by Kathy Fuller
I just finished reading Herbie J. Pilato’s post: Kindness Trumps Talent, which is a great piece about how passion and attitude can often overcome a lack of talent. Mr. P. was talking about actors and acting, but this also applies to writing.
Writing is, for the most part, a solitary endeavor. Sure you can interact with other people through brainstorming, critiquing, and liquid lunches bemoaning the state of publishing/television/movies/society in general. But putting words on paper and then editing those words until they become a literary masterpiece requires only one person. Writing can be done by committee, but the physical act still rests on a single person’s shoulders. Or should I say fingertips.
But after the writing is done there are still people to deal with, and no one wants to deal with a supercilious writer. Whether you’re pitching your TV pilot, conferencing with an editor on your latest book, or talking to the media about your upcoming project, check your attitude at the door. Better yet, leave it at home.
- Be sure to smile, even if you don’t feel like it.
- Be easy to work with, even if the person you’re working with is a moron.
- Be approachable, even if you’d rather be left alone (which most writers prefer).
- Be kind, even if you normally make Gregory House M.D. look like a sweetheart. Like Mr. P. said, kindness trumps talent.
- Be funny, even if you have to work on it. A sense of humor is endearing. Be snarky, or clever, or goofy. Just don’t be obnoxious.
- Be passionate about your work, even if at times you wonder why you ever decided to be a writer.
You need to cultivate a good reputation to survive in this business. No one wants to work with a diva or a divo. Polish your social skills with the same zeal you use to polish your final draft, and you’ll have an advantage over the competition.