Saturday, September 19, 2015

Understanding yourself as a writer

(c) 2015 public domain image
Topics. Research. Content.  Deadlines. Payment.  These are all things that make up a post, an article, a story, or a document.  They may even summon a poem or two.  One thing for sure, it should be interesting, educate, and bring a call to action (even if it was stupid to begin with).  
These are all the things I have been contemplating with since I started MDN Creates (now called P.Lynne Designs) in January 2009. Is it interesting? Do I educate enough in my posts? Finally, do I bring a call to action?  I always feel that there is something missing in my posts.  In fact, I can be my own worst critic.  Now that I have 5 (soon to be 4) blogs, I have to be extra careful with things, such as:  Have I covered (this topic) before, and if so, when?  How much do I actually know about a topic before diving in?  Is it interesting enough to invite comments from readers, who may have the same interest in the topic?  
I call these type of questions, teaching moment questions.  I have been writing a lot lately about teachable moments:  Recouping after an accident, learning how to follow up, and how to deal with mothers when you are not a mother yourself.  There is one more teachable moment that I feel I need to teach you, and that is not known and understand yourself as a writer.  This lesson goes beyond topics, goes deeper than researching your subject, providing great content, and dealing with deadlines and how you are being paid.   I can’t tell you how many times I have failed on a post, by trying to get my point across to my readers, only to not know who I am as a writer, and if the topic I wanted to cover was interesting enough for me. There is also knowing your audience, but I will cover that in a later post. I can tell the difference.  My failed thought process goes like this:
I come up with a subject.  I love it in the very beginning, and I type feverishly to get my point across at first, then about midway through the process, I stop.   I start pacing, I find other things to do, and then I close the document, thinking that I could just pick it up in the next few hours or the next day.  If I happen to think about it a little the next time I open the word document, I may go to Google first to research it, but that rarely happens.  Then I finally forget about it, and the post is in my “potential post” folder.   The only way I get back to it is when I finally succumb to the idea of just deleting the file. That is one example on how to understand yourself as a writer and that is your work ethic and how you move on from a failed writing gig for yourself.  
Another way is when you start accepting writing assignments to write for others.  Know what niches or topics you will accept as a writer.  As a blogger, you pretty much know what your blog is all about, but this for when someone as you to submit a post or article for their blog or website.  For me, I will not write for or about the occult (Wicca, Pagan religion), anything that does harm to a person unless it is a teachable moment, adult subjects (again it has to be a teachable moment), speak badly about another race, gender, or religion, and anything that speak bad and horrible things about God.   All other subjects are at my discretion.  Sometimes I may not accept a gig because I do not know enough about the subject to give a good, solid document for the client.  I am also constantly learning that the subject matter is not about what I want as a writer, but what my client wants for a document.  For that reason, I often do Ghost Writing.  
So get to know yourself as a writer, all of it.  Take the time to spell your terms and rates out to your new client.  If they want to work with you, that is great, congrats, if not, move on.  There are plenty of people who need writers, and what I love about this industry is the reward after you are finished with the project, which is priceless, but the monetary rewards help pay the bills.