Last week we reviewed five winning personality traits of successful writers and why they help writers get the majority of freelance writing assignments. This week, we’ll look at five characteristics that you can cultivate to make a big impression on editors.
- Efficiency. Learn to milk a story for everything it has. Before moving on to a new assignment, get all the photos, quotations, sidebar material, and background possible on the current assignment.
- Experience. Editors like to find writers who have a good balance between formal education and the school-of-hard-knocks training. The more you’ve done, the more you’ve traveled, the more you’ve studied, the more valuable you are to an editor. To be a powerful writer, you need depth of experiences. Live life before you try to explain it to readers.
- Creativity. If you are innovative and unique in your work, you will keep an editor interested in you. You need to come up with unusual topics to cover; you need to be able to write clever leads; you must develop a sixth sense for what people like to read about, learn about, talk about.
- Timeliness. You must be able to meet or beat a deadline. Remember what deadline means: “Go past this line, and you’re dead.”
- Zest. Editors enjoy working with upbeat, positive-thinking writers who have good communication skills, good work habits, and a good sense of humor.
If you work hard to develop these characteristics, you will have an edge over many other writers.
Adapted from Writing for Profit by Dennis E. Hensley (Thomas Nelson, 1985; revised 2003). At Taylor University in Upland, IN, Dr. Hensley teaches students in the Professional Writing Major how to develop characteristics that editors appreciate in freelance writers. © 2011 by Dennis E. Hensley. All rights reserved.