Desperate Writers

To keep from turning off those who can publish you, you must not be desperate. 

If we want to make a career out of writing fiction, we need to be professional. Our words and conduct have consequences. Positive or negative. The last thing we want to be is desperate. James Scott Bell shares with us some stories about desperate writers. Their actions are shocking, but I have to wonder what was going on in their mind. And I have to wonder, would I ever unwittingly do that? Yikes! People who know me, know that I’m an introvert and tend to put my foot in my mouth. A lot. Thus I’ve sought to improve my social skills. Practice, practice, remove foot, practice, practice, practice… 🙂

Back to our topic. Being professional is not limited to just our appearance and conduct with others. It begins with our attitude, how we view others, ourselves and our projects. It’s about being teachable, keeping our priorities and maintaining a balance in our lives. It’s keeping that ego in check. We study the art, craft and business of writing and apply what we’ve learned. It’s a constant cycle of seek, study, learn apply. And don’t forget to give. It keeps you sharp and you will reap what you sow.

Many of us think hard about what to wear, what to say, and how to act when we are to meet an editor or agent at a conference, but do we put a lot of thought into our social media presence? What are we tweeting? Are we thinking about the people who read our status updates? Friends, family, current/future employers… What does our on-line presence say about us?

I’ve recently discovered Kristin Lamb, the author of We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. She recently blogged about the author’s online presence. Deadly Doses: Politics, Religion and the Author’s Platform. She brings up some good point to consider. Her blog has a wealth of information. If you get a chance, check it out. Warrior Writer. Ooh, I like that. 🙂

So, me faithful comrades what say you? Have you thought about your on-line presence? What have you done or are you doing for professional development?


4 thoughts on “Desperate Writers

  1. C.L. Dyck says:

    It was recently made clear to me by a disgruntled (now ex) colleague that I am a wannabe pseudo-professional who tries too hard to impress, because I drew a line about insensitive handling of one of my writers in a team environment. I had put up with the behaviour for a year towards myself, and heard increasing stories of people quietly moving away from the individual.

    I found it fascinating that the relationship was over the moment I set that behavioural boundary, and that massive volunteer time inputs on my part were so easily tossed out of consideration.

    I think there’s a lot, a lot, a lot to be said for professionalism. For one, it doesn’t burn bridges. It keeps the conversation open for accountability instead of creating standoffs, because there’s a larger-scale mutual goal established. Mistakes can happen and be resolved when a foundation of good faith is laid through attitude and behaviour. To me, that’s really what it is: presenting an ongoing objective of good faith.

    And that’s tremendously important. It ensures that the people involved, though they may be there for their fair share of benefit, are not there for just their own benefit. They are also there to provide fair benefit to the other party and avoid exploiting or misusing others’ creative, financial and intellectual assets. Those are all business assets in publishing, and each person (or company) has a right to guard and invest their own as they see fit.

    • J. L. Mbewe says:

      You’ve said it very well. Thanks for your input!

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience with your colleague.

      • C.L. Dyck says:

        Thanks…It’s actually a less big deal (my bad grammar!) than it sounds like in stark text. These things happen sometimes. I was pretty much amused by the sheer drama, though not by the passive-aggressive way the opinion was conveyed to me. (Speaking of a bad use of a personal blog.)

        At any rate, it makes a really good example of what these standards of conduct are there for. If people are good to each other in the first place, there’s no need to state boundaries so definitively, and things don’t spiral out like that.

        The best people I work with, defend my boundaries *for* me….they refuse to let me do them favors, and look after my time and energy better than I myself tend to.

        Which, by the way, is fantastic immunization against letting oneself get mistreated. In that sense, professionalism is also a tremendous gift to those around us. It imparts value to them and helps them recognize and reject attempts at exploitation–which are sadly frequent in publishing.

        So, yeah, I’m pretty much a total advocate of what you’re discussing in this post. 🙂

  2. […] an aside to that, Jennette wrote recently about professionalism, and I commented that it’s important because it ensures a mutual goal […]

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