Tools for the business of writing

by Julie Hood

Home Book Store FREE Articles Writer-Reminders Resources Media Room

  Writer-Reminders > 2004, Issue 3

wvu Find out why every author needs an ebook...  uvw

 

Writer-Reminders

Jan 19, 2004 -- Nineteen Days... part 4 of 5
Volume 3, Issue 3

    
The weekly ezine with a road map for sidetracked writers.

"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)!


Welcome new subscribers!

Welcome to the middle of the 30-day Write More in 2004 plan.
You can read about the first eleven days at:
http://www.organizedwriter.com/03/issue39.htm#Plan

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 TeleSeminars!

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 at Publishing without Paper.


Let's Write More in 2004!

Best, 
Julie
julie@organizedwriter.com

    

P.S.  "This week, I had the pleasure of reading The Organized Writer and interviewing author Julie Hood. This is a book no writer should be without....
-- Michael Knowles, http://www.WriteThinking.net

Read more from our chat and his review....

or you can read more reviews or buy the ebook from Booklocker.com. 
  


In This Issue

~~ In this Issue ~~

==> Freelancers: Clips, Submissions, and Queries. Oh, my!
==> Show me the money!
==> Get a jump start on your taxes
    
Mon, Jan 19, 2004
Day Nineteen - Writer's Clips

How well do you keep track of your clips? 

This can be a huge time-saver if you do it right. Here are some suggestions:

1. Start with your planner, and print new Clips Index and
Clips Detail Sheets for 2004. The file on your computer is
called writersplanner.pdf.

2. Next, dash to the copy center, and make copies of some of your best clips you plan to use this year.

3. Now where do you keep them? One of my favorites is a literature/ mail organizer at
http://snipurl.com/3w1x

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. 

Check it out at:
http://www.booklocker.com/books/1409.html

BOOK: Day 19. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, p. 118 Paper, p. 112.
Read about the best way to store your paper clips, and how
to convert your clips to text-based so you can send email
queries.


Day 19 Checklist
___ 1. Make new planner forms.
___ 2. Get copies made.
___ 3. Get literature organizer.
___ 4. Update web site.
___ 5. Read Query Letters that Worked!

Tue, Jan 20, 2004
Day Twenty - Quick Queries by Mail

Here are my favorite solutions for sending snail mail:

Spend less time waiting in line at the post office.

1. Order personalized envelopes from the post office with postage already included:
http://www.usps.com/forms/_pdf/ps3203x.pdf

2. Buy a postal scale. See models at http://snipurl.com/3wte

3. Order stamps for a small service charge at 1-800-STAMP24.

4. Use the online postage calculator. For US postage:
http://postcalc.usps.gov/

or for all calculators:
http://www.usps.com/common/category/postage.htm

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
forget anything.
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 kooa1b3@juno.net. 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
number.

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 124.
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
consideration.

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
readability?

It's a bit of a challenge to find it, but here's how in
Word 2000:

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".

Monthly task:
___ Do you need to register any copyrights? See
http://www.loc.gov/copyright/

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
possible!

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
Deposit Records.

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.

You may also want to check out Microsoft Money 2004 Small Business at http://snipurl.com/3x86

---

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.

Monthly Accounting Tasks:
__ Post receipts.
__ Balance checkbook.
__ Pay credit card.
__ Reconcile credit card statement.
__ Send invoices.

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
accountant.

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.

What do you need to do today?

Start by having a place to keep everything. You should be
getting lots of tax documents in the mail this month.
Where are you keeping them? If you don't have it yet, make
sure you have a Taxes 2003 folder. Here's a checklist to
help you gather materials:
http://www.turbotax.com/articles/ChecklistforPreparingYourIncomeTaxReturn.html

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?

___ Do you have any life changes this year? See
http://www.turbotax.com/planning/life_events/index.html

___ Review your calendar, and update your mileage log.

___ Watch the ads for specials on tax and accounting
software combinations. 

BOOK:Days 25 and 26. Acrobat, Ctrl+N, p.144. Paper, p. 138.

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
business?
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

Continue with Day 26

 

Like Organized 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.
http://djstoddard.net
PRINTABLE CHECKLIST 
Click HERE for a separate screen for printing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRINTABLE CHECKLIST
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DRAW daily (Declutter-Read-Assess-Write)
What is this? 

M T W T F S S
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1. Declutter (only 5 minutes)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2. Read (only 5 minutes)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 3. Assess (30 seconds to 5 minutes)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 4. Write (at least 5 minutes)


Weekly Checklist

For freelance writers: Use this weekly checklist to find, write and send a query every week of 2004!

Monday
__ Make notes on a new idea.


Tuesday: Accounting Day
__ Post your accounting records.
__ Pay bills.
__ Follow up on outstanding invoices and queries.


Wednesday
__ Find a new market using links below.


Thursday: Errand Day
__ Make copies.
__ Return books to library.
__ Make deposit at bank.


Friday
__ Finish query and submit.
__ Match your query to the market.


Saturday Weekly Review
__ How was this week?
__ What's up next week?
__ Review your Projects list in your planner and check the
status.
__ Jot the next action steps for your projects on next week's
calendar.
__ Backup your computer files.
__ Virus scan your computer.
__ Update windows software at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
__ Update Microsoft(R)  office software at http://office.microsoft.com/officeupdate/default.aspx


Sunday
__ Relax and enjoy!
__ Do something fun today!

JOB/MARKET LINKS 

Organized Writer's Guideline Database
Absolute Write's Market Archives
Writer's Weekly Jobs
Writing-World.com guidelines
Writing-World.com writers wanted
Funds for Writers - Jobs and Markets
Paying Markets List
Freelance Job Bank 
Writer's Write Writer's Guideline Directory
Writer's Digest - Market of the Day
Writer's Market.com (subscription only)

Writer Gazette Job Board 
Writer Gazette Call for Submissions
Sell Writing Online
Writer's Crossing

 

Thanks for visiting Writer-Reminders! If you have comments,
success stories, or suggestions, reply to this message or e-mail
me at :julie@writer-reminders.com

- Julie


Writer-Reminders.com: reminders for all writers who want
more time to write. http://Writer-Reminders.com

OrganizedWriter.com: tips and tools for your writing
business. http://OrganizedWriter.com
 


THE FINE PRINT

Your privacy is very important to me. Your email address will never be sold by Writer-Reminders. For more on Yahoo's privacy policy, visit http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy/us/

Copyright 2002-2004 Finally Organized LLC. All rights reserved worldwide. This newsletter is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Writer-Reminders and OrganizedWriter.com provide links to other Internet sites solely as a convenience to its users.
Writer-Reminders and OrganizedWriter.com do not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to Writer-Reminders and
OrganizedWriter.com.

I'd hate for you to leave. To stay subscribed but put your email message delivery on hold, send an email to
Writer-Reminders-nomail@yahoogroups.com To be removed from this list, send an email to
Writer-Reminders-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe,


or email.

 

Search this Site
PicoSearch

Free Planner


For weekly tips, tricks and resources, sign up for the free weekly newsletter,  Writer-Reminders!

Get the FREE ebook, 
The Sidetracked Writer's Planner, when you subscribe. 

Privacy policy


or email.

For advance notice of site updates, new products, and special offers, sign up for the Organized Writer newsletter!
Privacy policy


or email.

Tell a Friend

Like this site?  Tell a friend:
[ FREE referral systems! ]
2004 Calendar

The new 2004 Writer's Calendar is now available!  

It has inspirational quotes, my monthly routines, and places to record your monthly writing goals. 

Print it here and please telll your writing friends and discussion groups to help spread the word about OrganizedWriter.com.  Thanks!

  

Home  |  Book  |  Store  |  Free Articles  |  Writer-Reminders  |  Resources  |  Media Room

Terms of use/Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | About us
© Copyright 2001-2004, Finally Organized LLC
All Rights Reserved. E-mail: julie@organizedwriter.com

Home | Book | Store
Free Articles | Writer-Reminders
Resources | Media Room