Nothing gets me more motivated than a snappy little acronym and a manageable task list. With that in mind, I've decided to give my writing the WRQS!
Pronounced “works”, WRQS stands for Write, Revise, Query and Submit. These four tasks are the Four Horsemen of Writing Success. (By the way, they are much better than the Four Horseman of the Writing Apocalypse; Waiting, Regretting, Quitting and Sobbing. Don’t do those!)
Every month you can apply the WRQS to your writing in an easy weekly focus.
Week One - Writing
Your writing endeavors during the first week of every month will focus on “W” - Writing. This is a beauty of the blank page week. Open a new file and write a fresh sentence, the first draft of a picture book or a new chapter for your middle grade novel. The key this week is to write something brand new.
You can bounce off an idea you jotted down during PiBoIdMo or perhaps one you wrote in the condensation on the bathroom mirror (where do you think WRQS was born?). Give yourself the first week of every month to create freely. Let go of marketing distractions and the pressure to revise. Instead, find your happiest writing self and put your wonderful words down on paper. This is your week to indulge in creating. (See Amanda’s post http://www.24carrotwriting.com/-blog/writing-a-purposeful-luxury. )
Week Two – Revise
During the second week of every month you will concentrate on “R” – Revise. This is a week where you become your own critical editor and with a ruthless purpose, cut, paste and re-imagine an existing manuscript.
I recommend that you pull out a manuscript you’ve let steep for a few weeks or more. Don’t pick the new piece you worked on during week one. That gem needs time away from your brain before you can look at it with a fresh perspective. Besides, that writing was your major accomplishment last week, don’t trash it already! Enjoy that victory. Pick a different manuscript to trash .... err, I mean careful revise.
Week Three – Query
Week three of every month should be set aside for “Q” – Query or Inquiry. This is the week for either writing query letters to agents and/or editors or doing some research or inquiry into what agents or editors may be a good fit for you and your manuscript.
If you have a submission ready manuscript, and you’ve done your research and found an agent or editor that would like your piece, use this week to write a query letter. However, if your manuscripts still need a little R&R (rest and revision), this is the perfect week to troll the webpages and blogs of agents and editors to discover who they are and what they want.
While weeks one and two of WRQS focused on you and your writing, week three is a time to look outward and find your publishing match.
Week Four - Submit
You will never be published if you don’t submit your work. Use the last week of every month to put yourself and/or your writing out into the universe by making it an “S” – Submit week. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
The biggest leap is to submit a manuscript to an agent or editor. A word of caution, don’t do this until your manuscript has already received your best WRQ (work); write, revise, query. If your manuscript isn’t ready for submission, use this week to send your manuscript to a critique group.
If you don't have a manuscript that you are ready to share, you can embracing the “S” – Submit week by marketing yourself. Work on a blog or your webpage or open yourself up by taking a class or workshop. Either way, the theme for this week is to put yourself out there and be ready for some feedback. This is your take-a-leap week.
Go ahead. You can do it. Next week the month starts over and you can snuggle back into the writing cocoon and “W” – Write because you are back to week one!
The WRQS method asks you to focus on a different aspect of your writing endeavors each week of the month, BUT you should be writing every week. The WRQS is a way to manage the balance of a successful writing career.
I hope you join me in giving your writing the WRQS this year. We can celebrate at the end of each month with a treat (what we at 24 Carrot Writing call a carrot) - like an ice cream sundae. Just be sure to order it with the WRQS - you earned it!