Showing posts with label gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gratitude. Show all posts

Three Ways to Stand Out to Editors


By W. Terry Whalin

In the United States today, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. It's our annual holiday of gathering with family and friends. It's my honor to contribute to this blog and ironically my regular date lands perfectly on this holiday.

It's always appropriate to express gratitude to editors and agents. In this article, I want to highlight three ways for you to stand out. Admittedly editors and agents get a lot of email—hundreds every day. You can ignore email. You can sit on your delete key and toss them in your electronic trash can. I want to address how to stand out in a positive way from the other writers who are trying to get their attention. I've seen many writers stand out in a negative way. They are memorable but not someone one that an agent or editor wants to help get published.

Here's three simple ways make a positive impression:

1. Deliver Good Writing While many writers believe they have sent an interesting and targeted submission. I've often seen poorly crafted stories and not enough energy put into the concept. Good writing will always stand out and a fascinating story captures positive attention and earns a quick response from the editor or agent. Practice your craft in the print magazine world. If you are writing nonfiction, then learn to craft good personal experience stories. If you are writing fiction, then learn the skill of short stories—and get them published. The experience will be valuable and help you stand out in the submission process.

2. Submit Assigned Writing on Deadline or Early. The majority of writers are late with their assignments. If you pay attention to the deadline and deliver excellent writing on time or early, you will stand out because such attention is unusual. It seems like a small detail but it will make a difference in the impression you make with these professionals.

3. Express Gratitude. Whenever anyone does anything, large or small, make sure you express appreciation. We live in a thankless world where few people write handwritten notes. I make a point to continue to send handwritten thank you notes. My handwriting isn't beautiful and I have to work at clear writing but when I send notes, they make a positive impression. Also when I receive thank you notes after a conference or other occasions, it is appreciated.

Working in the publishing community is all about building and maintaining relationships. Whether you are trying to sell your writing to a magazine or sell a book project to a publisher, you need to continually be aware that every time you connect with the editor or agent, you are making an impression. Make sure you stand out in a positive way.

How are you standing out to editors and literary agents? Let me know in the comments below. 

Tweetable:

Use these three ways to stand out to editors and get positive attention. (Click to Tweet)

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers.
 

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Throughout the Year Thankfulness and Gratitude


By W. Terry Whalin

During this season, we find many articles about thankfulness and gratitude. From my many years in publishing, I contend writers need gratitude or thankfulness throughout the year and not just around Thanksgiving.

The world of writing is full of challenges. You craft a query letter or book proposal and fire it off to a editor who has asked for it—and then you hear nothing. You wonder if they got it or if they hated it or what happened? Then you get a letter from a reader complaining about the typos in your most recent book. Or your phone seems to be acting strange.

Let’s face it: every writer faces problems and things they that don't work—for many different reasons. In the midst of these situations there is one constant that the writer can control: your attitude. Do you lean into the challenges and work on something different? Or do you face the day with gratitude and thankfulness?

I’ve not always been a proponent of gratitude and looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty. In fact, I’ve been working on my attitude and trying to center on gratitude every day.

A couple of months ago, Darren Hardy challenged listeners to his Darren Daily program that there were only 90 days until Thanksgiving. He suggested we keep a Thankful Journal about a friend or spouse. He asked us to write in that journal every day until Thanksgiving and then give it to the person on the holiday.

I’m not much of a journal keeper. I know many writers who journal but I never developed this habit. At the encouragement of Darren Hardy, I tried this Thanks Journal and have been faithfully writing in it every day. The results have been fascinating to me. Every day I’ve focused on gratitude and something I appreciate then wrote into this journal. If nothing else, it has spun my thoughts and attitude in the direction of gratitude. In a few days, I’m going to this journal to the person in few days. I plan to continue this pattern with a gratitude journal because I’ve found this process has been a significant help to my gratitude attitude.

Within the publishing world, there is much outside of the writer’s control. The one area you can control is your attitude. If you are grateful and thankful, that attitude will shine through to others. You will become someone who is attractive to others rather than someone always grumbling about this or that.

From my years in publishing, I’ve seen how the grumbler and complainers are perceived. The editors and agents may smile, treat you kindly and answer your complaints, but behind the scenes they are talking with their colleagues about how these complaints simply spread the poison to others. When these writers do not get encouraged to do another book, they wonder why. I would contend it comes down to attitude. Is your attitude attractive to others or repelling? If you are grumbling and repelling, then I encourage you to turn to gratitude and thankfulness and let it carry you all year long—not just on one day called Thanksgiving.

Let me know the steps you are taking for this attitude of thankfulness in the comments below.

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Writers need gratitude all year long. Read this article to learn the reasons.  (ClickToTweet)
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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing (and his work contact info is at the bottom of the second page). He has written more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell and Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Terry has written for more than 50 magazines and lives in Colorado.  He has over 200,000 twitter followers.
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Inspiration is Everwhere!

I read a lot of blogs about writing, I watch a lot of webinars about book marketing, and I read quite a few newsletters from organizations that support independent authors. I love learning about the industry and catching up on the latest information and tips. But, recently, I opened a newsletter from an organization that I hadn’t read in a while. And I just grinned from ear-to-ear. It was a blog that obviously I had signed up for years ago when I was searching for more positivity in my life.

We all have those times in our lives where things aren’t going just right and we wonder what it’s all about. I had gone through a divorce a few years earlier and while it was very upsetting to me on a faith level (divorce isn’t acceptable in my religion), I felt liberated. I had been in an abusive relationship and leaving was the best feeling I had ever had. So, that wasn’t my difficult time. No, it was later. I had re-married a wonderful man and had a beautiful daughter and while we had our up’s and down’s, nothing was really “wrong.” But, life just wasn’t turning out the way I had planned. It caused me to question everything. During that time, I had a good friend suggest I keep a Gratitude Journal.

I don’t know if any of you keep a Gratitude Journal but I can tell you when I started, it was difficult. I mean I only had to write down 5 things I was thankful for and I couldn’t think of one. Okay, maybe my friend who suggested I write the journal but since it was a frustrating exercise, maybe no! Ha! Anyway, even if I wrote I was thankful for air to breathe and that the sun was shining that day, well, that’s what it was. But, pretty soon, I could easily come up with 5 things and sometimes more than 5. And the things I was grateful for became more meaningful too. And surprisingly, I became a much happier person. Okay, maybe not too surprising to those of you reading now, but to me, at that time, I didn’t really think keeping a Gratitude Journal would do too much to help me. And I’m a therapist! I should know better. Ah, helper, help thyself, right?!

Anyway, back to the main subject of this post which is the blog I stumbled back upon. It struck me as I was reading that day’s post and searching around their site, that my passion is positivity! I hadn’t noticed it before but I love sharing funny videos, memes, and feel good stories on social media. I don’t engage in fighting with people online. I don’t see the point. I love puppies, and kittens, and goats jumping around in sweaters. I love sharing stories where someone helps someone else.

I had started writing children’s books that had positive character messages in them, but someone recently pointed out that there’s a lot of psychology in my books too. I have really been trying to figure out my niche. I had a Marketing Consultant tell me that I do Character Education. I agree, but I knew I did more than that. This positivity blog helped me realize that my vision is bigger than that. I want to encourage others to focus on the bright side of life. Be grateful. Love and help one another. That is who I am at my core. That is my passion!

So, inspiration is everywhere. Even in your inbox. What will you discover today that will inspire you?

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.

Gratitude: it helps you to be a better writer

Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans / Foter / CC BY-SA

Is gratitude scheduled into your calendar?

University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons says:
"Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive   value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress."
Deadlines, rejection letters, revising, and writer's block makes writing a stressful undertaking. We may have learned to develop a positive outlook through prayer, meditation, diet and exercise. But there is something more we can do. We can develop a routine of gratitude.

Quotes to inspire you:

  • No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. - Alfred North Whitehead
  • Rest and be thankful. - William Wordsworth
  • The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.- H. U. Westermayer
  • God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"-William A. Ward
  • He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. - Epictetus
Scheduling to guide you: 
  • Keep a journal. Research has shown that people who kept a journal of what they were grateful for were optimistic about the future. 
  • Design a mood board. A collage of images you are grateful for is a great visual to boost a healthy outlook. Hang it up by your desk.
  • Designate a time each day. I know someone who set their timer to go off each day to stop what she was doing and be thankful for something. She soon got into a routine.
  • Write a note. Imagine getting an email, a note in the mail, or a text with a few words of gratitude? It would make your day. Why not take a minute to send words of gratitude to someone and make their day?
The great thing about gratitude is when you show gratitude toward someone else, you feel better yourself. Matt Richardson, co-founder of Gramr Gratitude says:
"You can actually be happier than you've ever been if you practice gratitude. It just keeps building you up."
That sounds like a plan!

Thank-you, Karen, for the opportunity to be a part of Writer's On The Move. And thank-you to all the fellow contributors here who I've gotten to know. I have learned so much from everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                        ~~~

 

 After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts http://kathleenmoulton.com


Gratitude for Simple Things



The Thanksgiving holiday is a special time of year when we pause in our whirlwind lives to remember what we are grateful for. I do try to think of each day with gratitude, but sometimes we do get caught up in the hurried way we live our lives and we start to see only the negative things that happen.
Sometimes the simplest things are what give me pause, bring me to tears:



  • ·         A spectacular sunset
  • ·         The full moon in a clear sky
  • ·         The warm sunny days and crisp cold nights
  • ·         My cat sleeping in my lap

I consider myself lucky (maybe that’s the wrong word, maybe it’s the recipient of great gifts) for bigger things in my life too:

  • ·         The parents who inspired me to be self-sufficient and independent
  • ·         My close family, including my “in-laws” who I think of as sisters
  • ·         The wonderful teachers who encouraged me to develop my interest in reading and writing
  • ·         The publishers who believed in me and my work and gave my books life.     
  •       My dear husband who always supported my writing dreams without question
And even though I lost my husband this year, his love and support and the memories live on, and I’m able to find solace in simple things.

May you all find gratitude this Thanksgiving.

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A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona. 
Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, the sequel, Follow the Dream,  won the national WILLA Award, and Dare to Dream rounds out the trilogy. In addition a non-fiction book, Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women has just been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of the Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing, edits, and blogs. 

Gratitude Can Help Make You a Better Writer

It's early evening. I'm sitting here in my favorite brown sweater. It's long enough to wrap around me when I'm cold, it has a hood that is perfect for dodging snowflakes, and a belt (which I never tie) that has been known to get caught in the car door. It's the one I always reach for this time of year. And it's the one I paid less than $5 for on the J.C. Penney clearance rack 8 years ago!

I'm thankful for my sweater. Sometimes it's the little things that give us the most comfort. 

We live in a very busy, rushed world. When I slow down, my mind follows suit. And even if I am thinking over the events of the day, thinking through a problem, or just day dreaming, I have learned to take the time to be thankful. 

Research has shown that gratitude is beneficial for health and well being. Being thankful puts things in perspective.  In my experience, counting my blessings makes me a better person, and therefore, a better writer. It helps bring balance from the concerns, worries, and difficulties we all face. It's a healthy practice and should be regularly scheduled into our lives. 

What better way than to write down what we are thankful for? It may just turn into an article or book to help others.

Need a jump-start? Here are some ideas:

  • Nature. We are surrounded by wonderful sights, sounds, and smells that help us pause and be thankful for the beautiful world we live in. Nature has a calming affect. I write about these things to help my readers to be encouraged. 
  • Family and Friends. Taking the time to remember the people in your life is especially important, especially if they are challenging relationships. Find something about that person you can be thankful for and focus on it. If there is just one person you can be thankful for you are blessed. Don't forget the kindness of strangers!
  • Provision. Do you have a car? A home? Food? All things to be thankful for. One time I was driving my car in the winter and the heat wasn't working. I turned to my son in the front seat and said, "At least we have a car!" Even if you don't have the nicest car, a home too small for your family, or only bread, milk, and eggs on your table - be thankful. It will make you happier!
As you practice gratitude, many things you didn't notice before will soon become important and valued. In turn, your outlook will positively affect your writing business and everything else you do.

How about you? Is there one thing you can be thankful for? Please feel free to leave a comment!



Happy Thanksgiving!


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Kathy Moulton is a published freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -http://kathleenmoulton.com



A Thanksgiving Tradition--Embracing Gratitude


Each evening in November, when my children were little, we would all share three things we were thankful for that day. It was our way of embracing the spirit of the season. One year, when both my children were in college, I called them in the beginning of November and asked them to revisit this tradition via email. (They have always been tolerant of their mother’s unusual requests.)  Everyone emailed three things each day to each other.  It gave us a window into each other’s lives that we didn't usually get to see.  I went to the computer each morning excited to see what would be revealed. 

 Here’s a small sample of some of our thanks.

1.    Dad putting me in dance
2.    The Rockies
3.    Being with Freckles during her last season.
4.    Putting on the winter scarf
5.    A mother who wants to keep a family scattered across the country together via email
6.    My new roller-blades that I got for five dollars at the thrift store
7.    Playing hockey tonight
8.    Blackhawks on TV
9.    The smell of fall in the air
10.  70 degrees in November
11.  The kids on the block
12.  Billy’s stint selling Cutco – without it I would never have owned Cutco knives!
13.  I actually like my classes
14.  Potato leek soup in about an hour and the new potato peeler
15.  Hot cider
16.  Visits and scrabble with Granny

Unfortunately, family traditions can sometimes have a way of slipping through the cracks of everyday life. Thanksgiving is a day away and somehow I forgot to start the ball rolling on our three things.   

I've come to learn that we don’t need to do everything the way we once did to find value in our traditions.  Traditions are about connections.  They can morph a little, but returning to our traditions brings us closer together.  My youngest son goes to school in Denver and isn't going to make it home to Chicago this Thanksgiving.  So...maybe on Thanksgiving day we’ll all Skype and share three things about Thanksgivings from the past.  I know the Thanksgiving memory at the top of my list—my youngest son was born on Thanksgiving 22 years ago.
Happy thanksgiving! I'm grateful for this writing community.

Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Writing Career: Be Grateful

I often receive emails from young writers asking for advice and help in various aspects of their writing, and I am always delighted to help in any way I can. To be a writer is to be a part of a community, and I am so grateful for all the writers who have offered me advice and encouragement over the years. Being a mentor and cheerleader for other writers is the best way I can think of to "pay it forward" to those people who have bettered my life with their generosity and support.

However, I am not always the quickest to respond to emails, especially when life gets busy. Like this summer: I am in graduate school working on my thesis, taking a summer literature class, and teaching a creative writing class to college students. I feel like I'm barely managing to keep my head above water by trying to write a little of my own work every day, reading and working on papers for the literature class I'm taking, and grading papers and responding to emails from my students!

Most writers I hear from are beyond patient and gracious. But occasionally, I'll receive an email from a young writer that startles me with its rude tone and unprofessionalism. Often the email will include capital "shouting" letters, strings of exclamation points and/or question marks, and phrases like, "are you ever going to get back to me????" or "hellooooo???"

I consider myself to be an advocate for writers, and young writers in particular. I love teaching writing camps and working with mentees through Write On! For Literacy. Publishing Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing is a great source of pride and good feelings for me. So when I get an email from a young writer that perpetuates the negative stereotypes that society foists upon teenagers, it makes my skin crawl.

I believe the very first and most important lesson in regards to being a writer and getting published is this: respect, gratitude and professionalism are a must.

If you send an email with a rude subject line to a publisher, editor or agent, I can guarantee you it would be deleted without even being read. When you send your work to a publisher, it may take six or eight months for them to get back to you about it. That's just the way publishing is -- editors are very busy and they receive hundreds of emails every single day. And if you ever do email them to ask if they have had a chance to read your work, you need to make sure you have a tone of gratitude, graciousness, and respect of their time and busy schedule.

Here's a great article with tips and examples on writing professional emails: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/e-text/email/.

But I think all you really need to remember is just to be respectful and to treat everyone with common decency. When you adopt a rude tone, you send the message that you feel entitled to the person's help, rather than that you are appreciative of any time and help they can give you.

I think it comes down to this, not just in writing but in all areas of life: people will be more eager to help you when you treat them well and are humble and appreciative of their time, knowledge, effort and support.

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review. Many of her short stories are compiled online here.

Authors Need to be Realistic

By Terry Whalin  @terrywhalin Over the years, I’ve met many passionate writers. One brand new writer told me, “My book is going to be a best...