"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

3 Reasons Why you Should be a Follower!

It's often said that those of us that are creative artists dance to a different drummer! I definitely agree, with a smile.

Ever since I can remember, I've been somewhat different from my peers, either in perspective, actions, or tastes.

In fact, I wore my hair in a Jherri Curl way after it was considered fashionable, (and even amidst it, had more than my share of male suitors):-)

My desire for individuality goes even further.
If one of my friends has something in her home or in her style of expression that I admire, I extend my compliments, yet I deliberately avoid duplicating it whenever possible.

Still there are times when savvy folks realize that you should "follow" others, and in so doing shorten your learning curve, expand your knowledge base, and become better as artists and as individuals.

Think about it. We follow recipes because someone has already done the sifting, and measuring, and the combining of perfect ingredients so that we can bypass the trial and error of it all and prepare appetizing food that nourishes our loved ones.

We follow instruction manuals because someone has already "assembled the pieces" and devised the blue print for success.

The same principles can apply to good writing and having a successful, "profitable" career in publishing.

Here are 3 good reasons why you should be a follower.

1. Most successful leaders will attest that you can't be an effective leader until you learn to be a follower first! Following doesn't mean being a carbon copy of someone else, nor does it necessarily assume that one person is "better" than the other.
For example, when I first decided to do my own Blog, I studied and "followed" examples of what was already out in the blogosphere. I looked at what worked for others and what didn't, from my own personal perspective. I incorporated what I found useful and dismissed what didn't appeal or apply to me. You should too.

2. Following shows a certain amount of confidence, practicality and business smarts. It says that you're secure and mature enough to know when you can use some outside help. Are you with me here? :-)
Rest assured that it's not just a matter of who you follow, but what you follow that matters.
In fact, in my own career, even with many publishing credits under my belt, many mortgage payments made, and more than a decade of "on the job experience," I "follow" the advice of folks who are "heavy hitters" and whose success I want to one day achieve. And my writing is all the better for it!

3. Following improves your listening, interaction and comprehension skills. Teachers often use "follow the directions" exercises and assignments to teach students to improve their communication skills and learn the importance of sequential order and reasoning.

So, if you want to go the "distance" in your writing career, don't reinvent the wheel!
Know that it's okay to follow in others' footsteps and still leave your individual imprint on the world of arts.

After all, aren't we all, to some degree following the styles and collective genius of Dickens, e.e.Cummings, Barrett-Browning, Brooks and other creative greats?

You'll never be a "leader" among men, if you can't be a "follower" first.

Let me know your thoughts on this...
How has following helped your career? Or do you think it's wrong to follow?


  1. Nice post, Jennifer. I think it's essential especially for writers to follow others. No one can make it on their own. Big business does it by following their associates as well as their competitors. As writers we can learn from them.

  2. Thanks so much, Angela. I definitely can say that I like to learn from others. No one individual has all the answers.

    Hope you'll visit Pen and Prosper again soon.:-)