Jan 19, 2004 -- Nineteen Days... part 4 of 5
Volume 3, Issue 3
The weekly ezine with a road map for
"Be better writers today
than we were yesterday."
Welcome to our subscribers (new and old)!
Thought for the Week - My Top 10 Goals
OK, gang, how's it going so far?
It's been 19 days. If you started a new habit (or tried to drop an old one!) at the beginning of the year, you've almost reached the 21-day mark for your new habit. Yay! Whether your new habit is writing every day or even writing only once a week, I'm so excited for you.
I didn't tackle a new habit on January 1st. I know how crazy it gets in January with Organized Writer so I'm holding off until February. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything you are trying to accomplish, know you are not alone. Take two minutes to reassess where you are going. Do you need to tweak anything? I made some adjustments to my time map this week, and it was a much smoother week.
Here are my 10 big goals for 2004 -- I'll let you know they're going periodically through the year (or skip down to the next section if you prefer)....
1. Finish at least one new book.
2. Have regular teleseminars for writers.
3. Launch two new web sites.
4. Launch one new service through Organized Writer.
5. Increase my consulting practice.
6. Spend my time on the 20% activities that give me 80% results.
7. Keep the house cleaner (even if I have to hire a housekeeper!).
8. Do more fun things with the kids.
9. Exercise at least once a week, and hopefully three times a week. (Feb)
10. Improve the clothing flow around my house (I'll explain next week)!
This 30-day plan includes links to my ebook, The Organized
Writer: 30 Days to More Time, More Money, and Less
Frustration. They are listed below as BOOK:. You can buy
it for only $14.95 (instant download, no shipping) at: http://www.booklocker.com/books/937.html
Don't Forget - Tuesday
Jan 27 - Publishing without Paper from Julie Hood.
This presentation will explain why every author needs an
ebook, how to create one and what you need to do to
sell more ebooks. Sign up today
4. Then update your web site with the most current clips (get permission first, of course).
5. Check out Angela Hoy's latest book, Query Letters That Worked! Real queries that landed $2K+ writing assignments. The book lets you peek into the files of some of the best freelancers on the planet. You get 25 queries and proposals and six general pitch letters plus tons of good advice.
Each letter is carefully analyzed for what makes it work (since you can't actually copy the queries in this book, you can use the concepts to improve your queries). You learn about how the article progressed from idea to published article, and each writer's background is listed with links to their web sites.
You also get Angela's secret to finding steady freelance work, tips for phone queries, and the six golden rules of queries and submissions (and how to break them).
This book is chock full of advice on how to improve your queries -- it's a
definite must-have for freelancers.
5. Save time by dropping your queries in the mailbox
instead of standing in line at the post office!
BOOK: Day 20. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, p. 121. Paper p. 115.
Read about ways to send queries more quickly:
1. Create a Query Template.
2. Print the Query Checklist to makes sure you don't
3. Learn how to make four different snazzy letterhead
styles in Word.
4. Learn the difference between full block, modified block
and semi-block letter styles.
Day 20 Checklist
____ 1. Get personalized envelopes.
____ 2. Get a post scale.
____ 3. Add postage calculators to your list of online favorites.
____ 4. Create a Query Template and print the Query Checklists.
Wed, Jan 21, 2004
Day Twenty-One - Email Queries
How professional are your email queries?
I see a couple common mistakes in the email messages I receive:
1. Using a cryptic email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do use an email address like this, check your email program to see how you set the From name so your first and last names appear.
2. Using a family email address so your business queries come from TimMichelleS@msn.com. Get a separate email address for your writing business.
3. Using ineffective subject lines. Make your subject lines thoroughly describe what you are sending.
4. Missing contact info. Include ALL your contact information, including your regular address, your phone number, and web address. Automate using the signature part of your email. BOOK:Day 21. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, page 127. Paper, page 121.
1. Create your Query Cheat File.
2. Create a Query Template.
Day 21 Checklist
____ 1. Improve your email queries with list above.
____ 2. Make a query cheat file.
____ 3. Make a query template.
Thu, Jan 22, 2004
Day Twenty-Two - Track Your Submissions
When did you contact that editor? What did you send them?
When should you follow-up?
Add just a couple rules to your life and all this
frustration can be eliminated.
1. Every time you send a query, list it on the Submission
Tracker form that came with your planner. Assign it a
2. Pick a follow up date, and list it on your calendar as
"Follow up on query #12." When that date shows up, all the
details are listed on the Submission Tracker form.
BOOK: Day 22. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, page 130. Paper, page
1. Find out about three other electronic solutions for
tracking your submissions.
2. Find out what a tickler is and how to set it up.
3. Get a sample letter for removing an article from
Day 22 Checklist
___ 1. Determine how you will track your submissions.
___ 2. Set up your tickler system.
Fri, Jan 23, 2004
Day Twenty-Three - The Perfect Manuscript
How readable are your manuscripts? Did you know
Microsoft(TM) Word can give you a summary of your
It's a bit of a challenge to find it, but here's how in
1. Click on Tools > Options.
2. Select the Spelling and Grammar tab.
3. Select "Show readability statistics" at the bottom.
4. Then run the Spelling and Grammar checker with either
F7 or Tools > Spelling and Grammar... Your readability
statistics should be listed at the bottom.
Run your essays through the readability option to get an estimated grade level for your writing. It also lists word
count, character count, number of paragraphs, number of
sentences, and average lengths.
If these instructions do not work for your version of Word, go to help and search for "readability".
BOOK: Day 23. Acrobat p. 134, Paper p. 128.
1. Print a proofreading checklist for each manuscript.
2. Learn how to create a manuscript template.
3. Find out what you should do to keep an editor happy.
Day 23 Checklist
____ 1. Check your manuscripts for readability.
____ 2. Register any copyrights.
____ 3. Print proofreading checklists.
Sat, Jan 24, 2004
Day Twenty-Four - Show Me the Money
Today it's time to invest some time in your accounting
system! I know what you're thinking....paying bills,
sending invoices, reconciling statements... I'm a writer,
do I really have to do all those left-brain, business-y
tasks? Yes, but I promise to try to make it as painless as
First, determine how you are going to keep track of all
this stuff -- paper or electronic? If you're going to use
paper, you've got an Income and Expense Records form in
your planner. If you buy my book, you get three forms,
Expense Records, Credit Card Payments, and Income and
I prefer electronic and bought Quicken Home and Business because it can send customized invoices.
(They've since changed the name to Quicken 2004 Premier Home and Business). Here's the link to purchase it: http://snipurl.com/3x3r
Amazon has a $30 rebate if you purchase TurboTax, too.
Do you file your bills by type (credit card bills all
together, bank statements in one file, etc.)? This is too
time-consuming! I prefer to file by month. Everything
that happens in January goes in the January folder. All
the receipts are in their own envelope in that folder. I
can always determine what month a transaction occurred, and
then find the paper in that month.
Set up 12 folders - one for each month of 2004 (in the
book, print page 171 for a hanging folder label for each
month of the year). Now you have an easy place to file all
your receipts, bill and statements.
The last trick is to make sure you stay on top of posting
and reconciling. It's so easy to push this off when you
get busy. I know I'd rather write! The weekly checklist
below will help you remember, or set aside one day a month
to deal with all these accounting tasks.
If you aren't worn out yet, put together your Spending Plan
for 2004 (doesn't Spending Plan sound much better than
budget?). Make a column for each month of the year,
estimate what your expenses are for each month, and
determine the minimum number of books or articles you need
to sell to break even. Then estimate how many you need for
the income level you want. Don't forget your taxes!
BOOK: Day 24. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, p. 140. Paper, p. 134.
Read about quick and easy accounting rules for writers:
1. Learn the first thing you need to do to make it easier
to do the accounting for your writing business.
2. Learn how to send professional invoices.
3. Determine what you need to track for taxes.
4. Review the eight questions to ask a potential
Day 24 Checklist
____ 1. Set up your accounting system.
____ 2. Create your 12-months of folders.
____ 3. Create your spending plan for the year.
____ 4. Complete monthly accounting tasks.
Sun, Jan 25, 2004
Day Twenty-Five - Taxes and More Taxes
It's 80 days until your taxes are due! Sounds like a lot,
doesn't it? Let's make sure that your taxes are done ahead
of time this year, OK? No running around on April 14th
trying to gather everything together. The focus for March
is accounting and taxes, and I'll repeat the popular one-week plan to finish your taxes.
One last thing, put together a 2004 mileage log. If you
can keep one in your car, and update it -- go for it! This
is a fabulous system for tracking the mileage for your
taxes, but unfortunately, it's too left-brain for me. I
never remember to write stuff down in the car.
Here's what I do - On January 1, I write down my mileage
for the beginning of the year. Then, once a month on the
25th since that's my taxes day, I look through my planner
and jot down on my mileage log all the places I went over
the past month that are business-related. Every once in a
while, I go out to http://www.MapQuest.com
, and get the
mileage from my house to these different places. Then at
the end of the year, I just add up all the visits.
Of course, ask your accountant how much detail and what
kind of records you need.
Taxes Tasks for January:
___ Do you need to pay quarterly sales tax? Mine are due by the end of this month.
___ If you or your spouse have "regular" jobs, do you need to make any changes to your W-4 for 2004?
___ Review your calendar, and update your mileage log.
___ Watch the ads for specials on tax and accounting
BOOK:Days 25 and 26. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, p.144. Paper, p.
1. Learn what five forms are commonly used by writers for
their tax returns.
2. According to the IRS, is your writing a hobby or a
3. Read the basics about depreciation, the Section 179
deduction, home office deductions, and car expenses.
4. Determine if you need to pay self-employment taxes
and/or make estimated tax payments.
5. Review the year-round tax planning calendar.
Day 25 Checklist
___ 1. Set up a folder for all your tax info, if you haven't done it.
___ 2. Set up a system to track your mileage.
___ 3. Complete January tax tasks.
Only one week left in our 30-day get-organized plan. I hope you are feeling more organized and ready to write than you were on January 1st! Julie
Writer.com? You'll love the ebook.....
"Julie, I love your book. I have read (or at least opened) more than a trunk load of books about writing over the years. Yours is the first I have seen that gives readers so much in one place. For me, the Master List and putting that together was more than worth the cost."
-- David Stoddard
Motivational writer, trainer and publisher of the
Terrific Life Concepts ezine.
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