Habit 5: Consistently Send Out Query Letters

Many writers are afraid to send out query letters. They believe that they will be rejected by editors even before they submit their manuscripts. This can be frustrating and anxiety-provoking. It can take time to overcome this negative mindset once it sets in. Ideally, it is best not to develop these negative attitudes towards query letter writing in the first place. But this is easier said than done.

The good news is that you can write a winning query letter. All you need is to develop a few skills, devise a checklist and a willingness to learn the most effective ways to write a query letter. You don’t have to freeze at the thought of sending out a query letter. In fact, you will probably never get your books published unless you regularly send out queries.

There are many reasons why writers worry about sending out query letters. Sometimes no matter what writers do, they can become stuck in a rut. A dread and fear can set in, paralyzing you from querying an editor for months or even years. This can be detrimental to your progress and success.

Some writers are even overwhelmed at the thought of writing a query letter. They have a lot of wonderful ideas. But to regularly research potential publishers is not something they want to do. Some writers even believe it’s a waste of time. Yet, sending out queries is crucially important to your ability to pitch your ideas effectively. There are many things that you can do to overcome these negative feelings. A lot of it hinges on knowing the mechanics of writing query letters. If you know how to write a query letter, you may be more inclined to send one out. Therefore, below, I will include some simple instructions on how to format a query letter. I will be covering how to write query letters in more detail in another e-book to be published soon. So, stay tuned.

Formatting the Query letter

Although this is the least important part of writing a query letter, it still merits some discussion since if you don’t write your letter properly it can show a lack of professionalism.

So, here are a few elements of a well-formatted query letter. Please use this as a checklist when writing your very first query letter.

Elements of a well-formatted query letter:

A decent letterhead
You can design a basic letterhead on your computer simply by printing your name and address at the top of the page in an attractive but not excessively fancy font.

A business-style body
Use block or modified block style when writing the body of your letter. Always include a blank line between paragraphs and don’t indent more than five spaces (if you indent at all).

Include contact information
Your letterhead should include complete contact information, including your full name, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. It isn’t necessary to include your URL. You can include your website in the credentials section.

A formal salutation
Unless you know the editor personally, don’t use first names. If you’re not sure whether the editor is male or female, you should use the editor’s title.

Clean, spell-check the letter
Make sure that you don’t send out a query riddled with typos or grammatical errors. This is a real faux pas! Don’t rely solely on your computer spell-checker either. Visually proofread your query several times before sending it out.

Provide a SASE (Self-addressed Stamped Envelope)
Don’t use a #9 envelope for your SASE. Use a full-size business envelope (#10), folded in thirds. Be sure it has adequate postage.

Take the time to make sure that all these elements are in place before sending your query letter.

Okay, that’s it. Once you have all these elements together, it is time to send in your query. But before you do that, I would like you to take the time to submit it to me for assessment.

Therefore, sending out queries consistently can ensure that your work is out there. As you send out manuscripts, you can keep patiently writing and not worrying about outcomes as much. That is one important practise of a patient writer.

Habit 4: Cultivate Solitude

Writers tend to be solitary creatures. By necessity, writers need to dream, plan, read, research and write. Therefore, there can be an element of loneliness to writing. To be most successful, however, we must learn to effectively deal with the solitude of writing.

However, solitude shouldn’t cause loneliness. Solitude is about positively and gracefully embracing silence so that we can be most creative. Loneliness, on the other hand, is that hollow, empty feeling that penetrates our being. Thus, solitude is positive while loneliness can be negative for most people.

The nature of creativity requires solitude. Some writers can write in noisy coffee shops and public places. However, most of us require some degree of solitude to do our best writing. Specifically, writers need a quiet environment, concentration, and peace of mind that only solitude can bring. However, some writers can write first drafts in public places, after they have planned and outlined their chapters and know where they are going in their book.

Here are a few important benefits of fostering solitude.

1. You will think clearer
Peace and quiet are necessary for writers to think clearer. Therefore, this creative mindset is required to write most effectively. Further, by ensuring that you are not connected to the internet or other technological devices while writing, you can allow new ideas and nuances to percolate and manifest themselves.

2. You will be more productive
Solitude can create a space for tranquility. This will ensure that you will set all distractions aside and focus on the task at hand instead of on everything and anything except writing. This will help you be more productive.

3. Your manuscripts will flow better
When you write in silence, you will be able to determine if your manuscripts flow. There is nothing worse than for an editor to receive a clunky manuscript. Many times, this is one of the chief reasons why manuscripts are rejected.

4. You will enjoy your writing time more
When you enjoy your writing, you will get more done and feel fulfilled. Solitude can give you that feeling of enjoyment and fulfillment like nothing else can.

5. You will feel inspired
Creativity is a major by-product of solitude. A while ago, author Lionel Fisher stated that withdrawing into solitude moves a writer into a low state of arousal state which fuels creative inspiration. The outer world has so much arousal, distraction, and clamor that it can drain your creative batteries. Time alone recharges it.

Given these benefits, writers cannot afford not to cultivate solitude in their writing lives. Whether it is to plan a new book and outline the chapters or write the chapters and revise them, you need that quiet time in order to do their best work.

Further, developing times when you can write in solitude is crucial to feeling fulfilled and inspired as a writer. Solitude need not have the bad rap that it usually does. Instead, it can and should be considered a gift that makes the writing life extra enjoyable and wonderful.

Habit 3: Face your Fears

To deal with your fears, you should face them instead of shoving them aside or ignoring them. Over time, your fears will only fester and make you feel worse later. One of the best ways to approach your fears is as a story. Allow yourself to envision different conclusions. Don’t just focus on all the possible negative outcomes. For instance, if pitching to potential publishers is a real fear for you, write down your fears with different endings, by using the following schematic:

Your Fear-Laden Statement:
• If I pitch to publisher X, I will get rejected.

Your Fear-Dealing Statement
• If I pitch to publisher X, I will be asked to submit more of my work so that they could assess whether they really want to see me as a potential author for them. This is a good thing.

Your Fear-Laden Statement:
• If I pitch to publisher X, I will be interviewed by the editor. That petrifies me.

Your Fear-Dealing Statements:
• If I pitch to publisher X, I may have to get my manuscript ready on a timeline, and that’s okay.
• If I pitch to publisher X, I may finally break into that market.
• If I pitch to publisher X, I will develop the courage to start submitting my work to other publishers.
• If I keep pitching, I will get used to pitching my work.

By changing your worse case scenario into a positive story line, you can minimize your paralysis of the fear by facing how you will feel before it happens. That way, you can envision positive outcomes instead of negative ones.

Tricks to Stamp-Out Fear

Some writers are afraid of doing anything public. Even creating an online platform or promoting your work from the comfort of your offices may not be something that you want to do. Or, you may compare yourself to others all the time.

Here are two tricks that you could use to stamp-out your fears. Again, it has to do with using alternative outcomes.

Trick #1: What if I wasn’t afraid?

Ask yourself: What if I wasn’t afraid? Then once you ask this question, rewrite your story. Here is one way you could proceed:

• Name one of your worries.
• Imagine yourself moving to the opposite side of this fear, behind it, around it, watching like a third party, in a disconnected manner.
• Then answer the questions, “What if I wasn’t afraid?”Use a complete sentence to capture your sentiment and put your dilemma into perspective. For instance, try saying, “If I wasn’t afraid of rejection, I’d (fill in the blank).” The sky just opened-up, didn’t it? It feels so liberating to think this way. Follow this scheme for all your fears.

Trick #2: After this is over…I will?

Say you’re up to your ears in deadlines and frustrated over editorial demands. You just don’t know if you can keep on going. But you are so close to the end of your revisions, you could taste it. One way to continue and not let your negative self-talk take central stage is to visualize yourself at the finish line. Then choose a reward that you would enjoy, and plan to make it happen when you complete your revisions.

By taking these steps, you will be facing your fears patiently and self-compassionately. This is important step to be your best and to propel yourself forward in a patient and steadfast manner.

Habit 2: Don’t Let Your Fears Define You

Many writers are plagued by fears when they write. We all experience many negative thoughts and emotions about many aspects of our writing, from completing manuscripts to submitting them. This negative mindset can wreak havoc with our self-confidence and overall productivity levels.

Therefore, it is important to overcome these fears and embrace them as much as possible to ensure that our fears don’t define us. Nor should they catapult the production and completion of our writing projects. Therefore, we must come to terms with those fears before they set in and start putting a damper on our writing lives. However, the first step is to become aware of our fears.

Here are a few ways to embrace your fears.

• Journal about your fears. Don’t rush this process. Take a few weeks to compile your list. Be as honest as you need to be. In fact, the more honest you are, the freer you will feel. You may want to carry a journal with you as well. That way, as soon as you have a negative thought, you should write it down. Sometimes, remembering your negative thoughts after the fact can be difficult.

• Once you have completed your list of fears and negative thoughts, carefully examine them. Highlight your recurring negative thoughts and write those down on a separate sheet of paper in your journal. Choose the statements that you say most often to yourself and take steps to stamp them out over the next few weeks. Then beside the negative statement, write a positive one to replace it.

• Practice saying the positive statement for a few weeks in front of a mirror. For instance, if one of your negative statements is that I will never finish this project, change this statement to I will finish this project this time. Keep repeating this positive statement instead of the negative one for a few weeks.

By taking these steps, you will be developing self-confidence and embracing your fears. This is an important step to become a happy and fulfilled writer. This is also a way to patiently await great things in your writing career. They are just around the corner when you least expect it. All you must do is work hard.

Meet Paddy Bostock

Hi Paddy Bostock.  Than you for being here on my blog today. Its an honour to have you here!

1. Tell us a few things about yourself.

I was born in Liverpool and hold a B.A. in Modern Languages and History, a PGDip TESL, and a PhD in English Literature. Down the years I have been a barman, a road worker, a songwriter, an educational researcher, a translator, a book reviewer, a university lecturer and Chair of Department, and a high school mentor. I live in London with my wife, writer Dani Cavallaro, and Italian Greyhound Cindy. I like animals and bicycles.

2. When you’re not writing, what kinds of books are you reading?

Having been a teacher of literature, at one stage in my life I read an awful lot of books of all kinds, both classic and contemporary and including both so-called literary fiction and genre fiction. These days I read very little in comparison because I’m busier thinking about my own writing.

3. What was the inspiration for your Fubars?

I first came up with the idea for the book after seeing the name “Fubar” on a narrowboat moored along the Regent’s Canal (Primrose Hill, London).

4. Are you a full-time writer? What does your writing day look like?

My work schedule is very regular: I write every day between roughly four and seven in the evening.

5. Do you always write in this genre?

I have played, and tampered, with a variety of genres, including detective fiction, crime, fantasy, and satire, with elements of romance in the mix.

6. Do you have any advise for aspiring writers?

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it” (Amelia Earhart). “The secret of getting ahead is getting started” (Mark Twain). Finally… never give up!

7. When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

Walking the dog.

8. Tell us about your current writing projects?

I have another book, My Kind of Guy, coming out in the spring of this year.

9. What would you like readers to take away from Fubars?

What I wished to capture: i.e. the present moment in history (the earlier part of 2019) as a period in which populism flourishes by asserting that history is best ignored because it was never lived and cannot therefore be proven except by dubious written accounts thereby leaving open the possibility of entirely new and different interpretations suited to its purpose. Gloomy? Sure it is, but it’s happening all around us.

10. How can potential readers get in touch with you? Do you have a website?


11. Where can they buy your book?

Amazon and elsewhere online.

Paddy Bostock was born in Liverpool and holds a B.A. in Modern Languages and History, a PGDip TESL, and a PhD in English Literature. Down the years he has been a barman, a road worker, a songwriter, an educational researcher, a translator, a book reviewer, a university lecturer and Chair of Department, and a high school mentor. He lives in London with his wife, writer Dani Cavallaro, and likes animals and bicycles.

Thank you so much for being on my blog today! You are a wonderful author, one that my readers will love to meet. (Please include a .jpeg of yourself.)

All the best of luck in your future writing endeavours! I can’t wait to read your next book!

Habit 1: Write Consistently

It is important to write every day in order to develop positive mind set sand rhythms in our writing careers. This can take a bit of planning and juggling at first. Another important component of writing consistently is getting our family and friends used to the time we will be devoting to our writing. The more consistently we write, the more likely our family and friends will get used to the idea and ultimately accept our writing time.

Moreover, we should get into the habit of writing regularly. We learn to write consistently through repetition and eventually we will write with very little effort. First, however, we must develop the habit of writing. By developing this habit, we will start writing regularly and will feel productive as well as fulfilled. This is because to a certain extent we are what we repeatedly do. We shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that we just can’t help what we do, because the truth is that we can do or not do anything, if we really set our mind to it.

One of the chief aspects of forming good habits and breaking unproductive ones is focusing on what we want to do and not on what we want to stop doing. For example, if we overeat and want to develop healthy eating habits, try not to think about food all the time! Further, don’t read cookbooks that are filled with mouth-watering recipes but instead read a book about nutrition that will educate us about how to make better food choices in the future.

Similarly, if you want to write consistently, you shouldn’t focus on how difficult it will be to write every day. Instead, you should read a book on how you can form the habit of writing and read testimonials from other successful writers on what they did in order to be successful. This will help us make better choices about our writing career in the short as well as long-term.

As you write regularly, you will be developing the habit of writing. In fact, you will feel that something is missing if you don’t write one day—especially on a day you were supposed to be writing.

There are many benefits to getting into the habit of writing regularly. Here are a few to consider:

• You will get a lot done.
• Writing will beget more writing.
• You won’t have to guess when to write—you will just know.
• Your family will give you the space to write.
• You will enjoy writing.
• You will send out queries regularly.

Given these benefits, it is crucially important to develop the habit of writing consistently. That way, you could develop important skills, write manuscripts and consistently send them out. What better way to encourage yourself?

Therefore, the more persistent you are with your writing, the more self-confident and fulfilled you will feel. So, try to write every day so that you can get into the habit of writing. Then you will patiently enjoy the process of writing as it unfolds.

What is a Patient Writer?

When I reflect on what a patient writer is, the image that comes to mind is a person who is composed, relaxed, writing on paper with a nice pen in a quiet corner. I have met many writers who fit these descriptions at writer’s conferences. They were literally sitting in the corners of a busy hotel foyer writing away. They looked so peaceful, composed, and undistracted by anything or anyone. And they are successful because they patiently embark on the process of writing.

But most writers are probably not like that. They are anything but patient and peaceful. They want immediate results. They are driven by competition and go to writer’s conferences so that they can compare themselves to other writers. However, this only destroys self-esteem and self-confidence even more. This is because no two writers develop in the same way. We all have different paths that lead to success.

Which writer do you think gets more done and enjoys better quality of work, the patient writer or the impatient one? Well, the answer seems on the surface to be self-evident. The patient writer would get more done because she is more composed and poised over the long-term. She puts in many hours at the desk without comparing herself to others or fretting about the results of her labours.

Although this seems to be true, it’s not that simple since writers are complicated creatures. They find it difficult to be peaceful all the time. The writing life demands a lot from us. When the going gets tough, most of us become impatient. Yet this is the opposite of how we should cope with frustration to be productive and successful. For many writers, this point is when we are working with agents or new book publishers. It can take a lot of anxiety and frustration to get published the traditional way. But this is precisely when we should let the process unfold on its own without forcing it.

For most writers, getting published is very important. But is it necessary to become so obsessively fixated on publishing? I don’t believe it is, especially in the era of self-publishing. Instead, we should focus on developing new habits and skills that will make us effective writers. We can start by developing the twelve habits and skills outlined in this e-book.

So, if you are ready, turn the page!