Simple daily checklist for aspiring authors

If you intend to make creative writing your profession, then clock in to the job at least five days a week. You won’t need to be reminded to do the writing part. Don’t clock out until you’ve also accomplished all five of these marketing and business-related tasks each workday:

  1. Put in place one component from the Platform Hub graphic created by Anthony Puttee. Recognize that your online presence will require maintenance, because some of its components involve ongoing efforts. Eventually, put in place will become maintain and update, but first you must put the component in place.
  2. Multiple choice—pick one:
    • Submit or pitch a short piece of writing for publication somewhere.
    • Apply for a fellowship, residency, or grant funding.
    • Send out a book review request (when the time comes).
    • Invite someone to guest blog on your site.
  3. Learn something new related to the craft or business of writing. If doing is the way you learn, then get hands-on.
  4. Do something nice for someone in the book publishing ecosystem. Be inventive. Write a fan letter, comment on someone’s blog, review a book, attend and be supportive at an author event, write a blogpost, send out a podcast, give advice. Be generous, and you’ll be remembered.
  5. Add a new person to your list of professional contacts. Categorize or tag, file, and back up the data, so you can locate contact information when you need to ask for a return favor, such as a book review, advice, a blurb, or a referral.

Structure these five tasks as a daily checklist. After a few weeks, you’ll be surprised by how efficient you’ve become at getting them done each day. It will become second nature. If the work seems onerous, then you probably don’t want to make creative writing into a profession. You’ll be much happier as an amateur, concerned with no one’s expectations but your own.

Photo courtesy of Cathryn Lavery

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