"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Are you Really Ready for 2016? A Cautionary Tale...

Let's face it: for many of us, 2016 snuck up on us like a thief in the night. Like weight gain after Christmas. 2015 seems to have come and gone in the blinking of an eye.

Its departure left us unbalanced, uncertain, and with a fair share of unfinished business. To optimize our efforts this year, we now know we have to be more strategic and forward thinking.
As they say, "Hindsight is always 20/20."
But where do we begin?

See if any of these scenarios seem familiar:
  •   You attend a literary event, or meet someone by chance while at the supermarket. You hit it off. You want to keep in touch. Perhaps for potential business or collaborative purposes. After you chit chat, you reach in your purse or pocket for your business card. But before you hand it to them, you have to scratch out that old phone number that no longer exists, or that P.O. Box that's been closed, to pen in your current info.
  • You apply for an online job. You' re selected to advance to the next stage from the initial pool of applicants. The publication requests that you provide a link to your blog. There's only one problem. It hasn't been updated in six months.
  • An editor requests a photo for your Bio for an accepted piece. The last professional headshot you took was for your college yearbook.
  • A long-distance client wants to hire you. You seal the deal. They only do transactions via PayPal. But, you still don't have an account. 
  • Your printer breaks. Or a client fails to pay as promised. That emergency fund that you said you would have in place has yet to be established.
See where I'm going here?
I certainly admit that as a "seasoned" scribe, I pride myself in being prepared for the writer's life in all its myriad forms. But, in retrospect, I have had a few of the above scenarios happen to me, when I least expected it. Ouch.

In fact, one such incident served as the inspiration for today's post.
Here's the story in a nutshell...

Last month, I submitted a short essay for inclusion in a very important online anthology, created by a famous author. Notification of its acceptance had me doing the happy dance here.
"Twerking" aside, of course!

When the publication rep requested a recent photo to accompany my piece, there was a bit of a problem. Many of my "professional" images were no longer accessible to me, as they had been stored on a former broken computer that had to be put out to pasture a few years ago.

I had been meaning to take more pictures; I just hadn't gotten around to it.
My submission was subsequently "placed on ice"---leaving me a bit "stirred and shaken." :-)

Even though it's not the end of the world, I can't help but think that I really dropped the ball on this one.
Not being adequately prepared can cause missed opportunities and income.

Still, all has not been lost. It helped me to gain clarity on things that I need to do this year to reach  greater heights.
In the words of Will Smith: "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready!"
With this in mind, here's my "GET READY" list.
Are you ready?

See if you're prepared for success, according to this list.
  • Business cards with current contact info and a valid email address reflected
  • A professional headshot
  •  A ready to go brief Bio
  • An emergency savings fund
  • A professional Blog that's updated at least once a month
  • A functional PayPal account
  • Anchor clients
  • Templates for frequently performed tasks (queries, contracts, form letters, etc.) to save time
  • A portable journal
  • An editorial calendar for your Blog
  • A "can-do" attitude
  • A supply of chocolates
  • Music to create by
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • A marketing plan
  • A logo
  • Cheerleaders, or a support system

2016 holds awesome potential. So do you.
Ready, set, grow! :-)

Thoughts? What do you plan to do differently this year? Do tell.


  1. Hi Jennifer - I can see exactly what you're saying ... be prepared and up-to-date at all times ... cheers Hilary

  2. Thanks so much, Hilary. And Happy, Happy Birthday, dear! :-)

  3. Nice list, it's amazing how a bit of planning can make everything go smoother!

  4. Hi there, Prairie Wife,

    Welcome! Thanks so much for chiming in here. :-) Glad you found it useful.

  5. Great list! Need to update my business cards and work on a new bio pic. Thanks for the timely advice! :)

    1. Hi Karen,

      I need more cards too. :-) B/T/W--You can order some nice, inexpensive ones online at VISTAPRINT.COM.

  6. That's a great post Jennifer, that's a practical get ready list, and I also like the Will Smith quote!

    That's why I with forward thinking, on my writing blog, besides things like Writing Stationary you - now - also can already discover a

    Valentines Writers Mug (and several other Valentines products)

    For what Cheerleaders and a Support System is concerned, in our online shop you also have practical social share buttons.

  7. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, H.P.!