Wow Me!

You’re a creative soul, right? You put yourself out there as a professional who can craft excellent prose, mind the grammatical details, and fine-tune existing copy. So why is there so little creativity in your attempts to secure work?

Once I had to hire some subcontractor work for a massive project. I put out an ad and asked for very specific information. I sat back waiting for other writers to dazzle me.

That’s when I realized just how easy it would be to steal work from more-qualified writers. The responses I got were shocking – everything from “I’m responding to your ad” (there’s excitement!) to a one-liner: “What do you need?” In all but one case, every writer got it wrong. There were no clips. There were a few who didn’t include anything but a “Here’s my resume. Call me.” note. Others were clearly qualified, but didn’t follow simple directions. The one who got the job did it all correctly and had enough experience and enthusiasm in her note to make me choose her over a guy with 10 years of industry experience. And she rocked the project, as I suspected she would.

You want a magic bullet to put your query or proposal at the top of the heap? Take a little time to get noticed. Seriously. Write that magazine query like you’re beginning the article (isn’t your editor your first, most important reader?). Wow the hiring people by putting both personality and creativity into your responses. Read that ad or study that publication and note the tone, the requirements, the intended audience, and any other information that shows you’ve done your homework and that you really understand what that client wants.

Do you put your best foot forward? Do you feel confident enough to put your creativity out there every time?

About the author




  • Mark February 13, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    No Creativity is a challenge for me…Maybe I am too self critical? Hmmm…another day maybe 🙂

  • Devon Ellington February 13, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Reading your post made me realize that I tend to put my best foot forward and write the most creative pitches for work that’s out of my comfort zone that I want to stretch into, rather than the areas in which I’m already well-versed and comfortable.

    It’s actually easier for me to do the whole “I’m the most unusual choice for this position and this is why I’m the best choice”.

    Thanks for getting me thinking.

  • Devon Ellington February 13, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    PS How’s that Twitter experiment going?

  • Ruthibelle February 13, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Absolutely yes!! I agree wholheartedly. This is such anecessary post in a time when competition and job scarcity alone requires nothing less than your A-Game every time!

  • Angie Ledbetter February 14, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Good reminder. Especially fitting for agent and publication querying.

  • writtenexpressions February 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    People are paying me to be creative–so that’s what I lead with.

  • khaye February 16, 2009 at 6:53 am

    This post is pushing me to be more creative. A lovely reminder!