By DiAnn Mills, @DiAnnMills
Every writer wants to be viewed as professional, intelligent, and bestselling. Nothing wrong with those goals, and they are worthy and attainable. But when a writer consistently makes dumb mistakes, her credibility takes a nose dive as well as her career.
Examine at the following mistakes. Are there changes on your horizon?
- Practicing poor grammar and punctuation
Work smart! Invest in a grammar guide or take a college English course. Most publishers use the Chicago Manual of Style. An online help is www.grammarly.com.
- Failure to invest time and effort in social media
Work smart! Today’s readers are online and active in social media. How can we reach them when we fail to learn how and where they are spending time?
- Condescending remarks posted online about those in the publishing world
Work smart! Not only are critical marks about others inappropriate and unprofessional, but also every word written online can be retrieved.
- Lack of demonstrating sincere concern for readers
Work smart! Take time to discover and meet reader needs. Life is about relationships, and when we are genuinely interested in our followers, they become our friends.
- Refusal to understand genre and the guidelines
Work smart! Be an expert in your writing niche(s). Know the distinguishing characteristics of your subject matter. A professional writer knows where she fits and strives to meet those criteria.
- Practicing pride that comes before a fall
Work smart! Rejections and a request to edit make us better writers. Grow a tougher skin and understand it’s not about us but about the writing project. Humility molds us into better people.
- Neglecting to learn the writing craft
Work smart! A writer may have the gift of communicating through the written word, but unless she commits to learning how to write and practices the techniques, she may never sell. Learning is ongoing, a means of always being at the top of our game. Wrap your writing in emotion—the reader’s, the characters, and your own.
If any of the above 7 items have slipped into your work habits, now is the time to make changes. Your career, relationships, and reputation are on the line.
We all need to be professional. What is a dumb mistake that you’ve seen a writer make?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com