Eleven Ways to Work Smart in Your Writing Career


By DiAnn Mills


Every writer wants to be viewed as professional, intelligent, and bestselling. These are worthy goals attained by excellent writerly habits. But when writers consistently engage toxic lifestyle habits, their career and credibility can take a nosedive.


Writers receive blog posts daily that offer advice to build their careers. The publishing world has many sides, and each facet demands attention.


We read—


  • How to be successful.
  • How to sell more books.
  • How to strengthen characterization.
  • How to research and interview.
  • How to increase exposure through social media.
  • How to write a synopsis.
  • How to prepare a proposal.


And the list goes on. We are thrilled to have valuable information at our fingertips, and we dedicate time to read and study the content. But sometimes we can let things slip.


Have we taken a recent assessment and considered the eleven ways to destroy a writing career?


1.  Failure to invest time and effort into social media.


Work smart! We live in an age of worldwide communication. The best and most consistent way of reaching out to others is through a social media platform. Our readers are actively online. We learn how and where they are spending time and what they long to read. Successful writers understand social media is about building relationships and helping readers with their lives by offering their expertise. Our platforms brand us as real, caring people.


2.  Eliminate prayer. Why bother God when He doesn’t care about my writing career?


Work Smart! Giving God just a portion of our lives means we aren’t embracing the God who gave us the gift of creativity. We should eliminate doubts in the One who is faithful even when we are not. Our relationship with Him is more important than any accolades the world can offer.


3.  Engage in poor grammar and punctuation. 


Work smart! Invest in a grammar guide or take a college English course. Most publishers use the Chicago Manual of Style. Online help can be found at www.prowritingaid.com or www.grammarly.com . No writer wants their work labeled as sloppy.


4.  Exercise is a pain, and proper nutrition is for health fanatics.


Work smart! The neurons won’t fire, and fingers won’t move when writers disregard healthy habits. Varying reasons exist why people abandon sound nutritional practices. Medical stats prove those who choose an unhealthy diet and inactivity are more likely to contract life-altering diseases. Needless to say, their writing can suffer. Physical challenges may prevent specific forms of exercise, but most of us can become involved in some type of activity.


5.  Ignore what is going on in the world.


Work smart! Writers find it impossible to write heartfelt needs if we have no idea what is going on in our community, state, country, and world. Choose awareness. Take a daily detour to trusted media.


6.  Practice pride.


Work smart! Rejections and edit requests make us better writers. Grow a tougher skin and understand it’s not a personal affront but about the writing project. Humility molds us into better people.


7.  Refuse to understand genre and the guidelines.


Work smart! Be an expert in your writing niche(s). Know the distinguishing characteristics of your subject matter and type of book. A professional writer knows where she fits and strives to meet those criteria.


8.  Show lack of sincere concern for readers.


Work smart! Take time to discover and meet reader needs. Life is about relationships, and when we are genuinely interested in our followers, they become our friends.


9.  State condescending remarks online about those in the publishing world.


Work smart! Not only are critical marks about others inappropriate and unprofessional, but also every word written online can be retrieved.


10.  Neglect to learn the writing craft.


Work smart! Stop for a moment before following through with this career-killer. We never stop learning. When we do, we stagnate and die. This is not only true for our writing life but also for every breath we take.


Writers may have the gift of communicating through the written word, but unless they commit to learning how to write and practice the techniques, they may never sell their work. Learning is ongoing, a means of always being at the top of our game. Wrap your writing in emotion perspectives—the reader’s, the characters, and your own.


11. Practice a self-centered mindset instead of helping other writers.


Work smart! We were all beginners once, searching for tools and guidance. We made mistakes, learned from them, and resolved to become better writers. Take time to encourage other writers through involvement in a mentoring relationship or writer’s group.


If a writer refuses to help a struggling writer, what will happen to the next generation of quality prose?


We all need to be professional. If any of the above items have slipped into the horizon of our work habits, perhaps now is the time to consider changes that will positively grow our writing career in the publishing world. We can all learn. What tip can you share that addresses a mistake you've seen a writer make?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; Golden Scroll awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

Connect with DiAnn on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, BookBub, YouTube, LinkedIn or diannmills.com




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