50% Writer, 50% Business Person

Eloisa James
Photo (c) 2014 by Jen Nipps

Eloisa James was the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc., conference earlier this month. She also presented a lunch session one day of the conference.

If at all possible, you need to hear her speak. She is very polished and very knowledgeable.

Of everything she said, one thing has really stayed with me.

“You are 50% writer and 50% business person and the business comes first.”

Why did that resonate so much in my mind?

That’s an easy answer and a hard truth.

I tend to ignore the business side of things. I write too much for free or for very little pay. Speaking of which, I’m going to stop writing for free. That means I’m going to start charging you to read this blog.

Just kidding.

The blog is something I do for me as well as for you. That’s something I couldn’t charge for.

There are things I can do — need to do — should have already been doing — though.

At the moment, I am a writer-in-residence at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. In addition to working on a book about self-promotion and networking (Selling Yourself Is Not Prostitution: Networking & Self-Promotion for Wallflowers) while I’m here, I will also be planning how I can address more of the business side.

I need to do that.

I have to do that.

If I don’t, there is no sense in my continuing to work as a writer. No one would expect an accountant or a lawyer to work for free. They wouldn’t expect a doctor to either.

Why should writers?

Why should any kind of artist?

We shouldn’t.

I’m going to change that for myself. I have friends I can call on for advice. Friends who have made their livings as freelance writers/editors for years. If they can do it, so can I.

But I have to put the business side into practice as well.

What about you? What is it in your writing life that you tend to neglect even though it needs attention?

Advertisements

Word Choices

redpenWhether you are a writer or not, word choice is important. It has a direct impact on how people view you. This is especially true in first impressions. Some very intelligent people sound significantly less so because of their word choices and pronunciation.

I’m thinking of the Jeff Foxworthy brand of redneck comedy.
Friend 1: Djeat yet?
Friend 2: Naw. Djou?
Friend 1: Yanto?
Friend 2: Aight.

Those two people could well be highly intelligent, but we would never know it based on the way they pronounce — or not — their words.

I also know people who use “ideal” when they mean “idea.” I know they understand they are two different words with different meanings.

From Merriam-Webster.com:

ideal
exactly right for a particular purpose, situation, or person

idea
a thought, plan, or suggestion about what to do; an opinion or belief; something that you imagine or picture in your mind

The two are not interchangeable. I can also add “idear” to the list, but that isn’t a real word, so we’ll ignore it.

One that is also not a real word that I cannot ignore, though, is “irregardless.” Unfortunately, it is listed in the dictionary, but says it is “nonstandard” and it’s definition is the real word “regardless.”

I make a point to never say this word. A couple days ago, my mother was determined to make me say it. We were talking about word choices.
Mom: What is that word? Ir… Ir…
Me (through clenched teeth): “Irregardless.”
Mom (laughing): I made you say it! Now I can tell people that you said it!
Me: It doesn’t count.
Mom: Yes, it does.

There’s one more thing about word choice. This one makes me cringe, especially when used by people I know well.

Ain’t.

I remember a time when it could be said that “Ain’t isn’t a word because it’s not in the dictionary.” That is no longer the case. It is in just about every dictionary I looked in. However, it is also noted that it is generally disapproved of but is habit and indicative of being uneducated.

That is why I cringe when I hear it used. The people who I hear say it are intelligent and educated.

I challenge you to think about your word choices and the way you say the words you do choose to use.

What words make you cringe? Why?

Well, Hello There

n110046421290_9910I accidentally have a fresh, new blog. How did this happen?

I’m not exactly sure. I only know that it has to do with the update I did to my website last week. I deleted my email then, too, but I got that fixed relatively easily and quickly. I didn’t realize I had done the same thing to my blog until today.

This actually works out well. I wasn’t sure what to do with my blog or where I wanted to go with it. After a conference this past weekend, I have some better idea of what I want to do.

And so it begins.