Friday, April 22, 2011

Just Chicken Soup?

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and WonderIn a recent conference, I noted that a speaker spoke twice on mastering the Chicken Soup series. I'm rather comfortable with the fact I'm in four of them, but Linda Apple has published thirteen times in the anthologies. I tipped my hat to her experience, and marveled how she'd created an educational program on how to write those essays. One doesn't find a tighter niche than that ... writing for Chicken Soup books.

But not all of us write full-time. Ninety percent of us do not. Jobs, family, or even choice place our writing in the part-time category, and that's okay. Writing isn't a career for everyone who picks up a pen. It's a release, a hobby, a creative enjoyment, but a small percentage of those writing work full-time at it. So why not specialize?

If your time is limited, why not pick a specific piece of the writing world and make it your area of expertise? Here's why:
  • You only have to keep up with the news about a small area of writing, not the entire publishing world.
  • You follow a smaller number of successful writers . . . only those in your field.
  • You read a fewer number of blogs and newsletters.
  • You keep up with a smaller number of markets . . . again, only those in your field.
  • You develop a keen sense of what the market wants and get to know the players.
  • You make the most of a limited number of writing hours.
  • You become known for your knowledge or talent more quickly.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving When the Kids Leave HomeLinda Apple doesn't just write for Chicken Soup, but imagine if she did . . . if you did. You wind up writing and polishing about two to three stories per month, and that's assuming you write more than one story per Chicken Soup topic. You know your goals, your deadlines, and understand what an editor wants. Imagine the weight off your shoulders by having a firm grasp of what you write and what's expected of you.

Don't feel you have to know it all. Don't envy those doing well in other areas. Pick your spot. Adopt it. Love it. Get to know it well. Then thoroughly enjoy writing part-time.


Barb Hodges said...

Hope, I was there and participated in Linda's master class. What she shared about her writing for the Chicken Soup books was quite helpful, great all around writing tips. I'm working on a piece now as a result of that class. Thank you, also, for the great advice you gave us as we sat around the fireplace with you.

Hope Clark said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that fireside chat. Wish we could have done more of those. They are a lot easier that classroom situations, plus we get to know each other. I'm working on a few Chicken Soup stories as well. Just turned one in tonight as a matter of fact.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I haven't visited your blog in a while, and I suddenly landed on this post... It's amazing, because today I submitted a story to Chicken Soup... my first one.

I appreciate those great tips. They reinforce what I thought it was an intuition.

Hope you had a happy Easter!