"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

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.

5. Diversify.

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.




  1. Jennifer,

    Excellent tips, as usual. I plan to set more specific goals for next year, as well as diversify. I just love how I learn from every post on your blog.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM


    ...And I just love that you are a great motivator and part of my blog family! :-)Thanks!

  3. Thanks for bringing up Strategy Jennifer,

    Especially asking about the - Game Plan - and why to blog. for me Blogging helps me to learn more about different types of writing. It also helps to exersise my thought expressing skills.

    When my moves would make to much sense I would probably be doing what everybody else is doing blindly. (Btw I wrote a tiny little ebook that's related to - Vision -)

  4. H.P.,

    Glad to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your ebook.

  5. I would say that this is an excellent strategy! Thanks for sharing your insight with us.

    Happy Birthday! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

  6. Karen,

    Your perspective is always valued and appreciated here. Much thanks, (and for the b.d. wishes). :-)

  7. Concerning number 6, making a clear cut game plan, I have 3 year goals, 1 year goals, 6 month goals and weekly and daily goals. I've made a list of everything I think I can reasonably accomplish in the next three years,and try to prioritize them. Give yourself some leeway around your goals, in case the cat starts puking and your sister has another skunk emergency she needs help with. (It happens)

    One more thought, kind of concerning #5, about diversifying your talents. Not all of us can do it. Because of bad fatigue problem, I've learned I have to narrow what I do down to blogging and writing on my WIPs, or I can't accomplish anything. I get too tired and too wired (if that makes sense) if I try to do too many things. There are a lot of potential writers with some sort of problem that won't allow us to keep up career wise with the Jones. I've learned that I can't compare what I can accomplish with what other people can, or it's too overwhelming and defeating.Favorite saying: "The best you can do is the best you can do."

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 30, 2012 at 4:55 PM


    You bring up some good points. Thanks for sharing them here.

    I appreciate your time and feedback.

  9. Another thing is to be consistent in your efforts, whatever they are. Like you said, don't let rejections stop you for reaching your goal. And definitely don't let others define you. When people ask you what type of writer you are, that is your opportunity to toot your own horn (without ego). If you don't CONFIDENTLY let people know who are and what you do, you will not be taken seriously.

    1. Marcie,

      So true--consistency is key. Thanks for your thoughts.