Poetry for Southern California


Alaina Alexander Guest Editorial










A New Reality for Writers

By Alaina R. Alexander

During my adolescence, I spent hours filling notebooks with  essays, plays  and short stories. I had nary a thought in regard to being published or what it would take to effectively market my work. Now, in my thirties I have become consumed with marketing and submitting my work to publishers. These days one cannot simply edit work in terms of style and grammar.  Style and grammar are only one part of the equation when it comes to getting essays published. Essayists are not simply just writers anymore. They have become a brand of sorts.

Increasingly, more and more writers find themselves juggling interviews, guest lectures and consulting gigs. All in the hope of promoting their work. Ironically, writing becomes more and more difficult to do because one’s time is consumed by marketing and publicity aspects of the publishing world.

A few months ago, I began noticing that more of my time seemed to be going into updating my website, conducting research for my online radio show and reviewing submissions guidelines than into actually writing. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to change the way I approached writing. The old school way of just sitting down and writing a story is in conflict with my present reality. 

Below are a few techniques that I have adopted:

1. Outlining
I have started to actively outline the synopsis of my short stories and plays. Outlining has given me the opportunity to work on various projects without losing my place.

2. Editing
After I finish the first draft of a story, I hold off on editing it for a couple of weeks. It gives me an opportunity to review it with fresh eyes.

3. Structured  Internet Research
I limit my  Internet research time to one hour a day. Otherwise, I have been known to go on Internet surfing safaris to far off websites that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

4.  Adhering to a Schedule
During the weeknights, I conduct research for my online radio show. I do a majority of my writing and marketing of my essays on the weekend.

So far, I have noticed a definite increase in my productivity and a decrease in my stress level as a result of using the above-mentioned techniques.

Alaina R. Alexander is an essayist and host of  an online radio show entitled: “UNOBSTRUCTED”. Currently, she is hard at work on a couple of short stories and a book of one-act plays.