The Habit of Professionalism, Part 2

Some more thoughts on the writing habit of professionalism.

A professional writer seeks input and feedback from others. Continuing with our sports analogy, the professional athlete works with coaches and personal trainers to improve their skills. Pitchers will work with a pitching coaching or guru for weeks to develop a new pitch for their repertoire.

He doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to start throwing a knuckleball. He meets with his coach. He talks with pitchers who already know how to throw the pitch. He practices and practices.

Doctors, nurses, lawyers, auto mechanics all take continual courses to learn new discoveries, new techniques and skills to stay at their professional peak.

And writers are no different. If we’ve been writing for a while, none of us write the same as we did at the beginning. We change as we write. We apply new aspects of the craft we have learned whether it’s in characterization or plotting, dialogue or establishing our story worlds.

Professional writers don’t operate in a vacuum.

Several years ago, I realized that writing is the loneliest task in the world, yet takes so many others to be good at it.

Whether we read craft books, go to conferences or workshops, take webinars or gather in intensive retreats, we are constantly striving to improve. If we stand still, we stagnate. And if something stagnates for very long, it eventually starts to stink.

We not only open ourselves to criticism, we seek it out. We seek out people who will give us honest feedback. If we’re not doing this, we’re deluding ourselves and denying ourselves the opportunity to grow professionally.

Over the years, I’ve developed valuable relationships with two multi-published authors who act as mentors, people I can go to with tough questions.

I’ve also been blessed with great writers who live nearby. We meet regularly to critique and encourage.

And I have a network of authors across the country who work with me to polish and refine my manuscripts.

Looking back, these people are divine appointments in my life. Our relationships developed over time and with being willing to risk with one another, knowing even the harshest criticism is given from caring about me as a person and my success as a writer.

Who are some people in your network you can reach out to and develop a team?


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