To Attain Success in Writing, Perseverance is Key, by Geri Spieler

May 2, 2012

Writing Tips

Geri Spieler, CWC member and writer

I have found, for me, the way to succeed in writing is perseverance. Too often writers get discouraged if they don’t see some sort of success soon.

First time authors are up against a mountain of obstacles as untried.. No matter what your genre, getting published anywhere with anything shows you have the stuff.

I can only use my experience as an example that worked very well for me. Here is my story on how I became published in newspapers, magazines and my book,

I started out wanting to be a newspaper reporter but how was I going to get that first job with nothing published to show my talent and expertise.

Here is how I achieved becoming a commercially published author:

1. I created an “internship” for myself. I wrote for free for a local publication. I don’t mean a blog that is not edited by an editorial staff. I mean a real publication that has an editor to vet the work. This gave me legitimacy. Someone trusted my work. Once I had my first article published, it was so much easier to get the next and next. I had “clips.”

2. I chose a publication that had some “weight” that would give me a credible reference.

3. I made a deal that if the paper had a good response to my work, I could move into a paid position.

4. I parlayed that very first job all the way to the San Francisco Chronicle, the LA Times, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

5. From there I began to hone my research skills and saw High Tech as the next big wave of journalism. I “went to my strengths” to stand out from the crowd: I became a research expert.. This got me to the next big step that launched my career as an author. I now had creds. I was a research guru for a global advising company and publishing two articles a week for eight years.

6. Another thing that helped me with not only my published writing as an example, but speaking skills. I never knew how important this was to publishers and literary agents until I was “interviewed” by both. I learned getting to publication and marketing was more than just writing.

To add to my packet of writing skills–again–to my strengths I created a workshop/class on how to teach other writers the importance of doing good research for writing fiction as well as non-fiction: “Fact Finding for Fiction Writers,” is the latest iteration of that first Internet Research workshop. I’ve been invited to speak at writers conferences all over the country and at Book Passage three times.

Again,speaking skills were another piece that helped me achieve my ultimate goal. I add here something very important to me: Be sure to “walk the talk.” if you are going to market yourself with a skill. As well, be sure those you look to for advice have the credentials back up their authority.

6. Yes, there is an end to this story. Back to the beginning: having been published–anywhere–I was able to get the attention of other editors and finally a literary agent and a publisher who wanted to know: What had I published before. It didn’t matter what or where as long as it was a legitimate publication.

Again, I can’t stress this enough…start small. The only way from there is up.


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