Add Persistence to Your Writing Toolbox

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

~Octavia Butler

 

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No matter what persist at your writing task. Do what is necessary to reach your goals.

 

 

After running across this quote I looked up the word persist online.  Webster’s definition is powerful.

Persist:  to go on resolutely or stubbornly despite opposition, importunity, or warning

 2: obsolete:  to remain unchanged or fixed in a specified character, condition, or position

3:  to be insistent in the repetition or pressing of an utterance (as a question or an opinion)

4:  to continue to exist especially past a usual, expected, or normal time.

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What a great tool to have in our writer’s toolbox. The definition reminds me of the inventor Charles Goodyear. A self-taught chemist, who used up all his financial resources, spent every waking moment and sacrificed his family in order to create vulcanized rubber. After years of failed experiments, he found the right formula when his concoction overheated and boiled over. The rubber that spilled on the top pf the stove is the basis for modern rubber used in tires, rain boots, watertight seals and hundreds of other products.

I am not advocating abandoning family in pursuit of publication. But his persistence is a measuring stick to encourage us all to keep pressing in.

Persistence is an attribute every successful author has. I know of none who wrote their first draft, published it and made millions. Even debut authors who hit the best-seller list took years writing. Not to mention, rewriting and shoveling out piles of disgusting prose to reshape their words into the masterpiece the public reads.

Our first draft is our babies. They can’t stand on their own. Too many adjectives, weak verbs and head hopping to make smooth transitions from scene to scene.

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Be persistent in maturing your newborn novel for publication.

 

Even final drafts, whether that is three or thirty go through rewrites based on the publisher’s requests. Persistence helps us read that manuscript one more time and find a creative way to satisfy the publisher.

As 2016 winds down and 2017 is just days away I think persistence is going to be my go-to attitude in every aspect of my writing life. Persistent in my time-management. Persistent in meeting deadlines. Persistent in continuing to learn the craft and in paying it forward as I promote other authors. Persevering in my marketing and finding opportunities to promote my work. (Not my strong suit.)

How about you? Is persistence something you’ve embraced or are you still working on it?

Conference Tip #1 Writers need Business Cards

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This business card is perfect for an artist but may not give the vibe you want as a writer. Whether you print your own with a template or order them be sure to have business cards before you attend a conference.

My yearly conference is coming up in a few weeks so I thought I’d share what you need to bring to make your conference experience the best it can be. If you’ve never attended one before I hope these tips will erase the deer-in-the-headlights feeling for you. Hopefully, it will give you a bit of confidence as well. There are many things you need to do to get prepared for a writer’s conference, so twice a week I will post a few details about items on my to-do list.

Today we are going to talk about business cards. Never attend a conference without them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever written one word for publication you need a business card.

Why? Especially if you’re not published yet.

  1. You will exchange cards with other writers.
  2. Saves time not having to write your info when others ask for it
  3. Publishers and Agents you speak with will ask if you have one
  4. People take you more seriously with a card
  5. You take your writing more serious with a card
Charley's Business Card 2

My husband made his business card using Microsoft Publisher. He printed them on Avery business card stock. There are free business card templates online if you don’t have a publishing program on your computer.

Don’ts

Don’t use the business card from your job. Don’t have a dual purpose card—one that has your side business (maybe cosmetics or vitamins) and your writing business on the same card. Tacky!

Don’t put your address on the card. Most people will probably contact you through email.

Don’t use illegible colors. You know dark backgrounds with pale letters.

Don’t have cluttered cards with lots of artwork and too much information.

Don’t use regular 20 lb. paper to make your cards.

No selfies or pictures of your pets

Don’t wait until the day before the conference to get your business cards

Don’t spend a lot on your first attempt because you will probably decide to change it after seeing others.

Do

Have a card specifically for your writing

Have a professional looking photo if you can. Better no photo if you don’t have a nice one.

Vista print.com has a special 50 cards for $9.99. Choose something you feel expresses who you are. If you have a website or blog try to match the colors or design for your card. Unless your blog colors don’t transfer well to a business card. Adding a photo would be an additional fee.

You can use premade designs from a print program on your computer. Or pull down a template from an online source.

If you print your own use perforated business card stock. It looks neat and the edges are all even. This is important. One year I made mine on plain cardstock using a paper cutter to separate them. Not all the cards were the same size. It looked unprofessional. Be sure to match the print set for your page to the Avery style of business cardstock you are using so the verbiage doesn’t print over the perforation. It may take a few trial prints to get it right. Leave blank space and use a readable font.

Your card should only have the necessary information. Your name, phone number, email and website or blog address. You can also add Facebook, twitter and other social media links as long as it doesn’t clutter the front of the card. If you have a moniker or writing business name—often your blog title—use it on the card.

Leave the back of the card blank so those you give it to can jot a note about you so they will remember later why they have your card. You will want to jot notes on the backs of the cards you receive for the same reason.

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My card has colors matching my blog site. Notice the blank spaces making it easier to read. The headshot is professional. Charley designed it but I used Vistaprint.com to print it with a glossy finish. The back is flat white making it easier to write on.

What if mine isn’t good enough

KISS keep it simple simple. A plain card on business perforated card stock with your name centered in a legible large font with your email and phone number underneath in a smaller font is the minimum requirement. No one is going to judge you on the coolness of your card. I’ve seen a few cards that were over cool and screamed I’ve never done this before. Don’t let your business card be the center focus of your conference experience. There are other necessary preparations needing far more of your attention. Those will be discussed in future blogs.

Now, go forth and get that business card done.

What kind of experience have you had with business cards? Where do you get yours?

 

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