Ten Things Writers Can Learn From Politicians

Be informed:  There is no educational requirement for a politician, nor is there one for a writer.  But a successful politician would never enter the arena without being well-informed.  As a writer in today’s market it is critical that we become informed.  We need to know what is going on in the publishing industry, we need to know what is going on in the genre or area we write in and we need to know what is going on in the world around us.

Believe in yourself:  It takes a certain amount of belief in self to go into politics. It requires a healthy ego.  As writers we need to believe in ourselves.  How can we expect anyone else to believe in us if we don’t believe in ourselves?

Be a risk taker:  Every time a politician tries something new or different he/she takes a risk.  Every time we as writers try something new or different we expose ourselves to new possibilities.  With each new adventure we add something to our knowledge base that we might incorporate into our writing.

Surround yourself with supportive people:  A politician would never start a campaign without a supporting cast, so why do we as writers believe we can write successfully in a vacuum?  We need to surround ourselves with positive, supportive people.  If our immediate families or our circle of friends aren’t supportive of our writing we need to consider joining a writing group…or starting one.  Anyone who doesn’t know any other writers might consider taking a writing class or attend a writing seminar.  One will certainly find like-minded individuals in both of these venues.

Know your audience:  Successful politicians are adept at tailoring their presentations to the audience they are addressing.  As writers we need to be aware of why we are writing what we write and who our reader will be.  When we are ready to submit our work or send out a query we must make sure that the publisher or agent we are sending our work to is someone who will be interested in it.  Nothing is a bigger waste of time than sending our work or queries to sources that do not publish the topic or genre in which we write.

Put a new spin on an old story:  Politicians are masters at putting a new spin on an old story.  When it comes to writing it is difficult to find a topic that has never been covered.  However a new angle might be just the ticket to getting our work published.  It may mean that we have to step out of our comfort zone. (Consider that item above—be a risk taker.)  It is all about creativity and we wouldn’t write if we weren’t creative.

Ask for help:  Politicians ask for help all the time.  As writers we need to do the same.  We need to conquer our fears.  We need to become friends with the local librarians.  They can often save us hours of research time.  We just have to ask.  They can also provide us with a venue to promote our work.

We need to overcome our fear of asking someone for an interview.  That interviewee may offer us that “spin” we need on an old story to make it marketable again.

We can ask a local retailer to carry our book. We don’t have to stop there we can ask the local bookstore owner to host a public book signing.

Learn to speak well:  The successful politician has learned to present himself in the best manner possible.  He attends speeches and rallies prepared.  As the publishing industry requires more of individual authors, and as the trend toward self-publishing increases, it has become imperative that we work on our presentation skills.    We are a critical element in our own marketing strategy.

Learn to accept rejection:  Every politician realizes that the voters may reject him on Election Day.  He has to learn to live with that possibility.  As a writer we have to accept that not everyone will love what we write.  Rejection is just part of the process.  Remember that nearly every successful author has had his/her share of rejection letters.

Be tenacious:  Even when the going gets tough the successful politician sticks to his schedule.  As writers we have to learn that same persistence.  We have to be determined to keep to our writing schedule.  We have to be steadfast about sending out our queries.  We have to be unmoved by the nay-sayers.  Yes, some will call us stubborn.  Some may even call us pig-headed.  That is why it is so important that we have a support system in place.  Because as fellow writers we know that tenacity is just a sign that we are truly committed to the craft.



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