Being a professional writer starts with attitude – your attitude, that is.
‘Attitude’ is a word that has several meanings, both physical and mental. The aspects of meaning that concern me here are a mental position, state of mind or emotional feeling toward something.
The word ‘attitude’ can also be used both positively and negatively, with the context and tone telling the difference between the two, and this can be confusing. For example, you could be praised for your positive attitude about team-mates; or you could be criticised for having an ‘attitude’. (The latter is something teenagers and younger children are commonly accused of when they talk back to their parents, for example).
I am using the positive aspect of ‘attitude’ in this article. The Professional Writer’s Attitude is one you definitely want to develop!
What are some characteristics of this professional attitude?
- Doing your best in whatever you do. There is so much in this, and of course, it is not just a good attitude for a writer, but in all areas of life, whether professional or not.
- Being polite to everyone you are involved with. If you think politeness went out of fashion about the time men stopped opening car doors for women, you are wrong. Politeness involves the use of manners of course (‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ haven’t lost their value – ever), but is also an attitude that influences all dealings with other people. I think of it as a lubricant that helps all human relationships function better.
- Being a ‘team worker’. This is also not just an ability to work out schedules and plans together, or attend meetings with reasonable cooperation, but the attitude behind it that says ‘Life is not all about me.’ If you are a writer who works from home, as I do, this means recognising that you are in a team with editors and any other people involved in the process. Working alone can make you forget this teamwork sometimes, but it will help you to keep it in mind.
- Having an aptitude attitude – that is, a determination to keep improving your skills. Writing is not a finite skill; it requires continual effort to improve.
- Having integrity, meaning ‘moral uprightness, honesty, wholeness, soundness’ in the Oxford Dictionary. If you have integrity, your failings may be overlooked. If you do not have this attitude, no other skills are likely to improve your status in society. Integrity is, quite simply, vital to the professional writer (and everyone else of course). In the writing world, this is seen particularly in the way you write about people.
The Professional Writer’s attitude is really many attitudes wrapped up in a bundle; attitudes that were demonstrated by Jesus, and can be seen in the lives of many great men and women throughout history.
I encourage you to keep striving toward this Professional Writer’s Attitude. It will never let you down.
Note: This is a repeat blog.