• Tammy Layman-Hall

My 5 Ps: Pitch, Preserve, Pursue, Polish and Publish

Being overwhelmed with ideas and content requires a strategy

One at a time.

That's the only way to get through it. All those story ideas. All those boxes of journals brimming with brilliant stories stored in your attic.

Yet, you can't stop writing. The ideas keep flowing and flooding out of you.

I can relate. I began keeping journals at eleven. Sadly, I didn't know the next steps on how to make money from my writing.

So, now like you may be, I am facing a real estate issue. The journals take up the valuable storage space. My children are old enough to read (and have no qualms about invading privacy). A lot of what is in there, doesn't need to be spread about the town. So, I need to employ My 6 P's: Peruse, Purge, Preserve, Pitch, Pursue, Polish and Pitch.

Peruse: Grab a small stack to start somewhere. If you're online, select one folder. Take a quick glance through the content. Ask yourself:

- Is the content interesting? a story? an article? activity? anything readers can use?

- Is it current? and relevant?

- Is it memorabilia? scrapbook material?

A note to your future self: Create a table of contents at the beginning of your journal to speed this job. Maybe schedule this as a regular monthly task. Great ideas I didn't do.

Purge: Toss what doesn't make the cut. For me, I procrastinated for years on this task. I knew it was going to take a chunk of time to do. So, I'm facing the stack of journals that I know, just know, are filled with the next best sellers. Remember, the spiral notebook binding needs to be separated from the cardstock cover and paper for it to be recycled. Or you could ceremoniously burn your journals.

Preserve: Set aside those handwritten diary entries of note. I rip them out of handwritten journals. I tend to keep big deal events where I noted the firsts: Steps, births, school days, trips abroad, and the like. For me, I rip out the relevant bits and stash them into the photo bins.

Pursue: If the content passes the "is it interesting?" test, ask yourself if it is worth pursuing? Will the topic keep you interested long enough to polish it up? If yes, then keep it. For me, I add the idea to my spreadsheet.

Polish: For me, digital content is closer to the polish stage than a lot of my handwritten notes. Still, those drafts may not be worth the time now to polish up for editors. If the topic is off trend or dated, I move it out. For example, I have many draft articles on online learning and working remote pre-pandemic that's no longer relevant to the market. If the idea is worth the time to polish for editors, move it over to your to do list. Polish it. Research markets.

Pitch. Prepare the query letter. Write the packet. Then, start sending out those pitches.

In sum, if you're like me, there are too many ideas to pursue. For years, I've been overwhelmed by the number of ideas, activities, stories and articles bouncing around in my head. Using my 6 P's helps ground the process of shining up the ideas which can put food on my table.

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