Monday, September 30, 2013

Finding your Passion

Valerie J. Steimle

We are all writers. We all have families which need our care. We want to take care of both but not sure how.  We know how to take care of our families but we don't always know how to break into writing.

 After all the reading I have done for the last 20 years on writing and writers, there is a specific direction to follow. From Heather Moore's My Writer's Lair blog, there are some fantastic questions we can ask ourselves to get on track as a writer.  Check out her blog as she has an excellent collection of books she has written which are fantastic.  You can read selections of her books and they are heat warming, clean and spiritually uplifting.  As an LDS author she has broken into the secular world of publishing as well and is recognized as a clean romance writer.  So great!!

She is full of  phenomenal insight and here are a few of ideas. My comments are in maroon.

Questions to ask yourself in finding your passion to write:
*1. What are you an expert in?

If you are writing a book on parenting, why not start a blog on parenting tips/experiences and build a readership beforehand? Get articles published in magazines, newspapers. Become that expert.

Valerie: Something I have been doing for over 20 years. Families are my passion so the family is what I write about... all aspects of the family.

*2. How are you different?
This will constantly change, but what set your book, or your writing apart from all the others out there?

Valerie: This is an ongoing process that I'm even dealing with. What do I know or have that not a lot of people know or have.... hmmmm.

*3. Relationship with your readers:

Through blogging, social networking, newsletters, etc. keep growing your platform through contact with your readers.

Valerie: This one is a biggie!!!  Networking is one of the most important writing jobs you have. Whether it's social networking, blogging or networking online through groups--the idea is to get yourself out there with your writing.

*4. Join a group

Which professional organizations relate to your book topic? If you are writing historical fiction, join the historical society in your city. Become a board member. Join writers groups, volunteer to help at conferences. Find internet groups that deal with your subject matter. Become an active participant.

Valerie: Also very important. I have homeschooled for years and wrote a homeschooling book to help other parents.  I still spread the word about homeschooling and it is a great niche to be included in catalogs, speaking engagements and online websites.  Fine your niche.
*5. Volunteer

When you have joined a professional group, volunteer to be on the board, a committee, etc. When I first started going to the LUW chapter meetings, I didn’t know anyone. A year later, I was became the Chapter Secretary, then was the Chapter President. When I joined LDStorymakers, it took me awhile to even get “approved” and I only knew 2 writers. From the group, I’ve developed dozens of life-long friendships, served at the 2008 conference co-director, etc. At the co-director, I was able to work with an agent and a NY Editor on personal basis.

*6. Speak for free

When you are not in demand, you won’t get the big bucks. When you are advertising your availability, note that you are doing so FREE of charge. Until you can build up a demand, you are best off donating your time. You will go through a period of trial and error.

Valerie:  I have done this  myself at homeschool meetings and these speaking engagements not only solidifies what you believe and wrote about, you are spreading the word about your topic. Whether it's clean romance or action adventure, people will listen to what you have to say under the right circumstances.

*7. Platform: You are a writer

Beyond your platform based on the topic of your book, you are a writer. This is a platform as well. You can be the expert on:

            Your writing journey

            How you got published

            The research you’ve done for your book (location, time period, truth uncovered)

            The “how to’s” of writing a book

A couple of years ago, I attended the LUW Utah Valley Chapter meeting. The class was taught by a gentleman who had spent the previous summer attending writers conference across the nation. His teaching topic? Which Writers Conferences were worth the time and money. He gave a very interesting run-down.

*8. Learn to teach/present

            You might be an introvert. I am. The first time I even dared to say “hi” to a boy in the hall at school was in 7th grade. And he had been my neighbor for 7 years! (luckily he said “hi” back). The best thing I probably did was take drama in school, and work in retail in college. I had to greet customers and ask them if I could help them. This was intimidating. When you are doing a book signing, you need to be making eye contact and telling complete strangers about your book in an engaging way. Yes—you have to be a SALES PERSON.

            You’ll have to work on your teaching skills. I went to a Toastmasters meeting only one time. It was amazing. I learned a lot in that meeting, but I was too intimidated to go back.

*9. Create a one-sentence pitch

            In one sentence, be able to tell someone what your book is about. Develop your platform from there.

            In Richard Paul Evan’s book, The Gift, the main character has Tourette’s syndrome. He said, “I also have Tourette’s. The symptoms I describe in the book are based on my own.” As he was on book tour and doing televisions interviews, no one wanted to talk about the story in his book, but about the fact that this best-selling author had Tourette’s.

Valerie: A great idea for any writer with a plan.  I have been asked thousands of times, what my books are about and I can in a few words tell others about what I'm passionate about.  So important.

Heather B. Moore

Find your passion in writing....

1 comment:

  1. The theme for next year's WUFC Writing Contest is: Passion to Thrive.
    Finding your Passion for Writing is similar to discovering your passion to thrive in any life endeavor. I invite all writers and would be writers to prepare an entry for the 2014 Writers Unite to Fight Cancer Writing Contest which will open on April 16th, 2014 and close for submissions on August 15th, 2014. Winners are published in the Anthology which will be entitled: Passion to Thrive.
    Margaret L. Turley, Administrator
    Writers Unite to Fight Cancer (WUFC)