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Rated: E · Letter/Memo · Contest Entry · #2179906
This is to get me back on track, having shelved what I believe to be a viable project.
Dear Me:

870 words

Do you remember when you were very young and would take such care over the choice of a birthday card for your aunt or grandma? They always went into raptures over the "lovely words". Yes, the sentimental verse made you feel nauseous, but it made them happy. That's what writing is all about, really - keeping the reader happy.

It was your childhood memories of choosing greetings cards that gave rise to the germ of an idea. A lot of people, especially seniors, love to make their own greetings cards. They're not necessarily adept at stringing words together. If you were to relieve them of that task, both they and the recipients of their cards would be very happy readers.

Happy readers generate financial rewards for writers. With that in mind, you decided to write a collection of copyright-free verses for paper craft enthusiasts to use in their own cards. The working title you came up with was Greetings for All. The plan was to produce your own printed booklet and publish the work in e-book form also.

It's a great idea and totally original, so why have you left it so long to put it into practice? A three-year gestation period is ridiculous. If you were an elephant, you could have given birth to two baby elephants in that time.

You began by listing possible categories and even wrote a few verses. There the project stalled because you were completely carried away with making an extensive list of topics. You need to get back on track before you either shuffle off this mortal coil or shuffle off to the rest home.

Your writing career took off when you won a literary competition organized by a local philanthropist, Valentine Card. Yes, it was his real name, if you remember. Surely that had to be an omen.

Humor is one of your main strengths, so you need to include plenty of humorous verses. After all, you've won the weekly caption competition in a national newspaper no fewer than seven times to date. Also, you've won prizes in numerous minor poetry competitions. Sadly, the major ones have always escaped you. That's probably because you have a trivial mind, but trivial is good when it comes to light verse.

Your marketing skills are strong. After all, you've sold several articles on marketing and written instructional pieces on writing press releases. When you were working for a regional newspaper, it was part of your job to pick out the gold from the dross, so you know exactly what works.

You've inquired about advertising in craft magazines and even written a press release to launch your proposed booklet. It begins: "Prize-winning poet writes verses for craft lovers ...." It's straight to the point, but how can you possibly market something that doesn't yet exist? Madness!

Well, I've reminded you of the strengths you can build on, but you've no call to be complacent. It's vital you begin to address your weaknesses. There are two major hurdles facing you.

Firstly, if you're going to produce an e-book, you need to develop your digital skills. You're not stupid, just impatient. You bought a book on writing and publishing your own e-book. Did you ever read it? No, you certainly didn't.

Dare to take a step outside the Steam Age. It may surprise you to learn computers don't bite. There's no point in trying to make your age an excuse either. You're seventy-six, not ninety-six. In fact, you're seventy-six going on twelve, so take a bit of that youthful exuberance, combine it with your considerable life experience, and use it to give yourself some motivation.

The biggest obstacle of all to your success is that you're a world-class procrastinator, never doing today what you can put off till next week - or next year, if you think you can get away with it. How many years do you have left to waste, anyway? You've never had a problem meeting a deadline. It's only when there's no given time limit that you behave as if you have all the time in the world. You need to set your own deadline and stick rigidly to it.

Here's the plan: make a list of categories that you intend to write verses for, keeping it short to begin with. Start with Birthday and Compliments of the Season (it saves offending any religious groups). There must be a section for Valentine's Day, in memory of your old benefactor. Mother's Day and Father's Day would probably complete the list. I doubt if craft enthusiasts would want to create their own sympathy cards - that's probably best left to the professionals.

When you've written your list, get on with writing verses at a rate of at least two a day. According to the length of your verses, two or three should be enough to fill a page. Decide how many pages you want in your booklet, then you'll have a rough idea of how many days it will take to write it. Once it's written, you can begin the publication process.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Get this thing finished -
It's long overdue.

You'll get lots of love and support from:
Yours truly,

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