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Write for Success!

More than likely, you've been there, pounding the pavement for a job, or, hoping to retain the one you have. You'll come across plenty of tips for job security; even what to wear. The common mantra is: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Dressing for Success is supposed to reflect your professionalism to the outside world, while making you feel confident enough to continue moving forward.

As a writer, you don't often get the chance to influence editors or publishers or even readers in this way. The threads that adorn you are woven with your words on the page or on the screen. Make them count...

Write for the Market you Want
...not (only) for the one you have

Appropriate Attire...
Make sure your work is a good "fit" and doesn't clash. Your sci-fi story is out of place in the personal essay market.

Choose your Accessories wisely...
Make sure your bright and shiny metaphors reflect your work-- everything should be held together in a fitting presentation.

The Glimpse in the Mirror... 
Glance at your Copy. Is your eye is drawn to words that look uncomfortable dangling there? If so-- edit them! Distractions will make your work busy, even if you meant them to accessorize.

Cover letters, E-mail subject lines, profile photos-- these give the first impression. When your work struts into a room, make sure these convey the message you want to send--The enclosed story is going to make you laugh/cry/think, etc.

Look like you Paid Full Price...
Just because your work hasn't hit the big time yet doesn't mean it shouldn't be presented in rags. Tailor your writing with seamless edits, even if you have to thread the needle yourself (or find a trusted friend).

Don't worry about Overdressing...
When you haven't yet become the writer "invited" to every affair, your work isn't in a position to turn down an appearance-- so let it shine! If you continuously show up looking like $1/word at the $ .10/word parties, you will get noticed.

Of course, don't let yourself get stuck slumming for too long. If you truly belong in the higher end soirée, by all means go there as well. Don't allow yourself to think of it as crashing. Consider this your invitation to the front gate.

The rest is up to you!


  1. Thanks, Laura! I am enjoying "Wavy Lines" as well-- loved your quote about the guilty writer:"I don’t know of many jobs where people feel guilty when they’re off on the weekends." Great stuff!


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