I heard about Christina Katz before I met her. The amazing and talented Jane Friedman, then acquisitions editor at Writers Digest Books, told me about this writer whom she'd just signed who was not only a terrific at her craft, she was even more brilliant at creating community, marketing, and promotion.
This was the wave of the future, Jane said. And she's proven absolutely right about that.
Christina (once known as Writer Mama; then Author Mama; and now The Writer's Workout Coach) is just out with her third book for writers. This one, "The Writer's Workout," sees a brave new world for writers.
It's subtitled "366 Tips, Tasks & Techniques" because it offers career advice for every day of the year. She talks in terms of "accru[ing[ creative power in [your] professional careers over time—very much the same way athletes accrue physical power by following rigorous workouts."
I love the idea of framing the daily job of being a writer -- from feeding the blog to feeding Facebook, to answering email and updating my Web site, and on to booking appearances, and oh yeah, researching and writing the books -- as a workout that builds a career.
Here are just three of the things she advocates, with snippets to give you a flavor of her inspirational advice.
Micro-invest in Learning
One of my former students once snuck the payment for a writing class onto a credit card without telling her husband. When she asked me to be complicit, I was uncomfortable. But when a writer understands the importance of micro-investing in her writing career, even when a spouse doesn’t, how can I argue?
A couple years later, this writer has an agent and a book deal on a topic she loves, so apparently the class she secretly took turned out to be a good investment in her writing future.
Christina says a key place to invest in yourself is by staying informed:
• Your topic (whatever your specialty is)
• Your audience (what makes it tick)
• Your field (the latest news)
• Your industry (the trends)
• Business skills (self-publishing and entrepreneurship)
• Technology tools (the latest and most helpful)
• Publications (the top three)
• Associations (for your specialty and your field)
• Conferences/conventions/events (for your specialty and your field) • Blogs (for your specialty and your field)
• Online networks (for your specialty and your field)
Accrue Personal Power
Like the heroes and heroines in so many movies and myths, we need to recognize that we are on a personal power journey and we have our own potential. We can (and should) embrace the fact that we don’t get to fully access our personal power until we learn how to handle the power we’ve already got.
People who are on a personal power quest are patient. They don’t want what they can’t handle. They make the most of what they have right now and they feel satisfied. Take the power you already have and wield it. Use it to volunteer, to teach, to speak, to start a project, to consult, to coach, to counsel, or to train (and, of course, to write).
This is how your personal power grows, and this is how you become a stronger container for the additional personal power that will come through you, hopefully, in the future.
Think Beyond The Book
Say what you like about the old ways of doing things in publishing, there was something reassuring about knowing that you could climb the ranks if you set your sights on it and proceeded wisely. Today there are still ranks, but there are other options, as well.
I think what we will see is that the future ends up being not about bending the rules or breaking the rules, but abandoning the concept of rules altogether. The tricky part in all of this will be figuring out in a world where there are no rules what to say yes to.
Coach Christina will be here today to chat about making a successful career. I certainly have questions about how the heck do you get the book written while you're talking and teaching and learning and and and... I'm sure she'll have insights to share.
And Christina is giving away a book of "The Writer's Workout" to one lucky commenter, so pile on! (And I'll be Christina has plenty of ideas for "merit badges" for writers to earn.)