Relatively new to the world of commercial writing, I am thankful for wisdom shared by writers have already made successful careers for themselves. I appreciate their looking back down the ladder and saying, “Here is what I have learned. Maybe you can benefit from my experience.”
“Hit the ball out of the park.” This is one of my very favorite writing tips because it is easy to remember and it motivates me to produce quality work.
Do you blog? Blog regularly. Write what you know, and write from the heart. Allow readers to see into your world, to share in the things about which you feel passionately. Engage your readers by asking them questions which they can answer in the comment line. If a comment merits a response, respond.
Magazine article? Do your research, secure necessary release forms, adhere faithfully to submission guidelines, double check grammar and punctuation. Then, go the extra mile and submit your content ahead of schedule.
Maybe you are self-publishing your first fiction. Find a mentor (preferably not your mom or your best friend from high school!), someone who can ruthlessly critique your writing. Learn from the advice your mentor offers. My friend Lisa told me, “Camille, your book is not a child. You can cut off an arm or a leg and it will not bleed to death.” Rewriting a chapter or cutting out a character is not a violation of the sacred.
Proof read! Proof read! Proof read! Enlist new eyes to review your work as well. I have a team of proof readers armed with highlighters, pens and sticky tabs, and they are not afraid to use them. I am always amazed at the number of errors they catch, mistakes I have overlooked perhaps a dozen times.
Make your editor or publisher’s job as easy as you can. The bottom line is: when you submit your final product, you want the recipient to think, “Wow! This is even better than I expected!”