So I'm preparing to go to an SCBWI Conference this weekend, and I ordered some business cards to take with me. They arrived today and I'm really happy with them. Back when I started writing professionally, in 1994, I felt there was something really cheesy about a writer having a business card. A freelance writer, I mean. I think I even read somewhere it could look unprofessional. To me, a business card that said "writer" seemed sort of like announcing to the world that I was trying to write the Great American Novel. And that seemed like a laughably outlandish dream.
At the time, I wasn't even writing fiction. I was focused on journalism.
Now, of course, I don't feel like business cards for writers are cheesy at all. They're necessary for making connections and networking and passing out at events like writers' conferences. They're certainly professional. It probably helps that there are so many great design options out there these days.
There's another reason business cards are good for writers, though. If you're trying to write the Great American Novel, they announce your intention to the world. It takes a certain kind of courage to admit you're aiming for a lofty goal. Sure, people might think you're crazy. But really, who cares what anyone else thinks? It's your goal. Announcing it just reminds you that you mean business.