Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where should I begin?

Hi. I was wondering what training you had in writing or if you just learned by doing/experience, reading books/trial and error? --Stacy

Dear Stacy,

That's a good question. I've been an avid reader and have enjoyed writing since I was very young. I majored in English Language & Literature in college and went to work for a publishing company when I graduated. I'm sure I took some creative writing classes in school, although now I wish I'd taken more!

So, to answer your question, I had some training in writing. The desire is instinctual, but I think reading and many years of editorial work helped shape my skills the most. I'm a really big fan of re-writing, re-writing, re-writing. I read my own work over and over and edit continually.

As far as where to begin...start on the page. Write every day. Read good literature and well-written journalism (New York Times, World Street Journal). Subscribe to a writer's magazine or two. And re-write, re-write, re-write.

Thanks for contacting me. It's so nice to hear from visitors to my site!

Writing Goals

I'm intrigued that you are an author as it is one of my goals. Are you local in the Broward County area and was it hard for you to get started as a writer/author? I hope you don't mind my asking... I only have a couple of clips under my belt and I'd love to hear how other writers have taken their love and turned it into a business that pays.--Joy

Dear Joy,

The way I broke into this industry after leaving an editorial position with a book publisher in New York was as a magazine editor. A staff position gave me the opportunity to build a portfolio of clips and learn the biz from both sides (editor and writer). Once I went freelance, I quickly turned to copy writing and public relations because the rates are higher and you get paid faster (if you're working directly with clients). Although I enjoy marketing and p.r., my first love is fiction, then editorial. But a girl has to eat...

If you can or desire to do it, I recommend taking a staff position. You will earn instant credentials to include with your clips when you send queries to editors, for one thing. You'll also gain invaluable experience and insight into how this business operates. Once I went freelance, I often wrote to magazines asking for editorial work and was assigned articles on the basis of my experience. It's sort of a back door not frequently used.