Thursday, June 28, 2012
Confessions of a Strategic Writer...
Many moons ago, a good writer, proficient in the King’s English, and equipped with minimal research skills, could write his own ticket.
Not any more.
‘Dem days played out with eight-track tapes and two-dollar-a-gallon gas.
Fast forward to the age of the Internet.
There are more publishing options, easier entry, blogging.
Add to that, a troubled economy where more folks are seeking additional sources of income, and the competition has become as fierce as professional sports!
Being good now only allows you courtside access.
While being smart allows you to score more and stay in the game.
With this in mind, here are a few timely tips to help you become a strategic writer (or blogger), destined for a winning future.
1. Govern your time like you govern your money.
Do you suffer from the B.B.B.S. Syndrome?
That’s an acronym I created that stands for “busy, but broke syndrome”.
Many writers are.
Their output greatly exceeds their income. They lack proper prioritization skills. They spend too much time “socializing” in social media forums, and blog hopping with nothing to show for their efforts.
Perhaps you’re one of them. Word to the wise: If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make (cents).
Of course not all your efforts have to materialize in making money. But they should minimally enhance your progress. In the immediate future.
2. Be discerning about the writing advice you receive.
These days, many folks are claiming “expert” status. From relationship experts, to parenting experts, to health experts, to writing experts.
Don’t believe the hype.
Before you apply the advice of others, or consider their words as “gospel”, research their background and their achievements. What is their educational background? Their experience? Their success rate? Their work ethic?
“The proof is in the pudding.”
3. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your excellence.
In other words, be open to improvement. Know your weaknesses. Don't let rejections reduce you.
Take counsel from those who have traveled where you’re trying to venture.
Take pride in creating quality work that leaves a lasting legacy.
4. Invest in yourself.
Professional writing is a business. Bottom line.
Yet, I am often amazed at how resistant many writers are to spending money on a class to hone their skill. Or paid membership in a writers’ organization to add to their networking opportunities. Or professional business cards, or an online site. Stop the madness! Like most things in life, you’ll get out of your career what you put into it.
I learned the hard way. When I started out, I primarily wrote poetry. Of course, I don’t have to tell you how far that got me. :-) Many years later, I have built a lasting career based upon solid experience as a feature writer, columnist, paid blogger, ghost writer, writing coach, and editor. I have learned how to assess odds for publication, how to position my work, and how to deal with editors of varying temperaments and backgrounds. And you should too. Much like in the corporate arena, the more you know, the further you’ll go.
6. Have a clear cut, common sense game plan.
In other words, where would you like to be with your writing next year? How will you achieve your creative goals? Why do you blog? What do you hope to get out of it? Any deadlines designated? Assess then act accordingly. Make sure your moves make sense. Don't just do what everybody else is doing blindly.
Follow these six savvy tips to stand out and stay in the (freelancing)game.
IMAGE CREDIT: SPFF