Be a Pro

Tonight, I welcome a new class of writers who are willing to learn and do whatever it takes to position themselves in the marketplace. In the Business of Writing class, we’ll be starting with the three main jobs of every writer. Writing Tip for Today: In my opinion, these three jobs are essential to any writer who wants to publish. Knowing them can’t hurt even the most reluctant writer.

  • Creator. Writing must always remain job one. If you are still working on the same article for five years, you’re not really writing, you’re dabbling. A pro sets up an reasonable writing schedule and sticks to it. A pro keeps an idea file. A pro spends most of the writing time with BIC (butt in chair). And a pro is always honing writing skills, always learning new things. When you decide you’ve arrived, beware. There’s always more to learn.
  • Editor. As a pro you must learn to self-edit. It’s been said that “writing is rewriting,” and for the most part, it’s true. Some writers love creating and hate rewriting, others have trouble getting started but adore the revisions. Get a few good references and practice. Learn how to use Track Changes in your Word program. Adopt high standards, so you don’t submit anything less than your very best.
  • Promoter. This is the part that scares a lot of writers. We panic, thinking we’ll never be able to do this: we don’t have thousands to sink into hiring a publicist or buying ads, we’re shy, we’re busy, we’re Luddites and don’t know all these new-fangled tech things and on and on. Stop right now. Take a deep cleansing breath. Word of mouth is still considered the best marketing tool. You have a mouth (I know I do–and how). Use it to help yourself. The social media stuff may look intimidating but there are simple ways to link all this together so that it isn’t time-consuming. As a colleague said recently, “It’s not the size of your audience that matters, but finding the right audience.” Start promoting yourself (networking) by listing three types of people who might fit your audience to a tee. Maybe it’s women 18-45 who are evangelical Christians and who love dogs. Or it could be women 18-45 who are parents of teenagers and live in the Southwest. Who’s YOUR audience?

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

1 comment on “Be a Pro

  1. I agree that presenting ourselves as professionals is very important. I know when I read something an author has written (say on a blog – somewhere other than their novel …) I can’t help but judge them a bit if it comes across in a poorly written way. I’ve noticed this especially in reviews. When I write a review I try to make it sound professional, but I have seen HORRIBLE reviews out there than really do not add credibility to the person writing them.

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