You’re a writer, an independent contractor. Therefore, when you’re hired, you’re not an employee.
Please take this to heart however: you need to be BETTER at what you do than any of the employees a company has on staff.
I like this article from the WSJ, Must-Have Job Skills in 2013, which talks about skills employees need to have. They’re essential for writers, too. The article suggests that personal branding is a skill:
Human-resources executives scour blogs, Twitter and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn when researching candidates, and it’s important that they like what they find.
“That’s your brand, that’s how you represent yourself,” says Peter Handal, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, a Hauppauge, N.Y., provider of workplace-training services. “If you post something that comes back to haunt you, people will see that.”
Do you have the three skills referenced in the article?
* Clear communications
* Personal branding
Clarity: essential for writers
Clarity is vital for a writer. Your writing means zero if it’s not understood. Indeed, confusing communications may be harmful to your client — and to you. In some cases, writing which is unclear can raise legal issues.
When I’m working with new copywriters, some are frisky, and want to show how “creative” they are. This is rarely a good thing. Metaphor and analogy are wonderful for creative writing, but copywriting is writing to sell — you’d better be clear about what you’re saying.
On a lighter note, historical novelist Christina Dodd writes about being unintentionally funny:
I wrote a scene in INTO THE FLAME where the hero sees the heroine for the first time in three years, and startles her. The line I wrote was, “She didn’t jump, he’d give her that. But Firebird Wilder had always had balls of steel, and she showed them now as she coolly turned to face him.”
Personal branding builds your platform
It’s essential that you build your platform (readership.)
I’ve hesitated to discuss branding on this blog, and elsewhere, because branding is such an individual thing. I get into that with my personal coaching students. There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to branding.
Platform however, is easy to discuss; every writer needs that.
Have computer, will write: you should be ready to write anything, any time
So, the final attribute, according to the WSJ, is flexibility. That’s always been an essential for a successful writing career, no matter what you write.
I started out as a romance novelist, and the first novel partials I sent out to publishing houses were all for historical fiction. However, the first publishing contracts I signed were for contemporary romances.
When my editor asked me to write a contemporary series, my reaction was: huh??? I had to check with the editor that she really did mean CONTEMPORARY… She did. I have no idea what made her think I could write contemporaries, after all those historicals, but of course I was flexible, and did indeed write the contemporaries.
Your clients constantly ask you to write material you’ve never considered writing before. Indeed, although you may write 1,000 projects, each one of those projects is unique in its own way. Writing isn’t typing. You’re constantly asked to write new material, things you’ve never written, and may never even have heard of. You do it, because you’re intelligent, and flexible.
If you want to make some New Year’s resolutions next January 1, you won’t go wrong if you resolve to be clear and flexible, and work on your branding.
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