What I’m reading: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
What’s on the iPod: Summer Nights by Rascal Flatts
I must be nuts. Riding the fumes of my business/vacation trip to Vancouver, I schedule Writers Worth Week. Then right smack in the middle of that miracle of scheduling – today – my mother arrives for a visit. I’m hyper-organized, but this may break me. I’m still fighting off the remnants of jet lag. I’ll sleep next week. Sometime.
I saw lots of you tweeting the Writers Worth Week news – thank you! I appreciate your comments and your help in spreading awareness to other writers. Keep up the good work!
And please, keep commenting. Any comment you leave this week (until Friday at 11:59 pm EDT) will put you in the running to receive one of four free copies of The Worthy Writer’s Guide to Building a Better Business.
Today’s stop on the blog tour is courtesy of Ms. Kimberly Ben, proprietor of the Avid Writer blog. Kim’s been a great friend and a superb resource for writers at all career levels. Give her some comment love.
Thanks for tuning in one more day to improve your career. And that, friends, is today’s advice – improve yourself. Whether it’s using some or all of the advice you get here this week or finding another way to improve your skills or your business prospects, your investment in yourself will pay off infinitely.
I worked with a client once who was a fantastic marketer. She could build a superb marketing plan and gain first-rate attention for her clients. What she couldn’t do was string two sentences together coherently. Her forte was marketing, not writing.
Yet she was a sought-after marketer because she recognized her weakness and found a way to compensate. She hired a writer – me – to both write and edit for her. As a result, she had stronger communications pieces and her clients gave her referrals and repeat business.
So what’s that one area of your business where you could improve? What skills don’t you have that you can learn? Here are some ways to improve yourself:
Hire a coach. Sometimes you just need a nudge. Find a trusted coach who can mentor or coach you over those lumpy areas of your career.
Take a class. If you can rock an article but hate approaching those query letters, that’s a serious roadblock. What if you can’t market to save your life? Your career isn’t going too far if you don’t know how to secure new clients. Find someone who’s teaching that skill that you’re weakest in and spend the money getting help. Often it’s more a mental block than an actual lack of ability.
Buy the book. Self-help books are one of the top-selling genres. If there’s a niche you’d like to learn, there’s certain to be a book about it handy. A simple Google search or Amazon search will turn up a guide to the very skill you’re trying to hone.
Ask. You’d be amazed how many people are eager to share with you their lessons learned. Become part of a writing community and ask questions. Mind you, if you ask “How do I start?” you’ll be met with either dead silence or outrage (it’s a lazy question). Do a little homework, then ask a pointed question, like “What’s the best approach for trade magazines?”
Join. Yes, join. Join a community, a forum, an association, any place that allows you to talk shop and rub elbows with other writers. It’s amazing the tidbits that you pick up in ordinary conversation.
Study different techniques. Whether it’s on a blog, in a book, or by simple observation, take note of various writing or business styles. Try them on. Practice using someone else’s methods. Do they work? If not, how can you adapt those methods to fit your style?
Brush up. My mother-in-law was surprised to learn recently that I still refer to grammar guides. That’s because writers often pick up bad habits without realizing it. And honestly, we are never too experienced to learn more. It used to be that sentence structure wasn’t my strong suit. By reading a grammar guide regularly, I tamed the beast. I still make mistakes, but I make fewer of them.
Writers, how do you improve yourself?