The 8 Ps of being a writer

Patience: This may be the hardest one. Patience is required to survive as a writer. There may be times when you consider giving up, if you really want to be a writer, do not. Figure out what you can do during the lean thought periods. If you give up when the going gets tough, do not even think about being a writer, you will not make it. It takes a tough skin to be a writer, you toughen up, or quit, it is up to you. How much do you want to be a writer?

Performance: Performance is giving the publisher or literary agent what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. If publishers or agents want a hard copy, a PDF, Word, RTF, on CD, or some format, you as the writer will have to supply it. If they want a hard copy, that copy should be on time, clean of any errors, and print ready. If the manuscript is due on the 14th of the month, then have it ready to go by the seventh of the month at the latest. This way, you have time to look it over and make any corrections you may have to make. Never turn in sub-par work.

Perseverance: You may find that a particular job requires more work or time than you thought. If you signed a contract, finish the job by doing whatever you need to, to complete it on time. Just because something is difficult, you cannot give up. You said you would do a job, finish, or do not take it in the first place. Furthermore, you may find lean thought periods when first starting out. If you want to be a writer, find something to keep you going during these lean periods. If you are not willing to work through the lean periods, perhaps you should give up now.

Personal Contact: Never leave your publisher hanging in the wind. Give then status reports, so they know how the project is coming along. What do you have completed? What amount of research have you completed? How much do need to complete the project? Keep in touch. Publishers or literary agents want to know how projects are coming along and if they will be completed on time.  This is your job, to keep the publisher abreast of your progress. If you do not think this is part of writing, think again. Personal contact with the publisher is just as important, if not more, than the writing itself. Keep your publisher informed of you’re promoting your book, and your manuscript's progress.

Polish: Polish your copy to make it the best you can. Polish, edit or whatever you choose to call it, is as necessary as writing the manuscript in the first place. You need to check for typos, subject verb agreement, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, or anything else needed. An author does this for their story, the writing must be correct on all levels to create the best book possible for the reader.

Practice: You cannot just sit on your butt, and do nothing while you wait for your next inspiration. Read what others write, write, and improve your writing by taking a course at the local college, or adult school. Take online writing courses, anything that you write will make you a better writer. If you want to be a writer, you must constantly strive to improve your writing to make it the best you can for your next project. You have all heard the cliché, “Practice makes perfect”, it is true for writers that want to write good copy.

Presentation: Presentation is a multifaceted concept. Presentation is not only the copy you write for publication. Presentation is also the way you present yourself, as a professional, and as a business. If for some reason, you must meet face-to-face with your publisher or literary agent, dress accordingly.

When using a voicemail, make sure that your recording that people hear says professional. Do not have your kids record it. Make sure it sounds professional. Presentation also means the way you sign any e-mails. Consider an e-mail account for business only. There are many free e-mail accounts. It is best to have a web site and use that e-mail for your business contacts. If you cannot afford a web site, or do not know how to build one, a separate e-mail for business only is required. It is much easier to keep things separated.

Professionalism: The first thing about being a professional writer is, never miss a deadline. If something does come up and you're in the hospital, let the someone know as soon as possible. Never wait for the deadline, nothing will destroy a reputation, and scream amateur faster than missing a deadline and not letting the publisher know if there is a problem. Also, be sure to calculate the time required to finish a project. This may be hard at first, but it will become easier over time. The bottom line is, how much time do you have have available to devote to the project along with a day job, family obligations, and anything else that might come up in your life. This is what a professional considers. In addition, a professional contract should state in clear language, the payment method, and signed by both parties, so that each has a clear sense of what each party is responsible for, and when you as the writer will complete the job.

These eight Ps are the basics of being a writer. The eight Ps are what each writer must consider as part of the title, “Writer/Author”. How a writer chooses to implement them is up to them. This list is for thought only. Do you have to implement them? If you want to publish more than once, without a doubt, they are necessary.

Think about jobs you have had. How you purport yourself is as important as the job itself. Even as an automobile mechanic, you cannot be sloppy, if you are, or your work area is, you will not be acting like a professional writer. You must know where everything is and have it within reach.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Edit, Reviewer 


Margaret Fieland said...

Robert, great post. I play the flute and the piccolo, and I really appreciate the importance of practice, of striving to improve one's craft, and, yes, of patience.

Donna McDine said...

Terrific article! I especially like the "practice" tip. No matter what you you do, practice is essential! I've shared on Twitter, FB, and Google+

VS Grenier said...

Great post Robert and reminder this is a business as well as a craft we need to hone.

Heidiwriter said...

"Perseverance" has always been one of my Top "P's" Thanks for a good post.

Karen Cioffi said...

Robert, Great post. All eight are important. I'll be sharing this!

widdershins said...

All writers need to have these 'P's' tatooed someplace they look at, at least once a day!

Bob said...

Thank you, Maggie.

Practice is something everyone does in whatever their job might be, and writing is a business.


Bob said...

Thank you, Donna.

Practice is why writers need to make time every day to write something. Only through performing an act daily can one improve and hone their talent


Bob said...

Thank you, Virginia.

Unfortunately, writing is a business first and a craft second.

Writers need to write something daily to hone their craft. Writers also need to learn the business side of writing als.


Bob said...

Thank you, Heidi.

Never let anyone tell you, you can't. Writers need to move through those that would block them from writing.


Bob said...

Thank you, Karen.

Thank you also for sharing this post.


Bob said...

Thank you, widdershins.

I appreciate the compliment.

These are being slightly altered for inclusion in a book I am working on.


Anonymous said...

Hi Robert! Great post on the 8 P's of being a writer.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post Robert. I think I will post this post in my office. It would make a great poster.

Magdalena Ball said...

Fantastic Robert - all good "p"oints and well worth committing to memory.

Bob said...

Thank you, Susanne.

Bob said...

Thank you, Mary Jo.

I am altering it slightly for my book about freelancing.

Bob said...

Thank you, Magdalena.

Debbie A Byrne said...

Yep! I'm trying to practice all of these! Thanks for the article.

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