The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, January 21, 2005

Be a Published Writer in One Year!

I'm sorry.  I should have thought of this weeks ago.  I know that about half of the people who come to this blog are interested in writing, and that would have made this specific focus perfect for them.  So I will continue the idea of improving our minds, bodies, and relationships MASSIVELY within one year.  By December 31st (yes, I know that's a little less than a year, but...)
One thing:  this is NOT about guilt, blame, or shame.  It is about opportunity.  Don't measure yourself against what you think other people are doing, or what you think you should do.  Each and every one of you will do the best you can.  If you will honestly do the best you can, you will get better and better, like a plane taxiing down a runway, until you achieve flight.  But make no mistake about it: if you don't raise your energy, and refine its usage, you will just scoot along the runway until you run out of gas, never experiencing the exhilaration of flight.
So.  One year from today you want to be a published writer?  Great.  Here's what you do:
First, you're going to adopt a combination of writing philosophies, melded together from all-time greats Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein, and my own spin:
1) Write a story a week.  It can be only three pages long---who cares?  But write it.  Or one every other week.
2) Finish what you write.
3) Put it in the mail. 
4) Keep it in the mail.  Constantly research markets.  Make it a market that pays money, even a small amount.  There is no more sincere complement than a check that clears the bank.
5) Don't re-write except to editorial request.
6) Read this blog daily for tips.  Post to the 5MM forum.  Post your thoughts here.
7)  Set goals in all three major arenas.  Five times a day, stop and do 60 seconds of deep belly breathing (or BE BREATHED from the 5MM tape!) and visualize your goal triangle.
If you follow this advice, by the time you've got fifty stories finished and circulating to editors, I can virtually guarantee you you will have made at least one sale.  Does this mean anyone and everyone can succeed?  Obviously not.  But if you have the grit to write 50 stories and send them out, trying every single week to learn a new thing about both writing and the "Instrument" that writes--YOU, I promise that you are one of the few who can make it. 

Get going, Future Pro!

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