We're all salesmen – at least that's what we're told. I, for one, am not the least interested in selling anything to anyone.
But, I can see remarkable similarities between writing and selling. See if you agree.
Salesmen begin every morning with a blank slate. They have to get out of bed and do something to make a living based on commissions.
Writers also start each day with a blank slate. It's up to writers to get out of bed and write in order to create something of value and earn their stripes as writers..
Writers may, or may not, use their words to overtly sell their ideas or work to others. But, their goal is to, at least, offer something that has enough value that others will read, and think about, what they have to say.
Both salesmen and writers put themselves out in public knowing full well that they may hear "No, not interested" at least as much as "Yes, thank you". .
There is no real glory in either occupation. Both sales and writing are hard work. They take practice and skill. They both require follow-through.if the goal is to be achieved.
Salesmen generally have concrete products and/or services to offer.
That may be true of writers. But in the case of writers, much of what they have to offer is as yet little more than an idea.
So where do writers get those ideas?
Ideas come from everywhere. They are impressions that a writer thinks might have value to their readers. They are experiences that they want to share. They are opinions that warrant discussion. It helps to write what you know; but, worthy writing can be the result of curiosity and research – or even, can be just a flight of fancy…a story with no other purpose than to entertain.
Ideas often take shape and evolve in the process of putting words on paper. An idea may sound interesting at first blush but often the writer discovers that the words take on a life of their own — molding themselves into something quite different as one word follows another. The challenge is for the writer to allow himself or herself the luxury to follow along as the work develops.
That's the creative part of writing. You don't want to stop the process until you feel the moment of "a-ha" — the sweet feeling that comes when the work is done.
Then, the real work begins.. editing the work, getting rid of the chaff and adding the sizzle. The challenge is to make the work so enticing that readers will look forward to each new word and idea.
What we aren't told, though, is that writing is not always going to be great. It doesn't always work as planned. And a writer has to be his own most ruthless critic…Ask any writer how much of his work gets deleted (or trashed) in order to get to something he or she is comfortable sharing with the world. But that's ok. Practice makes perfect and the more you experiment the better your work becomes.
Oh, yes! There, too, salesmen and writers have a lot in common…