Among the myriad surprises found in artsy Amarillo is one of the country’s longest continually-active writers organizations. In fact, in 2020 Texas High Plains Writers will celebrate its centenary.
The writers group embraces all genres, covering the range of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, prose, traditional and self-publishing, and writers from potential to professional.
Bi-monthly meetings, held in the Ed Davis conference room at the First Bank Southwest tower, convene on the the third Saturday morning and feature a variety of speakers, usually those who have been there, done that.
The meeting on March 16 was no exception with a program presented by Dee Burks entitled “The Secrets to 6-Figure Freelancing.” A former Amarillo resident, Dee has been involved in publishing for more than twenty-five years. She has owned a publishing company and now lives in New Mexico where she freelances prodigiously and works on her own books.
According to Burks, freelancing involves writing on demand, to deadline, an on contract to meet the specific needs of a client, whether individual or corporate.
The world of publishing has changed dramatically, and it’s easier than ever in freelancing to make a lot of money and to get paid immediately, because clients desperately need the skills of a freelance writer.
She quipped that being an author, and writing from the heart is great, but it’s better to get paid, and as the balance of her presentation emphasized, paid well.
She expounded on the importance of professionalism, and knowing one’s value and time. Also, and of paramount importance, the freelancer has to market themselves and then deliver. Inherent in self-marketing is an expansion of skill sets, for which Burks advocates afternoons with U-tube rather than an expensive course.
She asserted that the best source for ideas is local, but the writer can always branch out using any number of websites
A primary cause of failure is lack of professionalism, which includes inadequate business and people skills, lack of life balance and an inability to write to deadline.
Dee Burks has inspired hundreds of writers, not only because of her advice and insight, but also her integrity: she walks the walk.
All attendees were reaffirmed in their craft, but came away with an awareness that their writer’s world just became much bigger.
It’s significant that writers come from all over the tri-state area to affiliate with Texas High Plains Writers, including a number of Lubbock which has no group.
The contribution that THPW’s make is just one more reason we say: “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!!”