Tag Archives: Writing Career Tip

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career. Both are created from scratch out of whatever might be hanging around your house or your office or your imagination. In our family, the handmade ornament tradition began with our daughter in law, back when our granddaughter was too young to handle anything more dangerous than scissors and glitter. Her mom took over where a hot glue gun was required. The gold and purple stocking at the top of the tree in the photo is an example of one such project. Our grandson joined the glue gun gang a few years later. I dearly love every one of their homemade ornaments.

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career. In anybody’s career tradition, if we want to reach our goals, most of us start out handmade, doing it on our own, beginning with the Business Plan. My long experience has taught me Step One of that plan must be this. Work Your Butt Off. Again, you start with whatever you already have, hiding in the corners of your work space, tucked away at the bottom of your skill-set bag. For example, if you have a mailing list or the makings of a mailing list, start there. Google how you can use a mailing list to grow your career. Meanwhile, give your best effort and brain time to your true focus, your writing project, or whatever your project may be. Then, like I said, work you butt off, all the way down to the bone.

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career. I’m kind of a nut about Christmas. Maybe because my birthday is December 26th and something in me imagines the Christ child, sharing a tiny bit of his thunder with me. Friends and family are aware of my yuletide obsession, plus the tendency to over-decorate that goes with it, and have gifted me with many tree ornaments. In fact, each ornament on our tree came from someone we love. But the homemade ones are all from our grandchildren, who eventually graduated from scissors and glue to dough and paint and the era of the home-baked tree began.

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career. Back to the Career Creation Tradition. Business Plan Step Two is as demanding as Step One. Do Everything Right. Please, don’t panic because, the truth is, nobody can do everything right. Here’s a more realistic guideline combo of Steps One and Two. Work Your Butt Off Trying to Do Everything Right. You’ll fall short sometimes. We all fall short sometimes. For example, in terms of doing something crucial very wrong, there was my first lunch with a book editor. Thank heaven she was a compassionate soul, or I’d have made an even bigger fool of myself than I actually did. BUT, I never let myself play the fool with an editor again. BECAUSE, when you fall short of doing everything right, you learn.

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career. We were living in the Pacific Northwest when the era of the home-baked tree began, and every year new ornaments arrived. Carefully crafted and even more carefully wrapped, they nestled under the tree they would soon adorn, waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to un-swaddle them with a full hearts and glistening eyes. The Santa face and the flower on a blue background and the brightly colored sun, all in the branches of the photo tree, and many more. They accumulated, and the boughs hung heavier and more precious to us with each passing year. They are precious to us still, and always will be.

Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career. Which brings us to Step Three of the Business Plan. Which, in turn, takes me back to my beginning as a literary agent, my previous profession before becoming a full-time writer, and the origin of the bright-light epiphany idea for this final step, or maybe I should say, this final leap. I’d had a good run as an in-house book editor, but I have the heart of a writer and had been uncomfortable serving the interests of a publisher. Becoming an agent was an obvious next move, but how would I do that? I needed a Business Plan. I bought how-to books. I did a lot of research, but what I found were basically templates that didn’t tell me much about what I might want to accomplish in my career. Nothing was telling me that. until a single sentence popped into my head. “Let’s see how far I can go.” I wrote it down, hung it on the wall, and those six words turned out to be the bright-light epiphany that made everything afterward an adventure. I share them with you. Just See How Far You Can Go.

So this, my darlings, is the two-fold tale of Homemade Ornaments Handmade Career, and it ends with five more words, these from the immortal Charles Dickens. “God bless us every one.”  Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

– R|R –

A Time of Fear & LovingAlice’s new novel, homemade and handmade by her, is A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Available HERE. You can find all of Alice’s books HERE

What readers are saying about A Time of Fear & Loving. “Alice Orr is the queen of ramped-up stakes and page-turning suspense.”
“Warning. Don’t read before bed. You won’t want to sleep.”
“The tension in this novel was through the roof.”
“A budding romance that sizzles in the background until it ignites with passion.”
“I never want an Alice Orr book to end.”
“The best one yet, Alice!”


TAGS – Holiday Season, Storytelling, Career Help, Career Discipline, Career Attitude.


We Have Everything to Fear from Fear Itself

DO IT ANYWAY from Marie DuessQuestion: What does most damage to a writer’s career?

Answer: The simple answer to that is FEAR.

In my experience the biggest boulder in my writing career path – and probably yours too – has been FEAR. I write the world bold and in solid caps because that’s how it arrives in my psyche. Pulsing as well and emitting a ratchet sound.

What is the most common source of this very unpleasant experience? FEAR that I don’t know what I’m doing. My story isn’t good enough. My writing isn’t good enough. I’m not good enough.

I have plenty of voices among my memory circuits ready and eager to echo the sentiment. “Alice you’re just not good enough!” First soloist in my personal negativity chorus is my mother. You can fill in the blank with yours.

I generally keep on working despite those voices because I love to write. This is your best defense against FEAR in all its forms. Immerse yourself in the work. Get lost in the words and the fun of coming up with them. Pull the wonder of the writing experience over your head like a blanket. Stuff it in your ears. Reduce the negative nigglings in your head and gut by remembering We Write for the Joy of It.

The FEAR of not-good-enough rises to an even more powerful decibel level when it’s time to submit our work to an agent or editor. Or for us Indies – to upload onto Amazon. Each of these is a terrifying leap. We’re delivering our precious creations and our tender psyches to the world. The response could very well be yet another “You’re just not good enough.” In a deafening and debilitating roar this time.

Do It Anyway Sign -- from 1990sThis is what I call a Do It Anyway Situation. I shall illustrate with an anecdote. Way back when there were only hardcopy manuscripts I was building a collection of my own. Partial manuscripts to be exact – every one just short of long enough to constitute a submission which of course I never made.

My collection grew to such volume my husband was forced to build shelves for it across the walls not far from the ceiling on both sides of a long hallway in our apartment. My partials sat there gathering dust and turning yellow until a therapist friend of mine asked a dreadful question.

“What are you planning to do with those?”

She listened almost patiently while I recited my litany. I’d abandoned each project because a better one came to mind. The characters weren’t whomever. The plots weren’t whatever. The market had shifted. The cats ate my mailing labels. In other words I was too frightened to make the leap or – even more scarily – to take the risk of venturing into judgement territory.

After I’d laid my lengthy litany on her my friend said simply this. “You have two choices. Pick the best manuscript and submit it. Or ask Jonathan to build another shelf.”

The image engulfed me. Shelf after shelf of brittle yellow pages from ceiling to floor until the hallway was filled. Then along the walls of every room in turn until we were entombed by my not-good-enough work. The absurdity of that vision – like something in a New Yorker cartoon – triggered the kickstart mechanism in me. I began to submit. I was eventually published. I’ve been published many times since.

Do It Anyway SignOvercoming fear. Relegating it to non-bold lower case. That is a Do It Anyway Situation. Period. End of commentary – almost. If you’d like a Do It Anyway! reminder sign to tape to your computer or staple to your forehead. Email me at aliceorrbooks@gmail.com. I’d love to send you one. Or several if you prefer.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.


A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my work – including Books 2 and 3 – are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/


How Marketable is Your Manuscript?

Ask Alice image 1Question: I want to be traditionally published. How do I get started?

Answer: Ask yourself this. How marketable is my manuscript?

Is your goal to be published by a traditional print publisher? As opposed to a strictly e-publisher or yourself as independent publisher? If your answer is yes you must FIRST evaluate your manuscript in terms of what the the traditional marketplace demands. This is the savvy way to start. Skip this step and your chances of publication diminish drastically.

At the same time you must also function as best you can on your own behalf – personally as well as professionally. Be aware of the realities of your choice. Do that for the sake of your own psyche. Otherwise you leave yourself vulnerable. To loss of effort. To loss of energy. To loss of hope which can be most psychically disastrous of all.

The first reality to be aware of is this. The publishing market is super cautious right now. Even more skittish than has always been the case. In MOST cases – work that veers very far from customary publishing expectations for your genre and subgenre will have a rough time finding welcome – especially if you are previously unpublished.

I did say “in MOST cases” however. The exception. A manuscript that is a truly extraordinary market-buster blockbuster bestseller masterpiece. Does this describe your work? Eliminate ego. Eliminate parental pride in your creation. Be hard of nose and heart and make a clearheaded answer to that question from an objective place. Not easy to do but imperative.

Submitting your work at this point in time – or any point in time really – is looking for a job in a low-availability environment. Looking for the job of published author. Think in terms of making yourself and your work as attractive as possible within a narrow avenue of possibility. Your quest for attractiveness always begins with the work itself.

You must always submit only your very best work. That is extra valid now. Don’t expect an agent or editor to see through your imperfect manuscript to your possibly more perfect talent beneath. Editors are looking for perfection visible – not perfection possible. Agents are the same because they look for what editors want.

Your first marketplace search is most likely for an agent. Ask yourself “What does this agent prefer to represent? Does my work fit those preferences?” Research those answers online. Go to the agent’s website. Google her name. Look for articles she’s written and statements she’s made. Find out who she represents and what they write. Figure out what all of this tells you.

I’m assigning you a sleuthing exercise. You must Investigate – Investigate – Investigate. You have your own sleuthing tricks. You will come up with new ones along the way. Please share them when you do. Share them everywhere and in every way and with everyone you can. Don’t forget that all boats rise together.

Your next sleuth project. Editors and the publishing houses where they work. Check out publisher websites. Google individual editors. Remember that the reception of an unsolicited – as in not agented – manuscript will usually be less welcome than a solicited – as in submitted by your agent – manuscript.

Some publishers declare they will not consider unsolicited manuscripts at all. My response to that is this. Send it along anyway. What have you got to lose? Except maybe that time and energy and psyche strength I mentioned. So be aware this is a Hail Mary Pass and adjust your expectations accordingly.

In the meantime – through all of the sleuthing and planning – you are making Lists and Lists and more Lists with your manuscript always in mind. Where might my work be most marketable? Who might find it most intriguing? What should I pitch most prominently to each target in order to maximize my chances of luring them into my lair?

Do all of this with high ambition and a courageous heart and you will also maximize the marketability of your manuscript. Next assignment. Always always always – Keep on Writing Whatever May Occur.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.


A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/