates. But I am not sure how to keep myself from getting into the same mess in the future.

How do you organize and keep track of your digital photos?


Thursday, October 2, 2008|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |16 Comments

Friday Five – The Writing Edition

Yes, I know, it’s been a while since I talked about my writing life. There are a lot of reasons for that, some good, some not so much, but in any event, here is my Friday Five from behind the writer’s desk.

1 – I’m thinking about writing again. This might sound funny coming from a writer who is used to always thinking about writing but my brain got overfull with life and needed to decompress. I’m not hearing any voices from characters but that’s okay. Right now my life is very noisy and I am craving silence. Once the inside of my head has realized the rest of my life is quiet, things will begin to percolate again.

2- I’m working on a couple of book proposals for some non-fiction books about writing which is getting the business side of my brain working again. Of course the business side of my brain craves organization the way the rest of me craves chocolate but the chocolate seems easier to come by.  I’m working up some survey questions I hope to post in order to get feedback from the masses.

3 – I signed up to take a class at . It is about writing for the glossy magazines, something totally outside of my norm for the last 7-8 years. I’m looking forward to the challenge of learning something new. I’m especially looking forward to learning how to write better “pitch” letters to get the assignment as that is a real weak spot for me.

4 – I overhauled my business plan. What? You’re a writer and you have no business plan? Don’t feel bad. This is only the third one I have done and the first one that feels like it is a workable plan.

5 – I am thinking about starting a business group for writers. A group that discuss the business side of things – promotion, recordkeeping, organization – that sort of thing. It would be a private thing, only those in the group would be able to read/respond. Possibly via LJ as a private community or maybe some other online venue. Yes, I know there are blogs that talk about this sort of thing and bulletin boards like Verla’s and SCBWI and such but I want to put together a small group, a brain trust of sorts, maybe 5-7 folks? That way we could all share more personally, support more specifically, and watch our business grow. If you think you might be interested in something like that (this is just in the thinking stages) leave me a comment, please.

Friday, September 5, 2008|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |14 Comments