Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Professional Relationships

by Deren Hansen

How many of us wouldn't jump at the chance to be a professional writer?

How would it be to spend our days wrapped in a comfy smoking jacket, pipe in hand, dispensing pearls of prose to eager readers?

Oh, wait, that's the fantasy writer (not the writer of fantasies). You know better.

You know that professional writers work hard at writing, revising one book, drafting another, and outlining a third all at the same time. You know that professional writers work constantly at promotion in every venue, both real and virtual, they can find.

You know all that, and you think you're up to the job.

But do you know how many of your private prerogatives you'll have to give up?

One of the things you must give up as a professional writer is your public opinions. That's not to say you don't have opinions, simply that you're no longer at liberty to share.

Why?

Because professionals must work with everyone.

The mantra of the consultant is,
I'm a professional.
I don't have problems.
I don't cause problems.
I solve your problems.

As a professional, you don't have the luxury of not liking someone, particularly in an industry as small as publishing where there's a real chance you might have to work with them at some point in the future.

In a panel on professional comportment at LTUETracy Hickman said, "There's only thing you can be sure of: you never know who you're talking to, so treat everybody as important."

In the same panel Howard Tayler reminded us of the 2010 Dr. Who Christmas episode where the doctor, in response to someone who says another character isn't important, replies, "How fascinating. I've never met anyone who isn't important."


Deren blogs at The Laws of Making.

2 comments:

Julie Daines said...

This is so important! Thanks for reminding us.

Joseph Ramirez said...

I like those quotes. Of the authors whom I know/have met, my favorites are people who treat everyone with kindness. And they aren't doing it because they want to make good PR, even though they know that good PR is important. You can just feel the genuine kindness that's naturally inside them flowing out of them.