What makes a good writer?

When it comes to writing, you either have it or you don’t, right? Well, yes, that’s basically true…however, there are some traits you you need to develop to fully succeed in the editorial world.

In addition to being able to turn a good phrase (while demonstrating impeccable grammar, of course), writers have to have patience. Sometimes words won’t flow write away, or your interviewee keeps rescheduling. Whatever it is that temporarily prevents you from meeting your deadline quickly, know that the piece will come. Just be persistent and you will get your story.

Secondly, it is essential to develop a thick skin. No matter how amazing you think your piece is, odds are there will be somebody that shoots it down, even a little bit. Perhaps you’ll need to re-phrase a quote or develop a different angle. Whatever the task, never take criticism personal. Revisions are going to happen; rarely is it a reflection on you. As an editor, I’ve used track changes to re-work more documents than I can count. When the tables are turned, I’m fine with any tweaks that need to be made to my own pieces because I understand the editorial process. It’s all about the content and what’s needed to make it the best it can be, especially when you’re promoting someone’s brand.

Finally, if you’re going to be communicating a particular message, you need to listen. In any initial client or company meeting, be sure to be attentive and take as many notes as possible. That way, when it’s time to write the piece, you have all the required elements in front of you. Sounds logical but believe it or not, the listening process can get lost along the way. Sometimes writers have their own idea about how to make a project work and they don’t necessarily take other ideas into account. Remember: clients (or your managers) are the boss. If you genuinely listen to what they want and acknowledge the types of audiences they plan to communicate to, you can deliver a product that they’ll be happy with. After all, they are paying you!!

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Batting a thousand

Today I reached 1,000 followers on Twitter. My 1000th follower is a New York Mets fan site. Play ball!  

I tip my cap to them and my 999 other followers who listen to what I have to say. So what do I have to say today? Tonight’s topic is TMI. That’s “too much information” in case you didn’t know.

Sure, everyone has the right to comment on social media sites. We share photos, videos, news articles. Sometimes we even learn something. But when someone continuously posts updates about his bodily functions (or the lack thereof in this particular person’s case), that’s where I draw the line. The word “enema” should NEVER be used in a status update. If you’re constipated, I do NOT want to know about it. Keep it to yourself. If you need to vent, phone a friend or better yet, go to a doctor!

What I’m shaking my head over is that this should really be common sense. But some people don’t get it. Or they do get it but they don’t care. Or they need attention. In any event, my advice to everyone is think before you post. Is what you’re writing something you would want to read about?

Another habit many people are guilty of is over-venting. Yes, we all have bad days, but if you dwell on them too much on social media, you could come off as a complainer. Always try to limit your rants otherwise people will see you as a negative person. Remember – you’re projecting a particular image on social media. What if your boss reads your negative rants? Or a potential client or business partner? Or your mother? Think of it this way – do you constantly want to listen to a friend/colleague/loved one complain all the time? Probably not. Well it’s the same situation on social media: if you’re too negative, people will eventually tune you out and stop following you. It just gets old.

Before posting any social media content, think about what you want your readers to get out of it. Are you trying to raise awareness about a particular issue/current events? Do you want to share a funny video to give people a chuckle? (Sometimes I can’t resist sharing the Geico Hump Day commercial on a Wednesday). Your goal should be to educate, entertain, or in some cases, promote (it’s okay to market yourself – hey we all have some service or event we need to promote sometimes).

And finally, beware of over-sharing. If you’re out having a great time at a new local restaurant you’re trying, by all means, take a selfie and give the place a plug. But leave it at that, please. Otherwise, social media can become disruptive and interfere with your face-to-face interactions. It’s much more engaging to share a meal with another human being across the table rather than your smartphone. Just some food for thought.

 

 

KellyKassEditorial Launches!!

Today I unveiled my new website, http://kellykasseditorial.com. Many thanks to everyone who’s given me lovely feedback including Liking my Facebook page.

While I’ve written for multiple channels over the years, there’s nothing like having your own “baby” and seeing your name in lights, so to speak. As writers, we don’t always get credit for our work; we’re often behind the scenes crafting the words to make businesses shine. (And I’m certainly not complaining about that!). It’s simply what we do.

Of course, I’ll continue to blog on WordPress, but be sure to stop by my Facebook page for additional commentary and writing tips.

Thank you!

Making the good sell

This week, I finished writing the copy for my soon-to-be-launched website.

As I composed the text, I couldn’t help but notice how challenging it is to write about yourself. When I’m writing about clients (e.g. creating their online bios), it’s much easier for some reason. I guess it’s because I’m being paid to make them sound as accomplished as possible – embellishing and “bragging” is highly permitted! When I’m writing about myself, I’m conscious about not sounding too full of myself. Sure, you want to sound competent and qualified but it’s important not to overdo it so you don’t sound arrogant or egotistical.

Sometimes it’s better to let other people do the boasting which is why I’ve included testimonials from clients and former colleagues who know me best. It’s lovely seeing so many compliments in writing but editing the text? That’s quite a task also. How can you possibly amend copy that is singing your praises? FYI – I wound up using the most relevant information and dividing other comments into snippets to place throughout the site.

When it comes to writing about yourself, always have your resume handy (or your LinkedIn profile). Both help to refresh your memory about past work experience and accomplishments.

Another aspect of writing about yourself is that in the end, you feel pretty darn good reviewing everything you’ve accomplished in your still-growing career. When you’re living it, you don’t always have time to observe all that you’re doing for your clients or to let their happy reactions sink in. It’s always on to a new project.

So, freelancers, be sure to take time to appreciate your successful projects and don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.