Are You Invisible?

This article first appeared in the October 2004 Update, newsletter of the Washington Romance Writers.

Tired of being invisible? Here’s a practical solution. Write an article for your chapter newsletter. After you finish reading this, you’ll want to get started right away. Here’s why:

Writing Sharpens Your Skills. Crafting articles about the writing profession forces you to focus on your subject material. It helps define and perfect your strategy for the art of story crafting. Every time you sit down to write, you flex creative muscle. Just as athletes practice to improve their skills, writers must write to reach and maintain peak performance levels. Empowered writing increases reader interest and improves the likelihood of publication.

Shared Experiences Bring Fellowship. Through sharing your writing journey with others, you lessen the sense of isolation within this solo profession and build camaraderie. Like a candle shining in the darkness, an article can bring inspiration and hope to those who struggle with similar issues. Fellow authors hunger for details from those overcoming hurdles, those just published, those building a name for themselves, and especially from those at the top of the heap.

Articles Cure What Ails You. It’s admirable to write about things you do well. But, if you go one step farther and write about subjects that give you fits, you might come up with solutions to formerly insurmountable obstacles. Writing about your weaknesses helps you focus on what needs to be changed in your writing and is instrumental in devising solutions. Got a problem with integrating setting into the flow of your story? Research the problem, write about it, and before you know it, you’ll be following your own advice.

Publication Reinforces the Dream. Writing is what we do. It is an affirmative response to our unrelenting urge to tell stories. Newsletter publication won’t suddenly transform you into a literary guru, but it does build confidence that you can do this. Your article can be the first step to opening many doors in the publishing business. Best of all, your published article is a valuable highlight on your writing bio.

Articles Build Name Recognition. Let’s face facts. Name recognition drives book sales. Your newsletter article will be in front of your chapter members, available to internet surfers who visit the chapter website, and available to every RWA newsletter editor through posting on an editor email link. These editors may choose to reprint your article or forward it to a chapter email loop. One article may seem like a small stone in a big pond, but the ripples that occur can be far reaching.

Editors Need Submissions. There is a high demand for chapter member articles. Chapter newsletter editors want to feature and promote their members. Each newsletter issue brings with it the demand for new material. The good news is that the incidence of rejection of newsletter articles is relatively low. Send that article in and chances are, you’ll have a publication pending. Newsletter editors need article writers.

The Sky Is The Limit. A brief bio runs with each newsletter article. Included in this bio are titles of your upcoming or recent books, contest wins, or website contact information. You might also consider becoming a regular columnist. Several columnists from different chapters have developed niche columns (on market news, research, contest opportunities, etc.) that are in such high demand that they are published simultaneously in multiple newsletters every month. Believe me, these folks are very visible.

There you have it. Seven compelling reasons to craft that article you’ve been thinking about. Writing newsletter articles builds self-confidence and raises skill level. It gives you immediate visibility. Get your name out there and see if your fiction doesn’t start attracting more attention.

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