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What Would Carrie Bradshaw Do? Writing Lessons from the Early 2000s

by | Mar 27, 2013 | Writing | 0 comments

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Let me tell you, I’m one girl that truly misses Sex and the City.  This is even in light of the fact that I really do not want to see Kim Cattrall sans clothes one more time in my life.  Sex and the City has been off TV for nine years (the movies don’t count, ESPECIALLY the second one), but even with that in mind, I do admit to being one of the women who entered her 20s largely in awe of and enamored with Carrie & Co.  However, as a writer, I have to say, Carrie Bradshaw was the fictional character people like me put on a pedestal, and not because of her shoes.  Let’s face it, Carrie was awesome.  She had a fantastic life, wonderfully loyal female friends, a closet to die for (and this is the first clue her life is purely fiction…that closet space…doesn’t happen in MANHATTAN of all places) and truly the ideal job: a columnist and best-selling author.

Now, true, Carrie largely specialized in writing about dating and sex, and no doubt the storyline of the show provided her with plenty of fodder.  However, Carrie also taught me some very important lessons about writing; lessons that I carry over today into my career as a professional writer and owner of Grammar Chic, Inc.

Writing(ish) Lessons I Learned from Carrie Bradshaw

  1. Write about what you know.  There was a time when I wrote about things or places outside of my spectrum of experience and it didn’t work.  Now, I’m not saying that it’s wrong to write about something fictional; imagination is always good, but it’s important for you to be able to convey your expertise on a topic and it’s not always possible to do that if you have never been exposed to something before.  Take Carrie, for instance.  She based her column on her experiences with dating, her friend’s relationship issues and whatever other hijinks her Manolos teetered into.  Moreover, what made her fictional character so great was that she expressed her vulnerability, her frustrations, as well as her success, and this is what endeared her to her non-fiction, reality-based fans.  Writing that is fresh, open and based in experience is always welcomed and you can apply this rule no matter what your platform: a sex column, the blog about your kids or how to operate in a corporate setting.  Make it relatable and people will want to read it!
  2. Identify what you love and immerse yourself in it. Writing is definitely a passion and expressing myself via words is something that I feel truly lucky to be able to do.  But it is necessary to also consider Carrie here.  Sure, she wrote about men and sex and dating, but that wasn’t all she did nor all she loved.  She loved shoes and fashion and good restaurants and her wonderful friends, and she reserved time for all of these loves.  It’s one thing to be dedicated to your craft, I can tell you from my own experience that the high I get out of running and growing my professional writing business is second to none, but I also know that my ability as a writer isn’t the only thing that defines me.  I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wine lover, a food lover, a dog lover, a shoe lover.  The list goes on and all of those things make my life rich in experiences.  Make sure that you don’t get so caught up in writing that you ultimately only exist on paper.  It is a great writer who is able to balance it all and they are better off in their profession because of it.
  3. Consistency is forefront in your success.  So, before you can hit it big in any field, you have to know that it’s necessary to put in the work.  Carrie wasn’t a best-selling author overnight.  In fact, deadlines were a regular topic on the show.  Carrie knew that she had a weekly column to deliver and, while I am insanely jealous of the fact that she never seemed to have writer’s block (again another indicator of clear fiction!), I have to appreciate the fact that she showed her work ethic by honoring her deadlines, no matter what cosmopolitan or date with Mr. Big was tempting her.   In order to be successful in a writing career, no matter if you are trying to grow your blog, expand your client base or simply get started freelancing, you must be able to show you are dedicated and consistent within your craft.  My company, Grammar Chic, didn’t grow overnight, nor did I hire my first employee until my consistency on my own paid off.  Expanding my company and growing my revenues have been my reward for staying on task and delivering the writing that I commit to.  And now, it’s a rule so engrained with me that I couldn’t skip a deadline even if I tried.  My consistency is a habit.
  4. Attitude matters.  A great work ethic and a positive attitude count for a lot in the world of writing.  Clients want to deal with someone who believes in herself, other writers want to partner with someone who is inspired and, ultimately, in order to stay writing, you need to be optimistic and willing to put in some very long hours to succeed.  Remember, we were only introduced to Carrie when she was in her 30s.  We have no idea if she was rocking the Manolos when she was 22 and we have no clue when she got her column. The message here is that success does not happen overnight.  In order to be successful in any endeavor you have to put in the hours and do the grunt work.  This is especially true when it comes to writing.  You don’t land large copywriting projects just because you think you should and your blog doesn’t get thousands of followers without you putting in the time to grow it.  If you want to be successful and reap the rewards of your writing venture in the future, manage yourself and develop good habits now (oh, and in Carrie’s case, make sure you learn a thing or two about finances; successful writers are financially-savvy businesspeople).
  5. Have a backup plan.  Now, this is a broad statement that can be applied to many facets of your writing career.  Think of when Carrie’s Mac crashed; she lost the article she was writing and then completely flipped out (because there was nothing she could do) on Aidan.  Instead of going nuts when things don’t go your way, make sure you are backed up.  This could come in the form of not quitting your full-time job before you are sure of your income as a writer, or even making sure that you have a good external hard drive with all of your past work in case of emergency.  Or, maybe it comes in the form of hiring an editor or a non-biased third party who will tell you the truth about just how good your writing is.  Doing your due diligence, albeit in a variety of forms, will help you in your quest for writing success.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.