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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Top Ten Tips for Increasing Your Writing Success
by Christine Cristiano

1. Find a filing system that works for you. You can accomplish more if your work area is orderly and you're able to find things easily. Most writers start off writing on borrowed time, don't waste yours looking for your notes. For market leads generated through the Internet, consider recording the information on index cards. Be sure to include the Web site URL, editorial needs and other relevant information. If you take the time to make a permanent record, you'll always have the information on hand when you need it.

2. Keep an idea book handy. Have one that you carry around with you and keep one beside your bed. Good ideas can surface during the pre-sleep phase only to be long forgotten by the next morning. Make it a habit to write down your ideas in your idea book. The greatest idea can be permanently lost even when you're certain that you'll remember it.

3. Create a marketing plan for each article that you produce. Decide what type of publications your article would be suited for and research a list of prospective markets. Follow the individual submission guidelines and start sending the completed article out into circulation. If it's rejected by one market, immediately send it out to the next one on your list. Give yourself a timeline to resubmit rejected articles. As you uncover more suitable markets, add them to the list. Even a great article won't make you any money if it isn't in circulation.

4. Make use of a yearly schedule to remind you to submit articles of a seasonal nature on time. A great article on growing tulips submitted in June won't receive the attention it deserves if you submit it to a market that wants gardening articles submitted by Fall of the previous year.

5. Prioritize your writing efforts. Try to finish one article before starting another. If you have too many articles in progress chances are you will only manage to complete a very small number. Consider writing the final draft for one article while doing the preliminary research for another.

6. Recruit a friend or relative to proofread all your articles before you send them out. It is easy for a writer to miss errors in their own work but yet they can be quite proficient in spotting errors in someone else's work. If you must proofread your own work, print a hard copy and review it. Errors can be easily missed if you try and proofread your work directly from your monitor.

7. Write what you know. It is much easier to write about a topic that you are familiar with. To determine what it is you know, write down a brief synopsis of your life. Everyone knows something about life in general. Day to day life experiences can result in impressive personal essays.

8. Learn something new. You can only write about what you know for so long before you find yourself in need of learning something new. Pick a topic you're interested in and learn all you can about it. Read books, attend a workshop, seminar or course. Make sure you are well versed before you attempt to write an article. Vague information in an article is a sure tip-off of an inexperienced writer.

9. Create your writing resume. Start by analyzing your current job requirements. Does your job include writing correspondence, sales reports or direct mail literature? Did you write the text for your company's newsletter or Web site? Do any of your volunteer commitments involve writing? Have you taken a writing course? Have you won a writing contest or had a letter to the editor published? Even small details should be included in your writing resume until such time as your writing efforts begin to pay off with published clips.

10. Limit the number of online newsletters you subscribe to. There are dozens of e-zines for writers and it's easy to get caught up in reading about writing. Reading numerous newsletters can be time consuming and will take away from your actual writing time. Determine which newsletters fit your needs and then narrow your preferences down to no more than five newsletters weekly.

Christine Cristiano hangs her hat in Ontario, Canada. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online venues in the US and Canada. She can be reached at cacristiano@gosympatico.ca










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