Monday, June 20, 2011

Team Players Needed

WANTED: Self-motivated person willing to work long hours alone. Required skills include experience in relevant research, good vocabulary, above average knowledge of proper grammar, powerful ability to express ideas and convince others, and willingness to rework projects as many times as needed. Pays at end of project based on marketing ability of worker, but may not be commensurate with hours expended. Dream also required. Send résumé. Only team players need apply.

Would you apply for this job? If you’re a serious writer intent on publication, you already have. Now you just need to get your résumé in order, attach the necessary document, and send it to the right people to put the realization of your dream in motion.

How do team players fit in here? Let’s check out that résumé.

Self-motivated: All freelance writers must set aside time to write and follow up with appropriate action. Enter family, friends, and critique group, all of whom make up the cheering section.

Willing to work alone: Writing is a solitary profession—unless, of course, you’re involved in a collaborative effort such as a newspaper or journal or a book with multiple contributing authors. Enter family members and friends who bring coffee, hot chocolate, iced tea, a carry-out meal, or a pot of homemade soup. And don’t forget your dedicated readers and critique group.

Research experience: Research can be as basic as finding the right word/spelling in a dictionary or as complex as the intricate workings of the human brain, as simple as the wonder of the first-time mother and her newborn or as detailed as accurate background information for a historical novel. Enter librarians and copy editor.

Good vocabulary: Not only are a variety of words needed to present a story or topic, but they must be appropriate to both content and audience. Enter substantive and line editors.

Proper grammar: More than a nodding acquaintance with grammar, sentence structure, strong verbs, and spelling are a prerequisite for this job. Enter copy editor and proofreader.

Expressing ideas and convincing others: Non-fiction writers need credentials or other validation. Novelists want readers to suspend disbelief. Whether in a how-to book or a gripping thriller, the ideas expressed and/or the arguments presented must strike a chord with the reading audience. Enter developmental and content editors, manuscript readers, and critique group.

Reworking projects: The term “rewrite” takes on a whole new meaning. Enter critique group and editors.

Team Players: Teams include friends, family, librarians, dedicated manuscript readers, critique groups, fellow writers, editors, proofreaders, publishers, printers, distributors, retail outlets, and more, all of whom play a vital role in nurturing writer and book from conception through creation to completion. A writer without a team is—almost without exception—a writer without a dream.

So what document must be attached to your résumé? Your manuscript, of course—well written, edited, proofed, and virtually error free—the product of a writer who tapped into the synergy offered by a powerful team to shape, hone, and polish that manuscript to a magnificent shine, a writer with a dream.

What kind of team do you use to realize your dream?

Linda Lane and her editing team can be found at Their goal is to raise the bar on the quality of independently and self-published books through writing and editing workshops.

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  1. Very helpful post, Linda. It is good to be reminded that we are part of a team. And I would not apply for that job you posted. LOL

  2. That add sums up writing! And makes me giggle because of the truth of it. But yet, it's what I adore doing.

  3. I'm definitely learning how to become a team player despite the solitude of the actual act of writing.

  4. Hi Linda,
    It looks like you've nailed the requirements. You might add "willing to work for irregular and insufficient pay."

  5. Your post is thoughtful and thought-provoking.
    My team also includes the many blogger buddies I've met through my blog.
    donna v.

  6. Maryann:
    This was not only a great take on the team player angle, but wow--that's a frightening job description! Mainly because it's so true (and that would be why that elusive but highly motivated dream is required!).

    Sorry I'm late commenting. I was traveling.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.