Monday, September 15, 2014

Writing Careers Are Possible

From Kate's Writing Crate…
        My writing career started when I was an unhappy accountant and I signed up for my first writing class after writing in notebooks and journals for years. I arrived an hour before the evening class started every week as it was close to my office, but far from home. The second person to arrive was always the new owner of a local community magazine—a fortuitous benefit for following my dreams.
When the class session ended, the magazine owner hired another classmate to be the editor of her new second magazine. I signed on as a freelance writer and the proofreading intern. I moved up to assistant editor then editor of one magazine leaving accounting behind forever! Eventually, I became the editor of both magazines.
I still write one to four articles a month which means the fun of interviewing authors, volunteers at the local senior center and animal shelter; the women's club behind the Clown Town fundraiser; the Rotary Club's annual ALS Race; the Turkey Trot organizers; the National Guard Air Show; Movies on the Beach events; locals bands and choruses; art festivals; an American Red Cross Hero, and people dealing heroically with all kinds of cancer and other health issues including a brave and cheerful five-year-old boy 18 months into chemo and radiation for a brain tumor. He wants to be a police officer when he grows up and mentioned he would like to meet a K-9 team. The local police station and an officer arranged to take him to school in a squad car as well as meet a K-9 officer and his dog.
These articles let residents know about upcoming events as well as about neighbors helping others and those neighbors in need of help. It feels good to be part of a vibrant, caring community. Writing articles makes a difference in people's lives and my own.
I am a writer. I have known that since I learned to read. I was side-tracked into another career as writing isn't revered in this country until you are a bestselling or well-known author.
While being a New York Times' bestselling author (NYTBSA) may be most writers' goal, there are many other writing careers available to us. Even as I was told there was no money in writing, there are millions of publications and web sites that have pages and space that need filling daily, weekly, and monthly.
        Okay, you probably need to write a lot before you get paid so start filling a notebook a month as soon as you can as per Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. The more you write the more you improve. Also, read Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott for inspiration and a reality check.
Writers write so write no matter what!
        Start a writing project—book, essay, article, poem, post, etc. Then finish it!
Blogs are a great way to get going. Start one. Now you have a weekly deadline. Meet it!
For inspiration, read blogs like and Kristen Lamb's
Take a writing class and/or join or start a writing group. Support and discussions about improving writing are essential.
Read local publications. See if there is space for writers to submit letters, essays, etc. Then submit something or email/call to ask about writing opportunities. Working with editors who give you feedback will improve your writing and get you published.
When you feel ready, go on web sites like Thumbtack to find freelance opportunities across the country. Make sure you complete assignments and turn them in on time. Build a reputation as a writer who works quickly and competently, and editors will contact you with assignments as well as remember you when they move from one publication to another gaining you a larger audience and more money.
Usually the rights to your assigned articles revert to you after publication. Don't forget, you can tweak articles to work for other publications. For example, if you write about a person or event in the northeast for a local publication, Yankee Magazine might be interested in the same topic. Double pay is a good thing!
The Writers' Digest is a helpful resource to find publications interested in your submissions. Why not make the most of your hard work? This also gets you more bylines which then makes it easier to be accepted by other publications.
Agents, editors, and publishers read magazines and blogs. Writers have received representation and book and movie offers based on their work published in these venues.
You never know who is reading your work or where it may lead. The important thing is to write and to keep writing. Then send your work out into the world. If your goal is to be a writer, NYTBSA or otherwise, start writing now!

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