What does a writer do when she’s not writing? Turns out, there are about a million things to do as I’m pursuing a writing career. Here’s a quick list off the top of my head:
- Query agents. This means that I send a (very) carefully crafted letter describing a finished manuscript of one of my books. Most recently, I sent a query for Justin’s Cupcakes, which was requested by an agent at a writer’s conference. Average waiting time? 4-1,000,000 weeks. Tick. Tick.
- Pitch books on Twitter. Many agents who represent picture book and other authors will open up a pitch session on Twitter from time to time. Today, for example, a number of agents are considering book pitches under #KidPit. There are rules about what to pitch, and how to respond if an industry professional “likes” your tweet/pitch. Today, I pitched my manuscript Lani’s Wings. Average wait time? 1-4 days. Tick. Tick. Tick.
- Make contacts about writing. This week, I contacted Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut, because I’m very interested in researching Theodate Pope Riddle, a fascinating female architect from Connecticut. I think her life would make a fantastic children’s historical fiction book, and so far, there isn’t one. Average wait time? Who knows? But I’ll keep checking my email until I’ve got a face-to-face meeting scheduled. Can’t wait to learn even more about Theo!
- Figure out social media “presence” as a non-techy mom type. I mean, I’m not an old lady, but I’ve got a lot to learn about algorithms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and whatever other platform the young folks have already started without me. (insert sigh and eye roll here)
- Take classes, attend workshops and conferences, jot down ideas before my 47-year-old brain forgets them, which, I must confess, is pretty quickly.
- Keep a spreadsheet of inquiries, queries, contacts, submissions, and follow-ups. My goal for the next year is either a book deal or 50 rejections. Gotta make it happen.
- Set goals. I’m the sort of person that really thrives when I’m using a list. I break my goals down into action steps and complete the steps one by one until the task is accomplished. Sure, I’m good at slacking, too, but this method gets more done than any other one I’ve tried thus far. Check. That. List.
- On a side note, I’m a mom and a wife, and I have a part-time job that helps pay the bills. Those people and responsibilities matter–A LOT.
- Hope. I spend time thinking, hoping, meditating about the impact I can make in the world–through my writing and otherwise. I’m determined to make a difference!
And I write! New story ideas are popping into my head all the time. Little snippets of prose and poetry are lurking in my mind and in my hard drive. I’m grateful for a way to get my words out into the world.
My job description in one word: BUSY.