Writing isn’t always about imagination and fancy adjectives. Sometimes it’s about sharing information, plain and simple. Today’s guest post comes to us from Mary Forlenza, a senior marketing writer and editor in Austin. We hope her words of advise will appeal to all you practical writers out there!
By Mary Forlenza
Whether you are employed in your desired profession, or displaced from your job and having to look for another, writing can play a valuable role in advancing your career. In the technology field, for example, developers and architects become recognized as experts when they put their ideas into writing. They might publish articles in trade magazines or technical journals, or write white papers, online blogs and articles, conference papers or books. Publishing can literally change the course of a career, making you a candidate for a better job.
This applies to professional writers as well. There’s something about having your work published that seals your credentials as an expert. While waiting to hear from that last interview or job application, think about what you could write about, based on your expertise, and where you could place your work for publication. Do some
research into the relevant publications in your field that would catch the attention of leaders and management. A good resource is the “2011 Writer’s Market.”
Choose a topic that is timely, and a publication that needs your type of content. Many editors assist in that effort by placing their publication calendars on their web sites, indicating what topics they are interested in month-by-month. They may also provide their style guidelines. If you adhere to the guidelines, saving time in the
editorial process, then editors will look more kindly on your submission. The editors may also publish their payment rates, if they do pay contributors. The rates may be meager, but remember that you’re in this for career advancement, and not for near-term monetary gain, but for future enrichment.
You’ll need to plan ahead to accommodate the publication process. Allow time to write the piece, and for the editorial staff to review it and provide comments for you to resolve before publication. Before even writing your article, it’s wise to write a brief abstract of your article idea to send to the publication editor. Their response
can inform you whether they are interested at all, saving you the work of writing the full article. The response might also request a different focus for your written piece. The editor should indicate when they plan to publish your article. Online and print editors are always seeking content, and typically publish pieces that have fresh ideas and are well-written, even from unknown contributors.
If you have worked with innovative professionals who need help to put their ideas on the page, you could discuss teaming up for a joint byline on a published article or book. This can be a win-win proposition for you and the subject matter expert, when you feel you can work together successfully.
Paul Newman once said that he trained with better actors, but what made him so successful was his perseverance. In other words, consider that anyone with similar talent could do as well. In these tough times, it’s easy to give up. Try taking Newman’s advice and putting your faith in your writing skills and expertise. Then pursue a byline for the edge you need to succeed over other job or promotional candidates.
Mary Forlenza is a senior marketing communications writer and editor who also enjoys helping technical professionals publish articles and books. Her past jobs include ghostwriting executive communications, technical writing, reporting for the Fort Lauderdale News, writing PR for Florida International U., and editing papers for marine researchers. Mary has won professional society awards for creating a popular style manual, brochures and newsletters. She has an M.A. in Communications and lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.