The Importance of Being Current

Saturday, January 27, 2018
There is something about time that I will never understand. I mean, one day you’ve finally conquered that whole writing 2018 on your checks, and the next day, you’re rinsing sand out of the car from your summer vacation.

Time passes so quickly and we have such complicated lives, despite having the technology that’s supposed to make our lives easier. It’s challenging to keep up and so very often, time catches us napping.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, last week, I happened to read my bio on a professional writing site (The SCBWI site, if you must know) and I was surprised and yep, a little red-faced. I hadn’t updated my bio in the last couple of years.

Now, SCBWI is an important part of my professional life. I write for children; I attempt to get work related to my children’s writing. And yet, I had neglected to take care of my business. And so this is one of my old “What Not To Do” lessons. Take heed, grasshopper, and do as I say, not as I do.

Many of us belong to professional writing organizations, and this affords us an excellent marketing opportunity. If you have on online bio on a professional site, think a moment. When was the last time you updated? If you can’t remember, then it’s time to review and make that online bio shine. Because even though you don’t remember to check your online presence, that bio is out there and someone—perhaps lots of someones—check out that bio every day. That’s one of your virtual business cards, but you could be losing business because of your neglect. Who wants to hire someone who hasn’t done anything in seven years?

Of course, you’ve probably done plenty in the last seven years. You’ve probably been so busy, you haven’t had time to update. But that person reading your bio doesn’t know that. So update, grasshopper. Give those people who are going to spend their money on you—the editors and publishers and readers—a stellar and current look at you!

And everything I just said about your bio, I can also say about your website and/or blog. Plus, I can promise you that people do visit blogs and websites; I constantly visit author websites. Sometimes, I want to know what else an author is writing; other times, I’m curious about a kidlit author’s marketing. Either way, I pay close attention to the details. Like whether a blog has had a post in the last year or so. I check the calendar to see where an author may be appearing. I always read the “News and Events” section. Being current indicates a level of professionalism that I appreciate. Others will, too.

And before you say that you’re a freelancer, not an author, the same still holds true. It’s even more important as a freelancer to keep your credits up-to-date. Your business face needs to be professional, error-free, and yes, current.

So update your online self in whatever digital spots you hang out, and get going now, grasshopper! Because I can’t explain why, but I know this for a fact. The next time you take a look around, you’re going to be sitting on Aunt Mamie’s couch with turkey and gravy stains on your shirt.

Cathy C. Hall is a kidlit author and humor writer who spends a great deal of time catching up! But that's only because she's busy writing and reading and all that other important stuff she's supposed to be doing as the consummate professional that she is. And yes, binge-watching on Netflix is important writing research. See how current she is at her blog! (Hint: Very current, thank you very much.)


Angela Mackintosh said...

Excellent advice, Cath! We should challenge ourselves to update our bios once a month. That would mean we'd have to garner a new clip a month...or at least have some new Netflix shows we're binge-watching and want to share. ;)

Nicole Pyles said...

Ha, I'm the same way! I have a writing portfolio that I looked at once and I realized all my writing samples were from days gone by. I thought, "Wait, I've gotten better since then! I need to update this!" Hehe

Margo Dill said...

Totally agree. I was just thinking I wonder if my bio on here is even current...LOL Thanks for the reminder.

Pat Wahler said...

So true, but so hard to keep up with everything. Between marketing and administrative duties, who has time to write?

Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh, great, Margo. Now I have one more bio to update. :-)

Good luck to us all! (And maybe someday, MAYBE, we'll actually write something...:-))

Mary Horner said...

Good advice, and I love to check out other writer's websites to see what they are doing.

Renee Roberson said...

I was just thinking about this last night as I was adding a recent award to my website. I have a ton of reprint articles I could be marketing there and they are conspicuously absent! How are editors supposed to know they are available and for sale if I don't make a peep out of them? I am also guilty of not updating my LinkedIn profile. I don't even have a job description of the new position I took back in October up there yet . . .

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