Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quatrano Defines a "Professional Writer!"

Nancy Quatrano has a very warm and engagin presence. On Thursday's meeting, she immediately engaged the group by asking us to define the term "Professional Writer." The members in attendance all agreed that to us it meant being able to make a living from our writing. Nancy challenged us to broaden our definitions to "Anyone seriously interested in writing for publication is a professional writer!" With her definition as the backdrop to the meeting she explained "Etiquette for the Professional Writer."

Nancy provided handouts to assist us in following along as she expounded on the key components of etiquette.

Number one component is to be prepared. Be prepared to meet people and put forth your image as a professional writer. Know what you are going to say, be ready to answer questions and engage in conversations. Know your abilities. What do you want to do? What can you do? You need to be ready by reviewing these ideas and coming up wit the answers. Also important is to never pretend you know more than you really do. Don't have your own agenda. Be open to listening and learning something new. Which leads us to component number 2 Learn, Listen, Rewrite.

Listening is a great way to gather information. People talk about what they are passionate about. You learn about people by what they talk about. Also, listen to strangers talking. This is a great tool to help learn to write dialogue. It helps you pick up on dialect and regional nuances. You will be amazed how much you can learn simpy by listening. Keep notes in a 3 X 5 card file or a "dialog" folder in your desk so you can refer to them when you are writing an article or chapter and need that local "flavor."

Component number three Write to Submit. You will never get paid to be a writer if you never submit your work. "Be encouraged to do little things." Write articles and short stories, they are fast and easy ways to get published. You need to commit time to your writing and give yourself deadlines to get things done. "A Professional Writer submits their work." Submit to magazines, contest anything that will get you read and may be seen by editors. Join writing groups, go to conferences, submit to reputable contests. These will help you hone your own writing skills and shape your image as a professional writer. "Writers blossom with other writers." Becoming known will help you get noticed by Agents and Editors.

This is the Fourt component. To finally make it to the world of agents and publishing. Nancy reminds us, "God gives us our passions, our job is to use them." If we just use our passions, the results will be there.

God blessed Nancy with a voice and a gift to write songs. She was singing with the adult Wesminister Choir at Princeton NJ when she was nine years old, and professionally by the age of 13. By seventeen, she was making a comfortable living at singing. She planned to use her earning to go to nursing school, but soon decided there was too much life to be lived. After one year, she left nursing school. Her singing and songwriting passion turned out to be the stepping stone to her writing career. She sold her first commercial work in 1999 to Pisces Press in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which also resulted in two ghostwriting assignments and has published non-fiction, romance and mystery short stories every year since.

Nancy's final words; "Everyone is a work in progress, just like our writing. Don't give up our dreams. Writers who don't write are unhappy."

Nancy's website for more information on her books and services at or email her at Look for her short memoir "By the Grace of God" in the February 2010 issue of the Pasco County FWA Chapter newsletter.
Tracy Redman
FCCW Treasurer and Incoming President for 2010

No comments: