Showing posts with label Are You Building a Body of Work?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Are You Building a Body of Work?. Show all posts

Are You Building a Body of Work?


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Are you writing consistently? Are you continuing to work at building relationships with the gatekeepers (magazine editors, online editors, book editors, literary agents and other professional writers). I know it is basic but consistent writing and working at this business is critical. It rarely comes easy or quickly to any of us. In fact, we often fight the discipline and consistency of writing.

Occasionally someone will look at the volume of my own writing and exclaim, “How do you do it?” As writers, we write one sentence then one page at a time. Some days I’m amazed that I’ve written over 60 books and the first one. When I Grow Up was published in 1992. In these years, I’ve been able to build a body of work. The concept of consistency and building a body of work may be new to you.

Years ago on the way to a writer’s conference, I chatted with a literary agent. I was just beginning to be published and he encouraged me to continue building a body of work. It’s not a single book or a single magazine article but the sum of your work in publishing that eventually makes an impact. Are you growing in your understanding of the publishing business? On a consistent basis, I learn new terms and new aspects.

Some days I don’t feel like cranking out some words but I do it. As I’ve traveled the country and worked with different writers. I know some writers are inspirational writers. They only write when they feel the story in their fingers and put it on paper. Others are journeymen and professional writers. They pound the keys day in and day out—whether they feel like it or not. I fall into that latter category (most of the time). It’s helped my consistent writing.

As a young journalist training in news editorial, one summer, I interned on the Peru Tribune, a small town newspaper in Peru, Indiana. We had no computers and the typesetting was done with a Linotype machine in the back of the building. We had our story meetings at 7:30 a.m where the managing editor talked with the reporters about the stories to be written that day. In that short meeting we received our particular assigned stories, then hit it with the full knowledge of our 11 a.m. copy deadline. Our stories went quickly through the editor and appeared in the printed afternoon paper at 3 p.m. We had no time to sharpen our pencils or hem and haw about writer’s block. We had a deadline to meet—which we met day after day.

Whatever you write (children's books, fiction books, nonfiction books, magazine articles, online publications or anything else) what steps are you taking to build a body of work? It will not happen overnight but can certainly happen if you are consistent. I’m committed to writing consistently. I want to keep my fingers on the keyboard and keep them moving to write articles, chapters for books and book proposals. I’m committed to building a body of work. It might not pay off immediately but in the long run, I know consistency counts.

How are you building a body of writing work? Tell me in the comments below.

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. 
He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is  Book Proposals That $ell (the revised edition) released to online and brick and mortar bookstores. 
Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief at Midwest Book Review wrote, If you only have time to read one 'how to' guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, Book Proposals That Sell is that one DIY instructional book. You can get a free Book Proposal Checklist on the site. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

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