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When your best isn’t up to snuff…


Writing Etc. – December 26, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

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In This Issue:

Notes from Minnesota: How do you stretch your writing chops?

When your best isn’t up to snuff…

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career


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Notes from Minnesota:

Woof. So much has happened since last we spoke.

First, I’m jumping back into life with both feet. It’s amazing how after a very long period of body crushing fatigue (I guess cancer made me quite tired) followed by a long recovery… now I’m feeling… rather good. It’s a strange sensation that I really enjoy.

So, I began a fairly long term marketing project with a local company. It’s fun to play with products, write ads, maintain catalogs, (hopefully) get their website up to snuff… it could be fun. I’m working hard to keep my perspective focused at this point, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and get swept away by the exciting lifestyle of a copywriter.

I must remember I’m a freelancer first, writing ads is part of that… not vice versa.

However, writing business to business advertising is an experience I haven’t had a chance to do in quite a while. It’s quite heady stuff.

Which brings me to you: How do you stretch your writing chops? When’s the last time you embarked on a project that scared you just a little bit? When was the last time you truly challenged your talent?

These are questions you should take quite seriously. Copywriting is a tough market, but not near as tough as general freelancing. Locally, the market is generally wide open, pay rates are pretty darn decent, and you wouldn’t believe how quickly you can sharpen your writing.

Gotta go. Keep writing.

Onward and upward,



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~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feature Article ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What to do when your isn’t up to snuff

Beth Ann Erickson

I began writing professionally in 1995. After just graduating Summa Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University, the world was my oyster.

I awoke every morning, leaped out of bed, raced to my state of the art 386 Pentium and allowed words to flow from my vivid imagination onto the computer screen.

Everything flowed according to plan until the time came to actually sell the manuscript.

That’s when hard reality started biting.

First, came the complex query process. Then I was hit with the never ending rejection process. After that, I discovered that the text needed a major overhaul.

Without notice, my dream life transformed into a daily drudge.

But I persevered and somewhere around 2001, I finally landed a publisher.

My troubles were over, right? Far from it.

Nobody ever told me that novelists had to promote their own books.

I don’t have any idea who I figured would promote my book for me, but I didn’t figure it would be me.

Oprah didn’t call out of the blue to interview me. Time magazine didn’t seem remotely interested in my grand triumph. And People magazine? You guessed it, they didn’t have the mental telepathy skills to know they needed to interview me concerning this huge accomplishment.

Go figure.

So after some severe soul searching (and a few months of absolutely zero sales), I decided I needed to develop a few sales skills.

I also realized I needed to take control of my mindset because this biz can be brutal.

In this age of Amazon reviews, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, etc., any opinion on any topic can become quite influential. This can create a bit of fear in the heart of creative types.

What if readers dislike my latest book?

What if reviewers trash it?

What if people find out I’m a hoax?

What if I don’t earn a living wage?

What if… what if… what if… what if….

What if?

Who cares?

If you look closely at every one of those questions, you’ll discover pretty darn fast that you have absolutely, positively, no control over any of them.

I once received a mediocre review because the reviewer had a cold; just didn’t feel all that great. More than likely, they probably wouldn’t have “liked” anything they read that day.

It was totally out of my control. One reader can call something you create “awesome” while the next will call you a “hack.”

It’s the nature of the biz, folks.

The only aspect of your career you have direct control over is to ensure that you’re always providing your dead level best.

Some days, your best soars above the crowd.

Sometimes, your best will suck.

It’s just the way it goes.

And this is exactly why you should mind your mindset so carefully.

Depending on the the tone of incoming information, you can allow your mind to wander into very dangerous negative territory, or you can merely observe the feedback and treat it as such.

Because that’s what the creative life is all about: feedback.

Negative or positive, this feedback merely reflects another person’s opinion.

And believe it or not, some people can set themselves up as experts with nary a wit of expertise in your area, especially when you’re dealing with Internet critics.

That being said, you should notice the feedback, alter your course when necessary, but don’t hang your entire career upon the opinion of anyone other than yourself.

See? It’s all about mindset. And if you allow your mindset to soften for even one moment, you can find yourself so off track that you barely recognize where you are when you wake up.

So, how do you keep yourself on track?

Perhaps we’ll talk about that next time.


To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.


You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”



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Published inWriting Etc.