Friday Speak Out!: Expanding Your Skills Beyond Writing

Friday, June 08, 2018
by Elizabeth Yetter

Is writing your only skill? Have you tried photography or podcasting? In today’s online environment, you can be a writer, make a decent amount of money, and yet you still won’t be earning to your fullest potential.

Since 1997, I have been writing for the internet and a few paper magazines. In those early years, the earnings were great. I ran my own website and eventually got a contracted writing position with But things change, and so do the internet masses.

Today it is all about creating videos, but how many of us writers have the skills to make decent videos that will actually be viewed? I will be honest with you. I write, not only because I am addicted to research and the written word, but because I am terrified of facing the public. I would rather hide behind my computer screen than show my face to the world.

That all changed recently when a popular television station asked me to audition for a hosting position. I was suddenly forced to face my biggest fear: speaking directly to the public.

I did the audition. It was an incredible experience, but it also made me realize that I needed to move beyond my writing skills. I was already upping my photography skills, but I needed to do more. I needed to go where my potential audience was spending hours of their time each day learning about my niche. I needed to get into video making.

After this revelation, I searched the internet for film classes until I found the courses I need. Lighting, directing, storytelling, and stop motion animation are what will help me move past the basic slideshow videos found online.

It is an expensive undertaking and, being in my forties, I feel a bit awkward being the oldest person in my classes, but being able to learn the latest video trends and actually make the videos I picture so perfectly in my mind makes all of the uneasiness go away.

It is a wonderful feeling to be “just a writer,” but the truth is that writers need to have other skills to grow.

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Elizabeth Yetter is a full-time freelance writer, blogger, and student of cinematography. Much of her time is spent in research, digging up unusual stories from the past
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Elizabeth--You are so right. The world is changing, so we need to change as writers.

This summer I'm working with teachers, and the expectation is one of their writing pieces should be a movie/slideshow. Some of them are stressed out as they stretch as writers and figure out how they're going to present their writing via video clips, photos and music. But today, we're such visual people. We need to make a shift as writers to make our writing appealing in a visual way.

Good luck with your future writing.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Media is changing for sure! As Sioux was saying, we're visual people and social media is visually driven. I actually started as a graphic designer and had a video production company, then got into writing (and loved it more because the process is more immediate, less time consuming). A few years ago, I added web coding to my list of skills out of necessity. It's never too late to stretch ourselves. There are so many ways we can tell a story. Great post, Elizabeth!

Renee Roberson said...


As a writer/editor in her early 40s I could so relate to your post. These are all skills I've had to stretch into in the past few years. This past fall I used my writing/PR skills to get a job in marketing at a nonprofit theatre company, and as you can imagine I've had to learn Photoshop pretty quickly. I also need to take some sort of video producing/editing course because that would enhance our publicity capabilities a lot. Thanks for the nudge!

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