Life is all about levels. We all want to get to the next level in almost everything we do. The concept of levels is infused in our vernacular. We take our relationships to the next level. We strive to reach the next level in online games. Even Kramer understood the magnetism of levels.
As humans, we are almost impotent against the yearning to reach the next level in anything with which we are involved. Achieving the next level makes us feel good about ourselves. So it is not a stretch to see that, as a professional writer, you will want to achieve the next level in your career. Here are some tips and some pitfalls to avoid in your quest to get to the next level.
1. Picture yourself differently.
Though few people like to be judged on their appearance, your profile picture plays a huge part in how content buyers initially perceive your writing ability. Your profile picture is the easiest thing to improve. Try to picture yourself the way you would like to be seen as a writer. This is not necessarily the same way that you come across as a wife, husband, mother, or father. Pictures cropped from your booze cruise vacation or blurry photos scanned online from your freshman college days don’t communicate capability, so much as good-time gal. Pictures that are obviously cropped from your wedding photo (since the bride’s white dress can still be seen around the edge) are also unsuitable, even if you are wearing a dope tux.
If you can’t afford to pay for a professional profile picture, consider dressing in a business outfit and having a friend take a suitable headshot against a non-attention grabbing background (i.e., no Farah Fawcett poster).
2. Play nice.
If you worked in a corporate office (I know–I got chills just typing that), you wouldn’t think much of a colleague who was constantly disparaging other employees or sassing customers. The general rules in life hold true in the writing industry. Play nice with co-workers and clients. The very existence of altruism is philosophically debated, since we usually always get something back in return for niceness. When you play nice with co-workers, you develop a supportive network of colleagues who can help you move toward that next level you’re dreaming about.
When clients frustrate, anger, or even insult you, hold back on giving them a pen lashing. Strive to maintain professionalism in all your work-related communication with your clients and your colleagues. Of course, we all need to vent, and that’s why we have therapists, friends, and loving spouses. If you need to talk to yourself in private, so be it. But when a dispute erupts with a client or colleague, it comes off as more professional if you can find a way to communicate that states your opinion or facts objectively and fairly. In this way, others will see you as always being professional.
This is when something wonderful can happen. Instead of working so hard to get to the next level, others will elevate you to the next level naturally. And that’s an achievement worth feeling good about.
Kate S has been a professional freelance writer for over 25 years. If she gets an idea, she will want a pen and paper. If she gets a pen and paper, she will want a laptop. If she gets a laptop, she will write an article. If she writes an article, she will write a book. To be continued…