Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Playing Ball

I know that writing can sometimes feel like a waste of time, particularly when you get rejection after rejection. You begin to wonder why the jiggery you started writing in the first place and what possessed you to try and get published. It's true that it's not the easiest of professions to break into but that's what it is: a profession, a job just like any other. And if you approach it in that manner it will go a long way to getting you to where you want.  

When I started writing in 2007, I saw it as a hobby, a past time, something to keep me amused, a stress reliever from my then stressful  job. A release. I never thought that I'd be able to write for money. But then, when I joined Wrekin Writers and met other writers who did write for money I had a huge attitude change. Instead of just writing willy nilly into the wind I became organised and structured and targeted magazines with my writing to varying success. The more I wrote and submitted, the more I sold. It was as simple as that.

I used to get annoyed at myself when I hadn't sold any articles for a while until I remembered I hadn't actually took the time to think of any article ideas or pitch them! You can only submit something when you've thought about it and at least formulated a plan of what your article is about and who it's intended for. When you're busy it can be difficult to get the energy and inclination to write an article.

Go to fullsize imageI'm a busy person (aren't we all?) and I have to constantly remind myself that, amongst other things, I am a writer and writers write! All too often my writing slides because I forget to write and I let other areas of my life take over. But if you want to be a published writer you have to make it a priority. It's a business. You have to have determination, a cast iron constitution, persistence, a nose for good article material. And you have to be prepared to spend quality time on your writing. If you're too busy to write and would rather slump in front of the TV every evening rather than get your pen or computer out then maybe you don't have the right attitude to be a published writer. Everyone slumps in front of the TV sometimes (I know I do, particularly when there's a few hours of CSI on!) But, eventually you have to make a decision as to whether you want to be a published writer or Go to fullsize image a TV fanatic! I know which one I prefer.

Even if you only have 10 minutes at your disposal to write then write, Just do it. It soon mounts up. And once I start writing I usually find that I don't want to stop, and before I know it I've written an article synopsis or half an article  -  sometimes even the first rough draft of an entire article. Now that and seeing one of my finished articles published in a magazine makes me feel so much more happier than watching TV ever will.

Keep your eye on the ball and give the editor what they want. Don't just write an article because it's on a subject that interests you. Read the magazines and see what interests the editors and the magazine's readers. It's important to write in the style of the magazine your article is destined for, but before you even start I would contact the magazine to see if they even take freelance contributions. You may be wasting your time if you send an article off on spec and they won't consider anything from outside. 'In-house' seems to be the favourite buzz word banded out by editors these days who are feeling the financial squeeze along with the rest of us. So don't waste your or the editor's time. By all means send them your writing CV. I've done this in the hope that one day an editor might contact me  -  you never know!  But don't give the editor something they don't want. True, sometimes, editors don't know what they want until they see it, but usually they have a clear idea and if you're not on the same wavelength it will be a thank you but no.  But there's no harm in asking.

Happy writing

Julie xx

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