Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writing: Making work or making progress

For more than five years I had a relatively successful network marketing business. I had a large team of sales people and our annual revenue as a down line topped six figures in my best year. This gave me some great practice in sales, marketing, and working with people. One thing I learned that I continue to apply to my writing is recognizing the difference between making work and making progress.

It is important as a writer to clearly determine which you are doing on each project. Early on it is best to take on every opportunity you can find to write. This is because we all need the practice. My mentor once told me that writers have to write half a million words to get all the junk out. That is why some authors even write letters (real ones, not email) when they have writer’s block. But as you progress as a writer, how do you distinguish whether you’re making work or making progress?

Here are a few ways to know if you are actually making progress in your writing:

• If you take time to write a piece and then consider the market it might work best for.

• If you continue to work on it, even if you haven’t found ‘Your Muse’.

• If you are working on an already contracted piece [this may seem obvious but writer’s block sometimes leads us to work on ‘new ideas’ before we’ve finished contracted work.

This is by no means exhaustive, but it does begin to give criteria to help you recognize whether you are stalling or progressing. The sign of a professional writer is a person who pushes through and writes even when they don’t feel like it.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
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Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
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Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Tiffany -

Half a million words??? Hmm, well, I'm 1/5 of the way there, maybe a tad more. :)


Eileen Astels Watson said...

Love having something measurable, and that list is helpful. I'm getting there.

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