In a recent (Oct 2013) Writer’s Digest Magazine interview with writer David Sedaris, WD editor Jessica Strawser advises that “You can build a career as an author by playing to your strengths, following your true passion, going at your own pace and never shying away from your unique voice.”
I believe it’s true for any writing career and it’s what I strive for each day. It also ties back to my recent post on how your writer’s platform should be unique, like you. Here’s how I relate to the quote.
Playing to strengths:
- New Hampshire — I have strong family history in this state, and enjoy learning more about NH every day. This strength is great for my travel and history essays.
- Varied background — My early working years were spent as a contractor for numerous NH companies ranging in size from small (under 20 employees) to large (multiple thousands of employees) in several industries such as manufacturing, beauty, engineering, retail, legal, e-learning, publishing, and more. I’ve worked as a customer service rep, administrative assistant, technical manual writer, financial analyst, learning designer, coordinator (of many different groups, people, and activities), and more. I loved the variety of moving from company to company and position to position. Always learning something new!
- High tech experience — I spent a few years with Digital Equipment Corporation and learned a lot about computer hardware functionality and how all the parts work together — which constantly comes in handy as technology grows and changes into even smaller pieces and parts. I also worked with many engineers and know how to translate ‘geek’ to ‘English.’
- Writing — I’ve been getting feedback on my writing since fifth grade, through college, graduate school, corporate jobs, critique groups, publishers, and more.
Following a true passion:
- Writing — I didn’t start my writing career as early as I wanted, but it was always in my soul and my path brought me to where I am today. I believe it started in 1st grade when I learned how to write my name, then with a diary where I could capture my thoughts.
- Sharing my experience and knowledge with others — through writing.
Going at my own pace:
- My first handful of years as a freelancer/independent writer were lean years, but I had saved for that so I didn’t want to worry about paying the mortgage or rent, or eating.
- Low stress and free time are important; as is making my own schedule.
- The freedom to pursue what interests me instead of what pays the most is always important.
- After 6 years, I’m earning more than any corporate job.
Staying with my unique voice:
- I’m more black and white than shades of grey; I’m literal. And I like that.
- I enjoy writing from a newbie point of view; I feel I offer the most when experiencing something and then sharing that experience — whether it’s learning a particular topic, way of doing things, or some functionality — I want to come at it with unbiased eyes and write what I’ve learned and now know, in a straightforward manner (which is probably why I enjoy tech and process guide writing so much!)
- In travel or destination writing, my uniqueness is shared from my perspective of a solo traveler, female traveler, and as someone who finds ways to enjoy adventures while dealing with motion sickness issues. I also prefer off-the-beaten-path details more than what-everyone-else-is-doing details.
How do you relate to the quote?
Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.