Why Do You Write? Enhance Your Chance Of Being Published

Posted at 16:08pm on 13th March 2012

 Why do you write? What drives you, as a wannabe writer, an aspiring author?

 These were the questions I asked in the workshop I led at a Writers' Day last Saturday.  Understanding your motives for writing will focus your mind and enhance every article, blog post or book that you produce. It will also, dare I say, increase your chances of being published.
 
So how do you go about discovering why you write?
 

MIND MAPPING

For some, mind-mapping - like the photograph above - is the answer. For others a simple table, like that shown below, may be more appropriate. Whichever method you use, the idea is for each thought to spark another, and another, and another.
 
Begin with the central question: What Drives Me? From that, the following questions may spiral outwards. Together, they will focus your mind on why you want to write; what writing styles best suit you; what you have to say; to whom you wish to say it; and what response you want to evoke in your readers. 
 
That information will enable you to write better, faster, more directionally, and more meaningfully. It will also allow you to write more comprehensively when you put together a proposal for agents, publishers and editors.
  

1. Do I write to make money - if so How

a)    Book commissions? i) through agents? ii) book proposal direct to publishers iii) check points 2, 3 and 4 below and look in the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook for agents and publishers suited to my readership and expertise.
b)    Magazine articles? i) which ones do I enjoy reading ii) are they the best ones for me to approach.
c)     Online e-zines i) do I already write for article syndications i.e. www.ezinearticles.com; www.examiner.com? ii) am I a member of LinkedIn, a professional networking?
d)    Speaking fees? i) do I advertise myself as a speaker? ii) where? iii) Parish mag; iv) women's groups at church? v) gardening club?
 
  1. Who do I write for?

a)    what gender & age are my intended readers? i) Men ii) women iii) teens iv) school children v) pre-school toddlers?
b)    what lifestyle and status do they have? i) careerists ii) home-owners iii) breadwinners iv) family-based v) single
c)     what is their ethnicity?
d)    where and how do they live? i) city-dwellers ii) country-born and bred?
 
  1. What is the socio-economic demographic of my readers?

a)    Unemployed ii) manual workers iii) sole traders?
b)    working class and proud of it? ii) working class with a gripe?
c)     middle management ii) business owners iii) professionals?
d)    middle class and proud of it? ii) middle class with a gripe?
e)    executives ii) high earners?
 
  1. Where does my expertise lie?

a)    cooking i) basic ii) family iii) economic iv) stylish v) upmarket vi) commercial?
b)    gardening i) amateur ii) professional
c)     bereavement i) from a professional viewpoint ii) from personal experience?
 
  1. How do I convey what I write?

a)    What writing styles do I favour? i) what is my style? ii) informal? iii) academic? iv) literary? iv) personal? v) anecdotal? vi) creative writing?
b)    what is my aim? i) informative ii) inspirational iii) encouraging?
 
Be professional in your approach, and you will be taken more seriously by publishers, agents and editors. Understand what drives you: as a person; a reader; a writer; and author. "Know Thyself" said the philosopher, Socrates. Only then may others know you and value your expertise.
 

REPRINT RIGHTS: THIS ARTICLE MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORMAT, ONLINE OR IN PRINT, ON CONDITION THAT IT IS UNALTERED, IS FOR NON-COMMERCIAL PURPOSES, AND THAT THE FOLLOWING COPYRIGHT LINE AND BIO ARE CLEARLY DISPLAYED BENEATH THE TEXT.

© Copyright Mel Menzies: USED BY PERMISSION
Author of a number of books, one a Sunday Times No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV. She is also Chairman of a national writers' association: ACW. This article, in its original form, can be found at http://www.melmenzies.co.uk/

 

Your Comments:

13th March 2012
at 7:20pm
I like this. Although I;m pretty clear for whom &about whomIwrite, nonetheless it is SO useful to think in terms of How can I put together a proposal or even How can I express in a few words to a person (in th eindustry) who asks, what my books are like, who for, whoabout, etc.

Unfortunately, I feel I ama bit of a specifically Xian Joanna Trollope!!! Never mind, the saga doesn't feature an Aga... and the ladies all have careers!

Thanks for this.

(One evil little thought - What drives Us - as ACW's - as thebottom line it's surely the Holy Spirit - quite seriously, whether for mainstream or faith market....)
20th March 2012
at 3:33pm
Thank you Claire. Sorry, I missed your comment, earlier. I'm not sure why you've prefaced your comment about being "a bit of a specifically Xian Joanna Trollope!!" with the word "Unfortunately"! Wouldn't we all love to have her insight and success? I'm sure I would. I'm not sure, either, about the juxtaposition of an "evil little thought" and the "Holy Spirit". :)) Anyway, I wish you well with your writing.

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