Guest Post from Ann Cinzar of AnnCinzar.com
Beyond Your Blog is one year old!
It’s hard to believe a year has passed. Considering I am usually a late adopter, it’s even harder to believe I was one of Susan’s first readers/listeners. In honor of the first anniversary, I’ve put together a list of top lessons I’ve learned so far from Beyond Your Blog.[bctt tweet=”A list of top lessons learned during Beyond Your Blog’s First Year from @anncinzar”]
Make It Easy
Writing isn’t always easy. But it’s important to make it easy for an editor— to say yes, that is. Particularly with first time submissions to new sites, pieces that are relevant and current have greater success. My first attempt at Huffington Post resulted in a “yes” after I noticed a HuffPo editor writing a month-long series on her Social media detox. I sent my piece offering her my view (which happened to be the opposite) and (remarkably!) she said yes. Similarly, my first acceptance to The Good Men Project came when I sent a piece on football….two weeks before the Superbowl. Make educated assumptions on what an editor might want or need, make it clean and ready to go, and make it so good there is no reason to say no.
There is Room For Everyone
When I first started writing, I was overcome with a sense of urgency. In my insecure writer’s mind, it seemed like everyone had a big head start: people were getting published everywhere, calls for submissions were passing me by, and soon all the good spots would be taken. The truth is, it’s not a race. More importantly, there is more than enough room for everyone. The number of places to submit to is endless. There is no need to panic. As long as you stay true to your own work, it will find a home.
Participate In the Community
I’ve found my people! This year has brought amazing friendships with talented, smart, and funny writers and bloggers I’ve met online. (You know who you are!) You are the friends with whom I confide, vent, discuss issues with, and share wonderful news. The truth is, sometimes our friends and family at home have no idea what we’re doing. So it’s essential to have friends who know that when you get published on certain sites, it’s A BIG DEAL! The ones who give you virtual high fives when you post “I’m on On Parenting.” These are the friends who will share in your success, as you will in theirs.[bctt tweet=”‘People getting published everywhere, calls for submissions passing me by, & soon all the good spots would be taken!’ @anncinzar”] Get off Beyond Your Blog
Wait, what!? Didn’t I just say what a great community this was? It is, of course! But every so often, the constant barrage of success stories makes me feel untalented, unmotivated, or lazy—some days all three. Then there are discussions going on about getting a newsletter started, gaining more followers, and submitting multiple pieces, while I can barely get lunch made. Sometimes it’s good to get off BYB (and the other marvelous groups out there). Without the distractions of what others are doing, you can take a step back, get centered again, and get back to your own writing.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Page (or Get Off BYB Part 2)
It doesn’t take long on BYB to realize that writers and bloggers have various reasons for being here. Whether you want to monetize your site, land an agent, find connection, or simply take in good advice, you can do it all here. The problem is, the constant updates from everyone can make you lose track of your own priorities. The blogger monetizing her site might want the viral sensation a HuffPo or Scary Mommy can bring. But the writer who wants to publish a novel might be aiming for an acceptance from a literary magazine. Sometimes, a step back is required to remember (or perhaps clarify) your own reasons. Otherwise, when Susie Q gets a post on “Major-Huge Site” — and it goes viral, and everyone is so excited for her, and she just got 10,000 likes on her FB page—it’s easy to slip into the mindset of “Omg, I should be doing that!” Even though what you really want is to find a regular blogging gig, or to be published in a literary magazine. (Btw Brain Child, if you’re reading this, I’m ready anytime you are.)
By unplugging (only briefly, of course!) you can get your eyes back on your own page—to your own goals, motivations, and writing. That way, when you come back to BYB, you’ll be more focused on what will help you, more supportive of others’ successes, and more grateful for why you came here in the first place.
Thanks to Susan and a great first year of Beyond Your Blog, and looking forward to what year two will bring for us all!
Ann Cinzar writes about lifestyle, culture and negotiating the complexities of modern life. Her work has appeared in various publications, including The Washington Post, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Good Men Project, The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail. Follow her on Twitter or find her at anncinzar.com.