How to Write Your Writer’s Personal Statement in 3 Easy Steps

I read Writer’s Digest article 6 SIMPLE WAYS TO REBOOT YOUR WRITING ROUTINE and step #1 was to create an artist statement. I never thought about this before. I Googled ‘personal artist statement’ and was surprised by the amount of links that came up. Some articles specifically stated that artists are not writers. I disagree. I consider writing a form of art.

What is an artist’s personal statement?  It’s basically a short paragraph about the artist to accompany a painting, sculpture, groups of paintings or sculptures, or other works-of-art. Obviously, a writer’s personal statement would be a short paragraph about you, the writer, and your writings.

If a writer solely focuses on how much money they’ll earn or how much fame they’ll receive from publishing a book, they’ll probably become unfulfilled.

How to Write Your Writer’s Personal Statement in 3 Easy Steps

1. Keep your writer’s personal statement around 100 words.

2. Your writer’s personal statement could describe the genre(s) you write along with your style and tone. Consider naming authors/writers that you admire or have inspired your creative, freelance and ghost writing career. You can mention your education and other credentials too.

3. Think about the journalistic questions what, how, and why and answer the following questions:

  • Why do you write?
  • Why do you write what you write?
  • Why does it matter that you write?
  • Why do you put the time and effort into writing?
  • What are you trying to convey to readers through your writing?
  • What do you want your writing legacy to be?
  • How did you become a writer?

Use the above steps as a guideline to create your writer’s personal statement. If you wrote a writer’s personal statement last year, find and read it. Does your statement still apply? Have you grown as a writer? Are you still writing in the same genre(s)? Are you still freelance writing? If your writer’s personal statement no longer applies, write a new one and hang it up in your home office.


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Freelance Writers: Rebranding Doesn’t Have to be Painful

Freelance writers are no different than companies when it comes to branding. We have to creative a website, a web presence, and logo; stay on top of social media, communicate effectively with clients, etc. The owners or board of a company will rebrand because it could be time to go in another direction. Other times, a company will re-brand if it’s suffered a publicity scandal. Ouch! In any event, I’m no different than a company and have decided it’s time to rebrand me along with my portfolio site Change is good, and I anticipate only good to come from my decision. With that said … my new, balanced name is Amandah Tayler Blackwell (Amandah Blackwell); it has a nice ‘ring’ to it. For business purposes, I’ll use Amandah T. Blackwell as my signature.

I was surprised at how common it is for solo professionals to change their name. Let’s face it; most actors and actress change their name or use a stage name instead of their legal name. All of us know that Norma Jean became Marilyn Monroe. Marion Morrison is best known as John Wayne. I can’t imagine the movie poster for True Grit with the words, “True Grit starring Marion Morrison as Rooster Cogburn.” I don’t think so.

What’s this: Did you know that some freelance writers and authors use ‘pen names‘ instead of their ‘real’ names? Some of the best-selling authors don’t use their legal names and or publish under different pen names. Some authors have five or more pen names. That’s too many for me!

You may be wondering how I came up with Amandah Tayler Blackwell. Well … I contacted a company in Vancouver, B.C. that specializes in business and personal name changes. It’s not a decision I made lightly. In fact, I’ve been contemplating changing my name for quite some time. Family and friends may need more time to adjust to the change, but I believe it’s in my best interest and look forward to the new ‘energy’ around my ‘new’ name.

How to rebrand your company

1. Life is constantly changing, nothing is stagnant. Embrace change, and it will embrace you.

2. Re-branding can breathe new life into a business and or take it in a totally new direction.

3. What is your mission? Why are you in business? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you embrace rebranding your company.

4. Talk to your clients/customers. There’s a reason why companies conduct focus groups — they want to know what they’re customers want and or how to improve upon products and services. You may as well go straight to the ‘source’ and ask, “What can we do for you?”

5. Ask for help. If you’re in a ‘niche’ that’s saturated, partnering with other businesses is a great way to expand your market.

6. Rethink your target market. Can you expand your target market without having to introduce new products and services?

7. Consider renaming your company. Did you know that Pepsi was first known in 1898 as Brad’s Drink? The name was changed to Pepsi-Cola in 1903 and later to what we now recognize as Pepsi. Talk about an evolution! Pepsi is well-known throughout the world, with many satisfied customers.

8. Communication is the key. It’s important to show and tell clients and customers ‘why’ you’re rebranding and how it will benefit them. Create a video, infographic, etc. Change doesn’t have to be hard — it can be exciting and take you places you could have only imagined.

Thanks for tagging along on my journey. I appreciate everyone who reads and likes Savvy Writing Careers!

Amandah T. Blackwell

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Alexandre Dumas May Be Dead But He Still Makes Headlines and You Can Too

Alexandre Dumas is an author who still makes headlines — he’s been dead for over 140 years! And he’s one of my favorite authors. Alexandre’s books such as The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Count of Monte Cristo and other books have been made into Hollywood movies over and over again. Some of them are good, and some are not so good. But the point is Alexandre Dumas’ books are still read by millions of people and directors and producers continue to make movies based on his work. Talk about having the ‘it’ factor!

Why is Alexandre Dumas still popular? For one thing, he loved what he did and he was a versatile author. He had a rich family history which he used to his advantage. Did you know that one of his ancestors was a general in Napoleon’s army?  Unfortunately, this particular ancestor wasn’t serving in the army long, but he still earned the right to say, “I served with Napoleon.”

Do you have trouble writing? Do you schedule writing time, only to find yourself working on other things? Alexandre Dumas put in 14 hour days writing into the wee hours. He also collaborated with other writers to create works such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

Alexandre was a colorful character and could have been a character in one his novels! He was no angel but at least he was true to himself and never shied away from being his authentic self. He didn’t fret about what others would think of him, especially family and friends. Dumas lived large — emphasis on lived.

What authors and freelance writers can learn from Alexandre Dumas?

1. Use your family’s history to your advantage. If you come from a colorful family, write about it. Create characters based on people deceased and living. If you’re worried about backlash, give characters ‘extra’ characteristics that will differentiate them family and friends.

2. Write! You’ve heard this a billion times but it’s true. If you want to write a book, you must sit down and write it.

3. Forget about your closest critics. If you know you’re supposed to write a book, sit down and write it. Only speak about your books with supportive, loving people. This may not include family and friends.

4. Improve your writing by attending classes, conferences and workshops. Join writers groups, read blogs written by other writers, editors and literary agents; subscribe to the Writer’s Digest and other publications; and purchase a couple of books on writing.

5. Learn the art of sales and marketing. Like it or not, authors must become comfortable with sales and marketing. It’s important to learn how to connect with your audience. Welcome and answer their questions. Be sincere and grateful readers are buying your books. Don’t be afraid to ‘own’ and stand behind your writing. Increase your self-confidence by talking with a life or writing coach. You can be ‘all’ the writer you can be!

Whenever you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself “WWADO” What Would Alexandre Dumas Do?


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Your Mom Thinks You’re Special … What about the Media?

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Image by Dr. Keats via Flickr

Authors and experts, “What makes you special?” What sets you apart from the other authors and experts in your field? Take your time to think about it … I’ll wait. Did you think of at least five answers? If you didn’t, it’s time to start thinking about “What makes you special?”

Most people feel embarrassed or shy to answer, “What makes you special?” but this is an important question to answer if you want media attention for your book, seminar, workshop or class. If you want to promote your new book, you need to be prepared to answer this question; otherwise, the media won’t be attracted to you and your book. And, you’ll have missed your cue to spread your message.

The media loves to interview authors and experts who are special. Readers purchase books because authors have a message they can relate to or it’s a gripping, personal story. Event and meeting planners are attracted to speakers who are distinct — they’re message is meaningful and timely.

The good news is that everyone has something that makes them special. Follow the steps below to showcase how special and unique you are. The media won’t be able to take their eyes off of you!

How to show the media how special and unique you and your message are

1. What accomplishment have you achieved that most have not? Did you win a championship or write a book that’s mind blowing? What about starting a not-for-profit that received millions of dollars in three months? Did you discover an ancient city while on vacation? Make a list of your accomplishments that others may not have.

2. What’s new? What’s ‘old’ that’s new? Perhaps, you have a concept or idea that’s new; it’s pure genius. What do you teach or write that others don’t? Did you take a ‘worn out’ idea like networking and revamp it? How? Think about how you’ve packaged an ‘old idea’ in a new, innovative way.

3. What are your credentials? Did you graduate from Brown, Duke, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, St. Andrews, Edinburgh University, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, ETH Zurich, Kings College London or Princeton? Have you worked with royalty? Use your credentials in a headline such as “Cambridge-trained artist paints like Van Gogh and so can you.” Discuss current and previous professions and how you’ve helped thousands of people.

4. Tell your story. It’s not healthy to ‘relive’ your story over and over again. However, your ‘unique’ story will touch the lives of millions. They’ll be amazed how you overcame adversity. And, there could be someone, somewhere, with the same story. Telling your story means they’re not alone.

5. Who are you connected to? Let’s face it; people love celebrities because they’d like to be one or enjoy living vicariously through them. If you have celebrity connections, use them.  Make sure you have their permission before you tell the world who you know or who’ve you worked with.

6. Share powerful success stories. Have you’ve helped thousands of people lose weight through hypnosis? Perhaps, spending one hour with you, twice a week melts the pounds away. That’s extraordinary! Think about your most powerful success stories and share them.

7. Create a unique hook for your book title. You probably already know this but it begs repeating. A unique ‘hook’ is a great way to reel in the media and readers. Write (no pun, okay there was one) a memorable book title and turn your book into a #1 Best Seller. The media will trip over themselves to speak with you.

8. How can you be Number 1? Sometimes, a market or niche is too crowded. They way to get around this is to create a category where you’re number one. For example, perhaps you’re a marketing consultant who works with optometrists and podiatrists. You could say, “I’m the leading marketing consultant in the world serving optometrists and podiatrists. Walk over to the computer, visit http://www.Eyes and Feet Serve and see for yourself,” or something like that.

9. Network. Form partnerships with established authors and experts whose target market is the same or at least compliments yours. Ask them, “How may I help you? What can I do for you?” Not only will you reach a larger audience, but you’ll develop valuable relationships that can serve you and others now and later.

10. Be confident. The media wants to work with confident people. Stand up straight, reach out your hand and say, “Hi, my name is (fill in the blank), and I’m an author/expert that you’re audience needs to hear from.” Give the media your best 30-second elevator speech and they’ll want to work with you.

Stand out from other authors and experts by using these ideas and gain local and national publicity. Don’t overwhelm yourself by applying all of these strategies at once. Select the ones that work best for you and your book/message. You’ll be a media darling in no time!


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