How To Avoid Career Mistakes
Afraid of career mistakes? You are not alone … Being a writer is not the easiest of career path choices.
You can be the most talented and hardworking writer out there, but if you make any of these ten career mistakes your career will hardly get off the ground. Here is our best advice for writers attempting to get off the ground. Ready? Let’s go …
Mistake #1: Forgetting to Forge Connections
One of the biggest mistakes that writers can make is to isolate themselves. Even though the job can be done in isolation, it is no way to further a good career.
The good news is, there are many communities that involve scriptwriters and novelists. Whether in person or online, there are many clubs, resources, and coalitions that you can get involved in to make your mark in the writing world.
TAKEAWAY: Connections will help you in the future, so ensure that you have networking at the forefront of your mind.
Mistake #2: Missing Deadlines
In the scriptwriting and book-writing businesses, you have to meet deadlines.
If you are a scriptwriter, you need to understand projects are in development for a very long time. Film production companies need the script and then plan for casting, read-throughs, rehearsal, filming and the film’s release. They can’t wait around for you to either pick up a pen and write, or get to the computer and type.
The same is true for books. When writing a book, the publisher will expect you to write a great book for them to publish. Like film studios, publishers can’t wait for you to start writing to get the ball rolling for your book.
If you miss a deadline for an important or new client, you are basically shooting yourself in the foot for the rest of your career. If you know you need extra time, communicate this with your producer or publisher.
TAKEAWAY: If you miss deadlines, it will not bode well for your existing job or jobs in the future. Protect your reputation!
Mistake #3: Forgetting to Proof your Work
Scripts and books need to be proofread before submission. PERIOD.
If you do not read through and proof the work that you submit, they will have to take extra time to re-edit your work. Even worse, they could submit or publish something that has your initial mistakes in it.
Both of these scenarios are bad options. They will cause your client to lose trust and faith in you and your ability as a writer. (By the way, if you have an added challenge like dyslexia, this is okay … There are proof reading tools and people who can help. Don’t let grammar purists put you off!).
TAKEAWAY: Always proof read.
Mistake #4: Sticking to the Easy Stuff
Writing is never easy, especially in scriptwriting and novel writing.
It may seem easier to take the job where you are going to need to put less thought, time and effort in. However, this is the worst thing you can do for your career and skillset. Although these jobs might be easier, they are less impressive on your resume. They also probably pay less and will not challenge you or develop your skills as a writer any further.
TAKEAWAY: Try to challenge yourself as a scriptwriter and novelist. Take risks in your writing! Find the right people to work with and build on your writing skills.
Mistake #5: Forgetting your Personal ‘Brand’
Scriptwriters and authors are essentially creating their own brands – themselves.
So, it is important to build up and establish your personal writing ‘brand.’ It doesn’t have to be only one topic or genre. Perhaps you can become known for writing female leads? Or about controversial themes? Or in a particular style?
TAKEAWAY: Spreading yourself too thin is never a good idea. Find your ‘thing’ and stick to it.
Mistake #6: Not Promoting your Work
As mentioned in the previous point, scriptwriters and authors are their own brand. That’s why it’s important to leverage the power of promotion of your written work.
TAKEAWAY: Marketing is difficult, but social media can really help with this. Just don’t spam everyone!
Mistake #7: Forgetting Your Peers and Contacts
Believe it or not, people that may have liked your past scripts or books can still be of use to you. Don’t let the success go to your head!
TAKEAWAY: Try not to forget about those who first believed in you when you were nobody. These connections might benefit you in the future.
Mistake #8: Not Asking for a Pay Rise
In a normal job, salary increases over a period of time. Being a scriptwriter or novelist is no different.
If you have been consistently delivering, do not be afraid to ask for more money. The worst they can do is say no! Don’t let your rates become static as your work improves.
TAKEAWAY: Getting more money is where having an agent can really pay (literally!) … but don’t forget to stand up for yourself and ask for a raise yourself if you don’t!
Mistake 9: Not Going Digital (and staying up-to-date)
Finally, you’re a scriptwriter! You’re a novelist or non fiction author! That means you should grow as a writer … This means paying attention to new digital trends. Far from being a distraction, they could be a real opportunity to get your writing and brand ‘out there’.
As new digital trends come about, follow them and adjust your work and skillset to fit the new trends as they develop. Novelists are discovering TikTok and Substack right now. Screenwriters need to understand how building an online platform can help them stand out in a crowded market.
TAKEAWAY: ALL writers need to pay attention to what’s going on in the online world to get their work out there.
Now You Can Avoid These 9 Career Mistakes
As you can see, many career mistakes can be made, whether you’re a scriptwriter or a book writer. By learning from these 9 mistakes, your writing career will take off in many positive ways than one!
BIO: Eileen Harrison is a content creator for websites, blogs, articles and social media platforms and one of the professional essay writers at Coursework Writing Service. She is keen on attracting the attention of a target audience at Writinity.com and Draftbeyond.com.