Biographies, biographers, and interesting people

Posts tagged ‘getting writing assignments’

Feast and Famine in the Writer’s World

I feel like I need a note from my editor to explain my long absence from blogging. But she has better things to do. So you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I’ve been busy writing.

Writing, as with other types of freelance work, often ends up being feast or famine. I send out resumes and writing samples, query magazines, and put together proposals to submit to publishers. Then it seems like almost overnight I go from wondering if I’ll ever work again to having too much to do.

Feasting is better, and the upside to my busyness the last couple of months is that I’ll have some good publishing news to report next year. I haven’t completely finished the projects I’ve been working on yet, but I’m at a place where I’m not rushed anymore and that feels good. It means I have time for other things such as reading and this blog. It also means I need to start developing other ideas if I want to avoid the famine.

So I’m using a method for getting work that has served me well for many years – “The Writers’ Rule of 12.” Basically, it means that I need to have 12 queries or manuscripts circulating at all times. With that many manuscripts “out there,” something is bound to sell. It’s a highly unscientific theory, but it has worked for me.

There are a lot of variations of the rule. Some people use different numbers. Others are okay with sending one manuscript or query to 12 different publishers. But for me, it’s 12 different projects. I think the reason it has helped me is that getting that many ideas “out there” means I’m working at my craft, and that’s what it takes in this business. I already have six projects “out there,” so for the next few weeks I’ll be working on another six and expecting good things to happen.

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