My guest today is author, blogger, businesswoman Linda Faulkner. If I remember correctly, I first met Linda when I followed a link to her Author Exchange Blog, a site where she promoted other authors, posting announcements and interviews. This year, she is switching from the interviews to featuring guest posts. Submission guidelines are available at the blog.
Write What You Know … and Other Writing Advice I’ve Twisted to My Benefit by Linda Faulkner, Guest Blogger
We writers have heard all kinds of advice. I’m here to tell you that some writing advice is good and some is poop. Then there’s the kind of advice you need to heed … after twisting it into shape as if it were your own personal Gumby action figure.
The biggest piece of writing advice I followed and then twisted to my benefit is write what you know. It led me to earn significant income from my writing and it can help you do the same thing.
Life, in the guise of a divorce and facing single-motherhood with three teenagers, put a serious crimp in the amount of time I was able to devote to my fiction writing—which I’d been doing since childhood. Which meant I wrote essentially zero fiction between 1994 and about 2003.
MEAT OF THE STORY:
Of course, being a writer means writing. Although I didn’t have the time to write fiction during those years, I found myself writing other stuff—all in the insurance industry, which is where I worked. In addition to owning an insurance agency, I was an insurance trainer and instructor. So, I began writing insurance texts and courses. I was asked to write magazine articles in insurance trade journals. Then, a fellow I knew who published a monthly entertainment magazine in Orlando, Florida asked me to write a monthly business column for his periodical—even though I lived in Massachusetts.
These pursuits propelled me to my first “professional” publication of material in 2002. I sold one business in Massachusetts in 2003, moved to Montana three months later, and founded two different insurance businesses here. One of them is an insurance education and training business and, you guessed it, I wrote the entire curriculum.
I found the time to write a couple more fiction novels and one sold in 2008. However, the really interesting and ironic thing about the release of Second Time Around in January 2009 is that it thrust me into a completely different realm of publishing and writing: freelancing and non-fiction.
When I shouted to the world that I was a published writer—for some odd reason, many people didn’t take the magazine, newspaper, and trade publications seriously, even though I was paid to write them—I began receiving contract offers to write all kinds of stuff for businesses, insurance education organizations, a national speaker, etc.—and I snatched them up!
Which, in turn, prompted my husband to say, Why don’t you write some business books? They’re bound to sell better than that mystery. (He, the one who loves gory blood and guts science fiction movies and TV series, thinks reading mysteries and romance is going to rot my brain!) Despite our personal differences about the boob tube and romance novels, I followed his advice. Taking the Mystery Out of Business: 9 Fundamentals for Professional Success, the first in a series of business books, was released this month.
LESSON OF THE STORY:
I wrote what I knew.
Yes, YOU probably find insurance boring. I don’t–I love it. I’ve been working in the field for 36 years. I know it. I know it really well. And there’s a market for well-written insurance education material.
With my business book, I wrote what I knew. Not only have I been working in the business world for 36 years, I founded four different businesses—including my professional writing pursuits.
What do YOU know really well? What can you write about with absolute conviction, certainty, and expertise? In what subjects are you considered an expert?
Let me tell you, there aren’t too many “experts” out there who are really good writers. If there’s a market for a writer in your field, not only can you hone your writing skills, you can also earn darned good money doing it.
If you’re not on Linked In, you’re missing the boat. If you are on it and you’re not advertising and promoting ALL your professional endeavors, you’re still missing the boat. I formed a solid relationship with a client who regularly contracts me for freelance writing as the result of a search on Linked In.
Tell the world you write: then write any darned thing you can.
Linda, thanks so much for being my guest today. It’s always a pleasure working with you.