1. An editor, who can help you turn awkward phrasings into elegant prose, delete the redundant and superfluous, flag errors, and tell you when something essential is missing, should be at the top of your list. Take a look at this, a gubernatorial farewell speech by Sarah Palin edited by Vanity Fair professionals, and you’ll see how a good editor can improve a piece of writing.
Find someone whose editorial acumen you respect, and invite or pay that person to rip your work apart. And then go fix it.
2. A stranger who owes you nothing can be a useful reader. That person can tell you, in the broadest terms, how your work comes across. This is not the same as an editor. It’s a quick assessment. Did she like it or not? Did you hear the word “good” mentioned, and was it said with enthusiasm?
3. A friend who loves you and who is capable of the white lie, the bright side delivered convincingly—never mind the hard truth—when a pick-me-up is needed. If this friend is also knowledgeable on the written arts, or business, or both, even better.
4. A tech person, with marketing acumen, and who can help you create a website, a blog, and make the most of social media, is an asset. A nimble writer who knows enough to reach for the future stays upright in this rapidly evolving world. Your tech guy can take you to the frontier. Just go into it with no expectations and get ready to work hard.
5. An agent. Yes, you can publish yourself in a variety of ways and very happily, or you can seek an agent whom you hire to find you a suitable publisher. A good agent is one who loves your work, has the contacts, thinks strategically, and is adaptable to the changing nature of the business. Shrewd is also good. Perky is a plus.
That’s it, the list of five who can help a writer get his work done, and done well. Call upon them, as you need them, in order to advance in your writing life.
Sometimes I think of it as a child’s game of tag: it’s up to me, the writer, who must manage all of it and also write, until I tag another, and then, for at least for a little while, he or she is IT, the helping hand, always timely, always welcome.
Who’s your favorite helper? Anyone you’d like to add to your team?
Photo credits: Playing Tag, by Jari Schroderus; Female mirrored – Cassiesteele
Comments listed with first names only, and website, if provided, but not your email. Your privacy protected, so speak your mind, if inclined. I always answer.