Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Get Started in Writing

Writers. There are a lot of very talented individuals out there. Some of us are published, while others are still trying to break into the business. Not so long ago, I was still in the latter group. Sure, I had a couple of small things published in a collection or magazine, but I'd never pursued it the way that I should have. Instead, I wasted valuable time working at an uninspiring 8 to 5 job when I should have been exercising my creative side and focusing on writing instead. This article is for those people that feel that they're in a similar situation.

There are several ways to break into the writing. Trying to submit articles to print magazines is one way, although it can be very time consuming and may not pay very well. You might also choose to try and find an agent that can promote your manuscript to an editor in the hopes that it will find its way into print, but be ready for a lot of rejection letters. And then there's self-publishing, which may or may not put you on the road to fame.

Online writing is another way to get started, and is the route that I took. I started with and I am thankful everyday for this wonderful online publishing company. After writing for Suite101 for a year, I recently took on the position as Feature Writer for Hobbies and I've found it to be very rewarding. One of the things that I love about Suite101 (besides being paid to write) is the incredible feedback and tools that are provided for new writers. Editors regularly review articles and give advice and critiques to the writers to help them improve their craft. In addition to this, they provide educational resources for writers to access, and in the Suite101 forum, writers can connect with other writers and ask questions or provide insights to help others along. I really prefer online sites that offer feedback to their writers. Especially from an SEO standpoint, the better your writers are, the better your site is, both in content and ad revenue.

What about the pay, you ask? While it usually starts out a bit small, the more time and effort that you put into your craft, the more money you stand to make. It took me a couple of months before I really started to see how it works. Now I focus on good content and SEO techniques that increase my earning potential and I get a paycheck from Suite101 every month. I'm working toward the day where I can leave my day job behind and focus entirely on writing.

In addition to, I write at HubPages, Bukisa, Squidoo, and Xomba. I also maintain an account with for when I want to pick up freelance jobs. Writing translates into experience and also allows you to hone your skill. When you're writing, focus on the quality and not quantity of your work. I have learned that the more that I am able to write, the better and faster the ideas come. It is very rare for me to have writer's block anymore.

Another thing to look out for is writing scams. These generally fall under the category of contests, but they can also take the form of fake websites that lure a new writer in by asking for 3 or 4 sample pieces "to see if it meets the criteria of what they are looking for." They then proceed to steal the content and market it as their own. It's a good idea to build a portfolio of your copyrighted material somewhere online that you can point them to for an example. If they can't decide whether or not your skills are what they are looking for by looking at your portfolio, then it's better to pass them by protect your own interests.

Another good tip for new writers is to attend a writers conference. It's a great place to learn valuable tips from the pros. You can attend workshops, ask questions, network with other writers, and speak with agents and publishers in order to find out exactly what they're looking for. I recently attended a conference and was able to get past a hurdle I encountered on the novel I've been working on. Hopefully now I'll be able to wrap it up and get it out there where it needs to be.

I hope you've found this article helpful. I've included links to particularly helpful articles and a couple of links to my sign up pages. Feed your writing bug and nourish it and perhaps one day it will do you proud with a best seller. Dare to dream.

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