Monday, May 18, 2009

A Writer’s Most Valuable Assets

“You may be able to take a break from writing, but you won't be able to take a break from being a writer.” - Stephen Leigh

In 2007, I posted my personal list of the top ten assets I thought a writer needed. At the time, I had signed a contract with ArcheBooks Publishing and had been waiting, rather impatiently, for the production process to begin. Therefore, the number one item on the list was patience.

I revisited the list and decided it needed a little tune-up now that The Ride has been out for about eight months. Here is my latest list of assets I believe every writer needs.

10. A basic understanding of grammar and punctuation

9. The ability to take an idea and turn it into a novel, short story or article

8. The perseverance to revise and edit your work ad nauseum

7. The strength to delete a paragraph that you spent the last eight hours perfecting after realizing it has nothing to do with the idea you were hoping to convey

6. In order to resist the urge to slice your wrists open with any sharp object within reach, you must develop the ability to fluff off rejection notices and not so glowing reviews with a flick of your wrist.

5. The self-discipline to sit down and write or rewrite daily, even during those periods when playing solitaire might seem a bit more productive

4. To keep your publisher happy, you must be able to focus on writing the next book, while trying to arrange signings, interviews and other innovative marketing techniques for your currently available book(s)

3. The skill to set up and maintain a presence on dozens of social media sites—which also means you have the ability to express yourself in 140 characters or less.

2. The knack of retaining all the passwords and log-in info for the numerous sites and forums you’ve joined

And the number one thing a writer must possess: (imagine a drum roll here)

1. The ability to cram at least 48 hours worth of writing, marketing, blogging, reading and networking into a 24-hour day and still have a life

In 2007, patience was my number one concern and today it’s time management. I’m sure if I wait a few more years to re-examine this list, it will change yet again.

What do you consider a writer’s most valuable asset?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: ArcheBooks, The Ride, assets, social media, time management, Stephen Leigh,


Anonymous said...

Excellent list. Loved your witty & fun way of putting them, too - LOL. I had to snort a giggle at number 7 and laughed out loud at number 6.

Helen Ginger said...

Loved #5. For me, I think it's time management. I keep trying to get better at it. I'm now using a timer so I can switch from one project to another. Just trying to hit everything on my ToDo list!

Straight From Hel

Galen Kindley said...

Oh, boy, is this a great list or what?!? The order differs for me a bit, but, they all resonate. My favorites are: Number 8, Revision…for me a big, biggie, Number 7, Deleting stuff you like that unfortunately, doesn’t work or fit, What writer doesn’t understand Rejection, number 6, and lastly, Number 4, Happy Publishers…who’d thought it would be so much work.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks, Marvin. I like your timer idea, Helen. I agree with your comment, Galen - I also never dreamed writing would involve so much work!

Alexis Grant said...

This is a great list. I particularly like #7, because it's one so many writers overlook.

And being able to shake off rejections? I'm getting better at that by the day. :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great list! And very true.

Maybe a thumb-drive could be a valuable asset? And remembering to back up our work. I know a couple of writers whose hard drives bit the dust...

Have a great Monday.


Linda Austin said...

Yes, the smarts to back up your material BEFORE the kid spills chocolate milk on your computer. Had to laugh at #7, and #1 really is tops.

Morgan Mandel said...

You are so right. The cramming one I have lots of trouble with, also the passwords. I've written most of them down in a notebook, but some I do spur of the moment and forget to write down, then I have to do the forgot your password routine.

Morgan Mandel

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world