Article Archive



By Dawn Colclasure, writing as Dana Mitchells

Through a series of trial and error, most established writers have developed a system for their workday. Some get up an hour early to get more work done, while others work on a tight schedule, starting and finishing at the same time every day.

Yet throwing in a few of the routines below may help a writer earn more sales, get better reviews, and get more writing done.

TIP #1: Write a "to do" list.
I used to think I was never one of those people needing a "to do" list to get through my workday. But I have found that by filling out a list of things to do for the day, I get more done and the temptation to put things off for later is held at bay.

TIP #2: Give yourself homework.
Don’t become bogged down on an article’s trouble spots or struggle through a scene of your novel. If you have get stuck in your work or need more information for your writing, make a note of it (for tomorrow’s "to do" list, perhaps?) and get back to it tomorrow.

TIP #3: Network.
Stay in touch with other writers, editors and your readers to see what’s going on with them or just to "talk shop." Join a writer’s group to connect with other writers, sign up for a reading group on the Internet or hang out at your local bookstore.

TIP #4: Always get a second (or third) opinion.
Exhaust the pages of your article or story with several changing of hands to get as much feedback on it as possible. No matter how perfect you think it is, your significant other, teacher, therapist or Internet critique group may have an idea or two to add, as well as suggestions for any revisions.

TIP #5: Keep promoting yourself.
Let other people know you are the person to spotlight for that upcoming conference, that your book is the best one to read on their topic or that you are the perfect writer for a particular assignment. Writers need to have a big ego when it comes to promoting themselves and think that they are the person for the job, even if an editor or publisher ends up telling them that they are not. Yet what harm is there in trying? The least you have done is let others know how serious you are about your career.

Incorporate a tip or two into your writing workday and see what assignments it gets you, what people say about your latest work or how many copies of your book sells. A change of routine often brings positive results and any writer willing to succeed in their career may find the above tips just the change they need.

You may later come up with your own tips, or perhaps a better, more convenient routine. Explore new ways of promoting yourself and your work and stick to the changes that bring the best outcome.
© 2003
Dawn Colclasure writes for both print and online publications and is the author of a poetry chapbook, Take My Hand, available from She writes for the Internet under the pen name Dana Mitchells and has been published on sites such as Write From Home, Absolute Write, and The Writer Within. Currently at work rewriting one of her unpublished novels to submit to an agent, she lives and writes in California with her husband and daughter.

Back to Article Archive.