More on the Professionalism of Writers (or lack thereof)

More on the Professionalism of Writers (or lack thereof)

Hi Ang:

As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s mailing. Regarding your response to that teenager (or are you tired of hearing comments on that post?) I wholeheartedly agree that your ‘tough love’ approach was the right one. I can always tell when graduation day is coming close for the public relations students at the community colleges up here in the Toronto area of Canada. In addition to my book and article writing, I also have a few small PR accounts that keep the wolf from the door (very few Canadian writers can make a living out of books and freelance writing) and my name is in several publications indicating I do PR work. Every spring, I get employment query letters from graduating students and I make a point of answering every one of them, telling them that I’m a one-person operation. I can’t recall one instance where I haven’t also had to point out that if the person is applying for a job in public relations, he or she should at least send out a query letter that isn’t riddled with typos and spelling mistakes. I recall one letter where the person suggested he just wanted a temporary job until he could get established as a “real writter”. And, by the way, I have NEVER received a follow-up letter thanking me for my advice.

I once taught Media Writing for a semester at one of the colleges. I knew from Day One that I wouldn’t be renewing the contract when one student, not atypical of the rest of the class, put up his hand and said: “Sir, I want to be a PR man. Why do I have to learn how to write?” When I asked him what he thought PR people did, he said: “Take people out for drinks!”

Tom Douglas


How to make self-employment work for you right now.