A century and a half ago, British humorist Jerome K. Jerome admitted that what he was looking for was a blessing not in disguise. If you can write well, you know you are blessed. You’ve no doubt received many undisguised blessings as a result of your talent. And, you have no doubt expressed your gratitude for them in one way or another.
Are you optimizing your blessing?
If you wish to expand both your audience and your income, though, you will have to do more than simply express your gratitude. You have to take advantage of the talent with which you have been blessed. I’d like to share how an article I wrote for an unfamiliar audience led to an all-expense-paid trip to Brazil, and another to Singapore!
For years, my writing and corporate training work focused on business managers and executives. One day, while working for the State of Michigan, I was introduced to a lovely older woman who had been the executive secretary for five of the state’s governors. She asked if I would speak to the local secretarial association. I immediately agreed, having served as a secretary for a short time myself. The presentation led to requests from other secretarial groups, and also led to my writing a book (The Quality Secretary), as well as numerous articles for secretarial publications.
One article, for Professional Secretaries International (later renamed International Association of Administrative Professionals), was scheduled for release at the same time the association was holding its international conference. I was asked to address the audience—thousands of professionals from all over the world. The association was also kind enough to feature my work in the back of the room. In that audience was a woman who worked as a translator for the Brazilian government. She invited me and the association’s president to deliver an address in Sao Paulo. Not only was I paid handsomely, but I was also booked first class on Varig Airlines. (If you’ve never had a stewardess recline your seat into a bed, after serving a four-star dinner, fluff your pillow, tuck you in for the night, and leave you with a leather bag of toiletries for your morning rise, you are missing something wonderful.)
The best part of the experience, of course, was not the luxury accommodations, but the opportunity to learn about another culture. And, of course, to list the experience on my resume.
Soon thereafter, I received a similar request to speak in Singapore. The benefits I derived were the same—a generous stipend, first-class accommodations, the chance to network with business leaders in a foreign country, and an experience unlike any I had known before.
Go beyond your usual audience on occasion
No matter the genre in which you write, your writing would probably interest those who are not your usual readers. If you write historical novels, for example, historical societies that have newsletters or web sites would probably be interested in a historical slant you can provide from your research.
Find organizations that may need articles and/or speakers
In 2011, along with 99 other volunteers from across the nation, I was invited to help decorate the White House for Christmas. There, I befriended a New Jersey caterer, who has since turned her White House experience into a series of presentations for women’s clubs across the state. You may not have explored the possibility of addressing such clubs, but you will in all likelihood enrich your writing when you have to convert it to the construct of a presentation. The feedback and questions the audience provides can also enrich your writing.
David A. R. White, and countless other observers of the human spirit, knows that “if you can make a living doing what you love, that is a blessing.” Make your blessings count more than they do by exploring new audience avenues. You may be surprised at what opportunities are revealed!
How do you capitalize on your talents and blessings in the writing arena? Tell us about it in the COMMENTS section!
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Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer whose clients include Lockheed Martin, Allied Signal, Department of the Interior, and Navy SEALS. She writes extensively about education, business, self-improvement, and careers and has adjuncted at UCLA and National University. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was named a main selection by the Executive Book Club. Principled Persuasion, a more recent title, was designated a Director’s Choice by the Doubleday Book Club. Applying Mr. Albert: 365+ Einstein-Inspired Brain Boosts, her 62nd book, will be released by HRD Press in in early 2019.
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