For those of you who enjoy writing, I’m sure you’ve heard of many of the stigmas that authors face from time-to-time. From being accused of anti-social behavior to not living in the “real world,” as artists who write for entertainment or for business, it’s sometimes good to consider what you’re getting into. Many famous authors and writers weren’t necessarily remembered for their works, but because they had a personality and were relatively quirky. Some personality tics can help you sell your work, because you’re creating a persona to tie into your work. However, there are others attributes, that we all have, that aren’t so great which can really put a damper into your ability to get work.
Here are a few tips to help avoid the stigmas to earn yourself a professional reputation, and the ability to find more work:
- Keep up with Technology: In related posts, I had talked about how to use your technology wisely. From avoiding flame wars to ensuring you speak grammatically correct, your command of technology and computers is important in this “cyber age.” I know how frustrating it can be when new things come out on the market (Hint: Microsoft Vista or new forms of PHP programming), so consider spending a few dollars at your local community college and sign up for a four-to-six week course for whatever software you’re weakest on. They’re not that expensive, and you’ll gain confidence in your abilities as you go along.This link is a veritable writer’s toolbox perfect for crafting some savvy online tools to promote yourself as well. You’ll need to sift through the links, but the descriptions are pretty easy-to-read and you’ll be able to quickly ascertain what will work for you.
- Join your Local Business Organizations: If you’re like me, you probably work a full-time job and then write in your spare time or, you spend a lot of time looking for work to keep up with bills as you grow your freelancing career. Time is valuable to you, especially when you’re trying to move forward in your career. I highly recommend looking for local business organizations in your area to network, and also join your university’s alumni association.
- Start (or Join) a Book Club: It’s very easy for your social skills to weaken as you spend more and more time in front of a computer. One way to hone those skills, while getting something out of it for yourself, is to join (or start) a face-to-face discussion about a particular book once a month. Not only will it force you to read something outside of your normal scope, it will help you diplomatically improve your debate skills and get that intellectual discussion I know you crave.
- Work Hard, Play Hard: In another tip, I had talked about the importance of play. I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember to balance your writing with getting off the computer and enjoying yourself. It’s so easy to fall in the trap of burn-out or worse, writer’s depression. Please, please, please reward yourself for all the good that you do in this field by spoiling yourself through fun. When you’re happy and well-adjusted, other non-writers will pick up on that and your business will grow.
- Balance Promotion with Common Sense: As I had stated above, the worse thing you can be accused of as a writer is being dysfunctional or flighty, because it implies you’re not reliable, so a lot of the time we have to work around that by showing how unique–not crazy–and healthy we are. If you have a decent photo of yourself (make sure you ask someone else if you’re not sure) post that on your blog or website.
Are there things that you do to promote yourself that I haven’t listed here? I invite you to share your tips, and I will follow up with another blog post in a few weeks crediting your advice. Be sure to include your website or blog if you are interested.