Professional Writer

The approach that you take to your writing will dictate how editors perceive you as a writer. Being a professional writer is hard work. Being perceived to be a professional writer demands that you take the craft a step further. The approach to publishers, the manner in which the work is set out, and the style all tell their own story about professionalism, and it is attention to detail which will get you recognized for the professional that you are. Following the guidelines in this article, you should be able to present yourself as a professional and win the respect of the editors you approach when publishing your work.

Layout

The layout of work is important. For example, if you are an online writer, then you will need to present it in a manner which suits the website to which it is aimed. Some websites will ask for different layouts to others, but the mistakes that you make in the initial stages of writing for that new market may be fundamental ones. Read the guidelines. Getting back to basics and remembering how important those guidelines are sets you apart from the rest. The layout for that particular market will need to be adhered to if you wish to be perceived as a professional.

For printed publications, the layout should always have large margins, because the publishers need to make printing notes. You will also need to make sure that your work is set out in double spacing and that your name is shown on the front, and all the pages numbered to show how many pages make the whole document, i.e. 1 of 5, or 2 of 5, etc.

Length

The length of your work should also be geared to the market to which you are submitting your work. If a magazine asks for a 1500 word item, they will not accept work which exceeds or undercuts this. The reason is that they have guidelines to work to and don’t have the space to put your item if you decide to ignore those guidelines.

Content

The content should suit the market you are aiming for. It’s easy to understand this if you look at the presentation of different newspapers. One will be aimed at one sector of society, while another will be aimed at different people. Your content must be written in such a manner that it suits the style of the publication. Even for website content, this is important. The professional will take a good look at a publication or website and be able to see at a glance the type of content which is required.

Correspondence

When you correspond with editors, staff or with other writers, be professional. Professionalism doesn’t end with the work you produce. Your emails or letters to others should include headings, full details of contact and also be written in a thoughtful and concise manner. An editor doesn’t want to know your life story. The professional will accept that there are other people in the writing arena and will not expect too much in the way of a response. The professional will also diary what they send to publishers and be very sure that their written work is not sent to two publishers at the same time. Imagine the dilemma if both accept the work, and explanation is needed to each of them that the work is not exclusive to them. Think before you send work out, and make sure that you diary what you have sent and to who.

Grammar

The professional writer will use their command of the language in which they write to convey their message. This will be geared to the given audience. For example, when writing for scholarly magazines, the format should be similar to other articles contained in that magazine, while a more chatty and conversational style can be used in publications which encourage this. The grammar is important, and the punctuation is equally as important.

Editing the work

No professional writer would assume that what they have written is perfect. The writer who does this is far from being a professional since they have not yet learned to self-edit. This is a basic skill and one which is very necessary. Read your work over, and make corrections as necessary. Never be afraid of over-correcting. It’s best to leave work overnight and then correct it, since you will be in a different state of mind and be able to read your article with a fresh mindset.

Keep scrupulous records

This is really vital, since if you are to become a professional and make your living from writing, part of being a professional means keeping records. These should include all receipts for outgoings and expenses, and all records of payments received for work done. You will need these for your tax office, and you can often pay much less than you might have imagined if you keep records of expenses. These can be written against your profit. Although writers are not always known for their tidy nature, keeping these records is vital to the success of a professional writer and helps them to learn where they need to trim expenses and where they have succeeded in selling work profitably.

Being a professional writer is fun, but it’s hard work. Don’t expect everything to fall into place automatically. It won’t. It needs your input on a constant basis. Use free time to think of new approaches. Keep notes on ideas that you feel may be suited to different markets. Read publications to which you feel you may be able to make contributions. Even in your leisure time, use the opportunity to learn more about how you can use the written word to earn yourself a living. Once you do, you will be pleased to call yourself a professional, though you should never rest on your laurels. The day that you believe you are the best you can be is when the career goes haywire. No writer ever is the best they can be, and they need to remember that it is the effort put into becoming a better writer which leads to professional success.

The approach that you take to your writing will dictate how editors perceive you as a writer. Being a professional writer is hard work. Being perceived to be a professional writer demands that you take the craft a step further. The approach to publishers, the manner in which the work is set out, and the style all tell their own story about professionalism, and it is attention to detail which will get you recognized for the professional that you are. Following the guidelines in this article, you should be able to present yourself as a professional and win the respect of the editors you approach when publishing your work.

Layout

The layout of work is important. For example, if you are an online writer, then you will need to present it in a manner which suits the website to which it is aimed. Some websites will ask for different layouts to others, but the mistakes that you make in the initial stages of writing for that new market may be fundamental ones. Read the guidelines. Getting back to basics and remembering how important those guidelines are sets you apart from the rest. The layout for that particular market will need to be adhered to if you wish to be perceived as a professional.

For printed publications, the layout should always have large margins, because the publishers need to make printing notes. You will also need to make sure that your work is set out in double spacing and that your name is shown on the front, and all the pages numbered to show how many pages make the whole document, i.e. 1 of 5, or 2 of 5, etc.

Length

The length of your work should also be geared to the market to which you are submitting your work. If a magazine asks for a 1500 word item, they will not accept work which exceeds or undercuts this. The reason is that they have guidelines to work to and don’t have the space to put your item if you decide to ignore those guidelines.

Content

The content should suit the market you are aiming for. It’s easy to understand this if you look at the presentation of different newspapers. One will be aimed at one sector of society, while another will be aimed at different people. Your content must be written in such a manner that it suits the style of the publication. Even for website content, this is important. The professional will take a good look at a publication or website and be able to see at a glance the type of content which is required.

Correspondence

When you correspond with editors, staff or with other writers, be professional. Professionalism doesn’t end with the work you produce. Your emails or letters to others should include headings, full details of contact and also be written in a thoughtful and concise manner. An editor doesn’t want to know your life story. The professional will accept that there are other people in the writing arena and will not expect too much in the way of a response. The professional will also diary what they send to publishers and be very sure that their written work is not sent to two publishers at the same time. Imagine the dilemma if both accept the work, and explanation is needed to each of them that the work is not exclusive to them. Think before you send work out, and make sure that you diary what you have sent and to who.

Grammar

The professional writer will use their command of the language in which they write to convey their message. This will be geared to the given audience. For example, when writing for scholarly magazines, the format should be similar to other articles contained in that magazine, while a more chatty and conversational style can be used in publications which encourage this. The grammar is important, and the punctuation is equally as important.

Editing the work

No professional writer would assume that what they have written is perfect. The writer who does this is far from being a professional since they have not yet learned to self-edit. This is a basic skill and one which is very necessary. Read your work over, and make corrections as necessary. Never be afraid of over-correcting. It’s best to leave work overnight and then correct it, since you will be in a different state of mind and be able to read your article with a fresh mindset.

Keep scrupulous records

This is really vital, since if you are to become a professional and make your living from writing, part of being a professional means keeping records. These should include all receipts for outgoings and expenses, and all records of payments received for work done. You will need these for your tax office, and you can often pay much less than you might have imagined if you keep records of expenses. These can be written against your profit. Although writers are not always known for their tidy nature, keeping these records is vital to the success of a professional writer and helps them to learn where they need to trim expenses and where they have succeeded in selling work profitably.

Being a professional writer is fun, but it’s hard work. Don’t expect everything to fall into place automatically. It won’t. It needs your input on a constant basis. Use free time to think of new approaches. Keep notes on ideas that you feel may be suited to different markets. Read publications to which you feel you may be able to make contributions. Even in your leisure time, use the opportunity to learn more about how you can use the written word to earn yourself a living. Once you do, you will be pleased to call yourself a professional, though you should never rest on your laurels. The day that you believe you are the best you can be is when the career goes haywire. No writer ever is the best they can be, and they need to remember that it is the effort put into becoming a better writer which leads to professional success.