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!!

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.

Freelance is the real deal

Last week I went on an interview for a potential freelance writing gig working for a large organization in Manhattan. I must say, I was impressed with the whole process. I wound up meeting with 3 different executives during an interview that lasted 90 minutes.

The experience reminded me a lot of job interviews I’ve had for staff positions. For anyone who thinks that freelance status pales in comparison to full-time work, think again. Employers take the role very seriously.

As a freelance employee, you’re required to learn and take on the voice of prominent companies. You need to learn their brand, their mission and their values. What are they all about?

If you’re a staff member, you live the brand every day through regular internal communication. Freelancers enter an organization to work on short-term projects with the hope that they will turn into long-term ones.

That’s why my freelance tip of the day is GET TO KNOW THE COMPANY YOU’RE TRYING TO FREELANCE WITH.

A seasoned freelancer will know this but many people don’t. They think relying on their resume and skills alone is enough. In reality, you need to do your homework. When it does come to your skills, you need to be able to specifically apply them to the role you’ll be filling. For example, if you’re a writer like me, you need to make sure your skills are a fit for the particular communications channel (and industry) the employer has in mind.

Another helpful hint: the more show and tell you bring to an interview, the better. A resume is all well and good but interviewers appreciate if they have something they can take away from the interview. In my case, it was several writing samples I printed off the web. Sure you can send people links but there’s nothing like holding someone’s writing in your hand. You’re leaving a little piece of yourself behind.

As freelancers, it’s important to keep in mind that we have what many bosses don’t have enough of: time. We can offer them a respite from endless multi-tasking and overflowing calendars. And working on a project basis makes us more affordable than salaried employees with benefits, not to mention paying overtime.

Freelancers are an attractive part of the work force, now more than ever!