Tag Archives: writing career

The Lead Leader Led the Leed: Humor and Writing

Yesterday I was talking with a colleague about the difference between my language, American English, and his language, Egyptian Arabic.

And the discussion came down to a simple fact of writing and language: humor is the highest sign of fluency in a culture.

The joke that is the title of this piece hinges on your understanding of the fact that English has many words from many languages and sometimes the spelling and pronunciation of the words don’t make much sense.

Humor and Writing

He followed up my witticism with one of his own: we have noses that run and feet that smell.

When you are going to communicate with people in writing, humor is a great way to make connections. But, you need to know who you are writing to in order to get that humor across.

Something one group of people will think is funny another group will not get at all.

In the modern global economy, you also have to realize that some humor is lost in translation.

But, everyone can enjoy the humor as long as you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Don’t hurt people with your humor
  • Don’t expect everyone to get it – After all, some come by slow freight.
  • Be an equal opportunity joker
  • Listen to your audience to improve your writing style

That’s it for now. And I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lost in translation jokes (Hint, the person who told me this was not a native English speaker, and I still don’t get it. But, my kids’ thought it was funny)

Why did the airplane crash?

Because the pilot was a loaf of bread.

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The Professional Writer

I have been covering the different mindsets necessary for successful activity, first on Paul Davis Solutions, then covering how marketing needs to be as an amateur on Pivotal Marketing Services.

Today, I want to talk about how to build a career through professional end results. No employee, customer or fan is interested in you if you look professional and produce amateur.

As a professional writer, what I look like doesn’t often matter. What you look like doesn’t matter. All that matters are the results: does your writing communicate to your audience and produce desired results?

For some writers, your content needs to convince someone to do something; you are copywriting. For others, your content needs to entertain someone for a period of several hours; congratulations, you are an author. For some, your content needs to educate, entertain, and nurture readers along a journey towards a decision point; you are doing content marketing.

The Professional Writer

In the professional mindset, you analyze your process and your results to look for improvement. This mindset, characterized by Booker T. Washington in Up From Slavery as a “Yankee” woman who “wanted everything kept clean about her, that she wanted things done promptly and systematically, and that at the bottom of everything she wanted absolute honesty and frankness. Nothing must be sloven or slipshod; every door, every fence, must be kept in repair. “

To approach your work as a professional, you need to understand fundamentals of grammar and voice, even if you choose not to use them. I have read many sales pieces with purposeful typos that get people to comment on the ad and introduce a conversation with the business owner.

A professional makes even their mistakes serve a purpose.

Having a professional mindset in writing means that you take time to understand your audience: their voice, their tone, their desired language style and reading medium.

Understanding Your Audience

When people first started writing blogs, they were written as web logs or journals. The first bloggers were mainly talking to themselves and people who identified with the blogger followed them. This is one way to find an audience. If you write to yourself, you will gather like-minded people around your writing.

For most professional writers, we are looking to speak to a specific audience. When you are writing to a specific group of people, you edit your writing, hone your voice, and research your audience (in the reverse order of what I just wrote).

Research Your Audience

If you are writing a fantasy novel, do you read fantasy novels? Have you been to a fantasy convention or even held your own book groups in your home town?

You don’t have to be a member of your audience before you start writing to them, but you will be a member of the audience by the time you have a professionally written product to give to the world.

I know more about IT security services and infrastructure now then I ever wanted to know, being rather laissez faire about the whole idea. But, I have written for many security clients, and to do it I have to think a little like my clients, and a little like their audience.

This is research: learning to think like the person you want to read your content.

Hone Your Voice

One thing I love about ghostwriting so much is it teaches me to change my voice depending on who I am writing for. From that practice, I am now creating 3 different website platforms with 3 unique voices for my 3 audiences. As a professional writer, you need to hone your voice by listening to your audience, practicing writing, and listening to them again.

Edit for Your Audience

Research plus practice means you will be able to edit your pieces to be ideal for your audience.

I need to make a clarification here: the professional mindset in editing only rarely seeks perfect grammatical and error-free writing.

Hop in any online networking group and you are going to see gems of writing like the following: “Did anybot got theirs reenabled and how?”

Surprisingly, it took me 5 minutes on my FB newsfeed to find that gem.

People speak differently to their parents than they do to their friends, your inner circle friends use words that your general peers do not.

This is how people communicate and build relationships. So as a professional writer, your job is to edit your written speech so that it communicates to a specific audience in a way that they relate to a message that you or your clients desire to say.

It’s a complicated job, but somebody’s got to do it. And trust me, there is no danger of automation truly taking away a writer’s job.

Quality Control

The final issue to talk about in the professional mindset is quality control. As a writer, we have to analyze our writing and hone it to be better, to speak clearer, to engage more.

The professional mindset is all about managing your time as efficiently as possible to provide the best quality you can for the value you are charging.

In the mindset of a professional writer, your quality control needs to be consistent and standardized. I will write more on some practical aspects of this later.

So, to have a professional mindset in writing that will advance your career, you need to research your audience, practice writing in the best way to communicate to them, and develop a quality control process to ensure your writing is doing what it needs to do.

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Can I Do Any Type of Writing Career?

Is It Possible to Do Any Type of Writing Career?

Writing as a career can seem to be the height of wealth and fame, or it can seem to be a drudgery. If you are thinking about writing as a career, can you choose what type of writing will you do?

Business Writing

The easiest writing career to get involved in, business content is incredibly diverse. At Paul Davis Solutions, we write on marketing, finances, interior design, home decorating, farming, trucking and logistics, clothes and fashion. Business writing is more valuable now than it has ever been. Yes, video is growing online, but written content still drives search engines. Plus, videos are scripted by writers.

Content for businesses includes blogging, sales copy, whitepapers, websites, brochures and more. Pursue business content creation to easily start an online writing career.

Academic Writing

True academic writing is a great method to build a career and independent income streams. But, academic writing requires that you have academic credentials, usually a doctorate in the field you want to write in. If you are willing to work through the academic process to get higher degrees, there are many careers and businesses related to academic writing: research, thought leadership pieces, and textbooks.

Literature 

Fiction and non-fiction literature is one of the most enjoyable things people read or write. Because of this, biographies, novels, histories, and even manga are all popular areas writers build a career. Since literature type content is so popular, the door to entry into living-wage levels of writing is much higher.

To start a literature writing career, pick a method of distribution for your content; your career strategy changes depending on this choice. One distribution is the more traditional one which still has the best return if you get published. Plan your novel or other book and send proposals to publishers.

The other distribution method is to publish your content yourself, using content marketing tools to market your writing and selling different access to your writing.

A hybrid is where you use a blog and other content marketing tools to advertise your writing and story-lines and then pitch your writing to a traditional publisher.

Yes, It Is Possible

Finally, a career or business as a writer is available for anyone who wants to put the time and mental energy into figuring out the type of writing they are doing and commit to developing it as a craft.

But, does everyone want to do a writing career? That question is more for each individual to answer on their own.

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