That’s right … I AM, aren’t I?


My wife and I were having a discussion just the other day about writing. I was talking about something I read online.

At one writer’s blog, another writer gave advice and/or critique to the first writer about the industry and its processes. The commenter left little doubt through grammar and usage about their skill level. To be sure, though, I followed the name link back to the commenter’s blog and read a few excerpts. They were at best pedestrian; at worst, poor.

That gave me pause. How did one author give another input and critique when they clearly lack the skills themselves to give that advice?

I dug a bit deeper and read the piece being commented on a second time. It seemed strong to my eye – well-written, correct style, grammar, usage. The prose looked good. Far superior to what the commenter displayed, at least. I scratched my head a bit more. I decided to go back to the commenter’s site and look around. Maybe I got a bad example; maybe it was a rough, unedited draft. Maybe it was deliberately poor for the sake of the story.

Nope. Categorically, it was pretty bad writing. And then I stumbled upon something – the commenter had been published in a couple of small online publications and had a book contract pending with a small, independent publisher.

I checked out the publisher as much as possible but … well, most of you know my situation and I won’t hammer on it here. Let’s just say I didn’t get very far with that.

But I still found it interesting how a clearly inferior writer made it to the ranks of a “working pro” while someone with greater skills and talent hadn’t. AND, that the weaker of the two gave advice simply because they felt they were a “working pro”.

I said so to my wife, along with my hope that I’d never be one of those “working pros” who look down their noses at someone who hasn’t been published yet, even if they’re clearly a better writer than I. I lamented being willing to give someone else advice just because I achieved something they hadn’t, by whatever circumstance.

She looked at me for a minute, tossed up a hand and said, “But – you are a working pro.”

It took me a minute to realize she was right. I’ll be published soon. I’ll have my name on books in bookstores, on the shelves. I’ve been paid to write, and paid pretty well. I’ve made more on a single book deal than many writers ever make.

I’m a “working pro”.

How cool is that? I think it’s pretty frickin’ cool. So, all you writers can look for me to give you advice and tell you what’s what in the industry and how to get it done, because I know. I’ve been there, done that. I’m an authority.

I’m a “working pro”, after all. 😉

-JDT-

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10 thoughts on “That’s right … I AM, aren’t I?

  1. This post touches on a blog post I’ve been wanting to write. But congratulations on being a working pro!

    Aw, thank you!

    I don’t leave comments that critique a person’s writing–not unless they ask and even then I know I’m not an expert, I’m not perfect, and there is no reason to be rude.

    I asked for feedback on a #flashfriday piece once, and every time thereafter a lot of folks felt it was okay to tee off on me. One guy was particularly rude. I guess it comes with the territory. I’ll only ask for feedback from trusted sources from now on.

    Anyway, I’ve got to get the kiddo to school now.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    You too. 🙂

  2. I LOVE IT!!! You ARE a working pro, and don’t you ever forget it! I’m scared to crit you now. lol

    Fear me! FEAR MEEEEE!!! AAAAHAHAHAHAHA! J/K, J/K. You should never be afraid to offer me feedback. You should be afraid of MY FEEDBACK! I’m a WORKING PRO!! Muaaaahahahahahahahaha!! 😉 (Still kidding.)

  3. Being paid to write doesn’t make somebody a good writer. It makes them a good con artist.

    You’re just jealous.

  4. Congrats for being a working pro! I don’t know about the writer you mentioned, maybe he’s not aware of the way he writes, he just thinks he’s great, I guess the small online publications beefed up his ego. One should always be humble no matter what.

    You’re so right, sweetie. Humility is key.

    I’ll be one of the first buying your books. Hope it ships internationally too so I can get my hands on it. Good luck!

    Aw, thanks! I’ll let everyone know when I find out. It’s expected date for Amazon.uk is June 18. We’ll see. 🙂

  5. It’s real hard to sort this all out, isn’t it? Like Marta, I tend to be really nervous about giving someone unsolicited critiques Another part of me says, well, if they put something online then it’s fair game, right? But that “other part” almost never wins.

    Yes, I know what you mean. I never do it anymore. I can’t. I have one person I offer feedback too, and it’s mostly just line edits and typo alerting. I don’t have the gumption to do any more than that, and I only do it with him because he asks.

    On top of which, I just don’t have enough confidence that I know what I’m talking about anyway. Except in this comment, ha.

    EXACTLY. I told someone once they used too many passive tense statements in their writing. Someone with a lot more formal training came back and basically bitch-slapped me about how wrong I was. It wasn’t the passive tense, it was past tense or past perfect or past pluperfect or some crap. It gave me pause. I realized then I lack the formal training to call things by their right names. I don’t have the confidence or know-how to argue my point if there’s dissent, and I don’t feel I have what it takes to give good crit. So I don’t. I’m chicken. (It was passive VOICE, btw — too many “to be” verbs in past tense: was, were, had, had been, etc.)

  6. I think you should tack “Working Pro” on the the end of your name when you sign stuff.

    J.Dane Tyler, Working Pro.

    Oh, I’m so doing that. And I’m going to start with my comments on your blog.

  7. This speaks to the adjustment process that has to occur whenever we change our labelling or identity. Remember how when you first got married it was really weird calling your wife “my wife” and being called a husband? But then you got used to it. You professional author, you.

    LOL! Well, that’s a new idea. Thanks, Spark!

  8. We’re all entitled to our opinion, people with more experience writing will see the errors, and how they would do it differently. My grammar skills aren’t amazing, but I like what I like, grammar accuracy or not. It’s like when you watch singing competitions… it’s rather subjective, with objective structuring.

    And yes, you are a pro writer! Don’t ever forget it! I’m telling ya, next think you know, you’ll be posting your blog saying:

    Dear Darc’lings,

    I’m not going to be around as often, because I’ve just signed on for a book tour.
    Be back when I can!

    PS – check the “link” for a book signing/chat near you!

    And if you ever make it up to little ol’ Nova Scotia, I’ll come get one signed!

    (:

    HAHAHAHA! From your fingers to God’s ear, love! I’ll let you know when/if it happens, promise! Thanks for cheering me on.

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