Tag Archives: Sage Cohen

Guest post by Sage Cohen, author of “The Productive Writer” & “Writing the Life Poetic”


Planning for the Future Starts with Celebrating the Past
A guest post from author Sage Cohen

Happy New Year, writers! I hope this finds you invigorated about the year ahead.

I believe that there is no better launching pad into the great, blank page of 2011 than a thorough inventory of all that went right in 2010. With this in mind, I’m going to ask a series questions to guide you in recounting your many successes this past year! I encourage you to take your time and be as thorough as you can in listing every, single thing you appreciate about yourself and what you’ve accomplished in each dimension of your writing life–even if the best you can do is admire that you stopped burning your rejection letters. Deal?

  • What was most fun, exhilarating or rewarding in your writing life this year?
  • What obstacles did you face and overcome?
  • What relationships did you build, repair or retire, and how has this contributed to your writing life?
  • What did you let go of (habits, relationships, attitudes, clutter) that was no longer serving you?
  • What did you read that taught you something about your craft, your platform or how to take your writing and publishing forward?
  • What did you earn or what opportunity did you land that felt prosperous?
  • How has your confidence and/or craft improved?
  • What have you learned about social media that is serving your writing life?
  • What strategies worked best for being effective with your time?
  • How did you nurture and sustain your well being–in mind, body, spirit?
  • Who has praised your writing or teaching or facilitating? What did they say and how did it give you a new sense of appreciation for yourself and your work?
  • What did you learn about your writing rhythms: time of day to write, managing procrastination, how and when to revise, making use of slim margins of time, etc.?
  • Who did you help, and who helped you?
  • What did you learn about yourself from rejection, and how has it helped your writing, your confidence or your submissions approach develop?
  • What did you do that terrified you–but you did it any way? And how did that benefit your life and your writing?
  • How were you patient?
  • When and how were you successful at juggling the competing demands of family, writing, work, and everything else in your full life?
  • Who did you forgive? Who forgave you?

Because it’s so easy to keep our minds trained to the loop of an unsolvable problem or two, you may be surprised at how many triumphs are revealed as you answer these questions. Every risk you took, skill you fortified and skin you shed in the service of your writing life is a foothold in the future you are aspiring to create. Nice work!

About Sage Cohen

Sage Cohen is the author of The Productive Writer (just released from Writer’s Digest Books); Writing the Life Poetic and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. She blogs about all that is possible in the writing life at pathofpossibility.com, where you can: Download a FREE “Productivity Power Tools” workbook companion to The Productive Writer. Get the FREE, 10-week email series, “10 Ways to Boost Writing Productivity” when you sign up to receive email updates. Sign up for the FREE, Writing the Life Poetic e-zine. Plus, check out the events page for the latest free teleclasses, scholarships and more.

FREE iPoem contest


My friend Sage is hosting “The Life Poetic iPoem Contest” with lots of great prizes!

Submit up to 3 poems; 20 lines max per poem; July 4 deadline; Entry and info HERE:


Like to write poems? Want to win books?


Like to write poems? Want to win books? My friend Sage is doing her Amazon Spike Day on March 17 for her new book, “Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry” (Writer’s Digest Books). You can also win a a consultation with Sage. All this is on top of the fact that you’re getting a FABULOUS book! Here’s all the info:         http://tinyurl.com/aezbo5

10 QUESTIONS FOR…author platform guru Christina Katz


10 Questions for Christina Katz, author platform gurugetknowncover1cmkheadshot08writermamacover

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books). She started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on “Good Morning America.” Christina teaches e-courses on platform development and writing nonfiction for publication. Her students are published in national magazines and land agents and book deals. Christina has been encouraging reluctant platform builders via her e-zines for five years, has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. A popular speaker at writing conferences, writing programs, libraries, and bookstores, she hosts the Northwest Author Series in Wilsonville, Oregon. She is also the author of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (Writer’s Digest Books).

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Becoming visible is more crucial to landing a book deal than ever, according to agents and editors in every facet of the publishing industry. Simply churning out a book isn’t enough anymore. Aspiring authors need to develop a platform in order to get noticed. Get Known Before the Book Deal empowers writers to take charge of their writing careers and partner with agents, editors and publishers instead of thinking that someone else is going to handle self-promotion for them. Most self-promotion books for writers pick up with the book deal. No other book dials self-promotion all the way back to how to get started. My intention for Get Known was that it would be the book every writer would want to read before pitching a book. The strategies in Get Known spark platform development ideas that will increase any writer’s chances of writing a saleable proposal and landing a book deal whether they pitch the book in-person or by query.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

The usual suspects…like many writers, I love books, words, and listening to stories. I had a romance with books before I was old enough to read romance, which of course I did when I was a teen. I think I just wanted to be able to be that magician…that writer conjuring worlds. When I was about eleven or twelve, I was completely hooked by that feeling of being transported by writing words on the page. Now I know that this is called “the fictional dream.” I always think of that as the beginning.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

On any given day, I am sitting at my kitchen table with my laptop working away. That’s because I’m in what I call “book-promotion mode.” For some reason, I feel more “social” sitting at the kitchen table. When I’m working on a book, I move back into my office, shut the door, and work on my desktop computer only. I start each day after my daughter is off to school, finish each day by dinner, and try not to work on the weekends. I don’t know if I have a typical daily rhythm as much as I have a typical weekly rhythm. On Monday’s I focus on marketing, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I focus on writing, on Wednesdays I teach, and on Fridays I consult and answer e-mail requests. Sometimes I even get to go out for lunch. Of course, traveling messes up my entire schedule and it usually takes me about a week to recover. I am a mom, after all, so home life pretty much revolves around me, and if I’m not here, chaos ensues.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Well, the kitchen table is next to sliding glass door with nice light pouring in. But I confess, the table itself is currently littered with stuff and won’t get picked up until dinnertime. (I’m sorry, did you want the truth or the rosy fantasy?) Taking the dogs out will take priority over any chores that need to be done, which can wait until after my daughter gets home from school. My office is actually clean right now but that’s primarily because I’m not in it much right now. On a more playful note, I rearrange and redecorate my office ever year or so. Otherwise, I find my old systems don’t work any more and I feel bored and restless. Someone should tell corporations that it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to improve morale.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I like my books (wink) but here’s what I typically recommend to beginning nonfiction writers, who are looking to kick off a writing career: The Elements of Style by Strunk & White Ready, Aim, Specialize by Kelly James Enger The Beginning Writer’s Answer Book edited by Jane Friedman

6. Tell us 3 interesting things about you

I was painfully shy as a child. I do just fine now but it takes work. I still get over-stimulated easily especially at a conference or a big event.

I like astrology. I am a Sagitarius with Leo rising, and a Virgo moon.

I met my husband in a break-into-freelance writing workshop taught by you! You were Wendy Burt back then.

7. Favorite quote

I have accepted fear as a part of life – specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. ~Erica Jong

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part of being a writer is being my own boss. There is no worst part because every down side I could think of had an up side. However, the down side of my best part is the 100% responsibility that comes with it. I don’t mind the responsibility but I’m not sure everyone would feel the same way.

9. Advice for other writers

Here’s my top six tips on how to have a successful writing career:

Learn nonfiction-writing basics, especially how to write short and tight. These skills come in handy no matter what genre you write. 

Learn how to sell your writing by practicing written and verbal pitching skills (or read your book, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters from Writer’s Digest Books).

Figure out your topic, your niche within your topic, and your best audiences so you can focus your energy and save time.

Learn basic self-promotion skills for writers, including how to promote yourself online.

Get out in the world regularly and learn ways to bring your expertise to others, like teaching, speaking, and consulting.

Create community around your work. Partner with impeccable others. And don’t get sucked into other people’s agendas for your time unless it’s win-win-win.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I once had a student who took every class I offered over the span of a couple of years only to discover that writing nonfiction articles was really not her thing. But in the process, she discovered what her thing was (it was and is primarily poetry). She also discovered that she had already made strides in her platform development and was closer to a traditional book deal than she might have thought. True, she still had a book proposal to write and an editor to negotiate the details of the book with, but by refreshing her nonfiction writing skills, she was able to see, name, and claim the nonfiction platform she had been building all along and alchemize her thoughts on the topic into a how-to book and an e-mail class, Poetry for the People. You can now order Sage Cohen’s book, Writing the Life Poetic from Writer’s Digest Books.

Where can people buy your books?

My books, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow Your Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids are both from Writer’s Digest and are available everywhere. You are welcome to order them through http://www.christinakatz.com, if you like. You can also view my video trailer for Get Known on my site. I especially appreciate it when folks ask their local libraries to carry my books so that they can be available to everyone everywhere. I do a lot to serve my writing community on an ongoing basis. I publish three distinct e-zines you can subscribe to: Get Known Groove, Writers on the Rise and The Writer Mama. For folks who live near Wilsonville, Oregon, you are welcome to sign up for calendar alerts for The Northwest Author Series. Or you can sign up for all of my offerings in one fell swoop at www.christinakatz.com.

New online poetry class with author Sage Cohen! Scholarships available!

Hi folks,
I just got this email from my good friend Sage Cohen. She has a new book coming out with Writer’s Digest called, “Writing the Life Poetic” (about how to write poetry) and she’s now offering a class! Check it out:
Have you always wanted to write a poem but didn’t know how to begin? Maybe you’re already writing poetry and want to connect with your muse more often or brush up on your poetic prowess? 

I teach a six-week email class called Poetry for the People that takes poetry off of its academic pedestal, making it accessible to and enjoyable for everyone. Feel free to follow the link below to learn more about the class that starts on March 11–and the scholarship I’m offering, with an application deadline of 2/15. (Scroll down to see info about both the class and the scholarship.)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be creating a Poetry for the People group page and will invite you to join. If you join, you’ll get occasional announcements about future classes. If you don’t, you won’t be hearing another peep from me about Poetry for the People!

Peace and poetry,