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So You Want to Be a Writer

I am a writer.

Make Your Dream Come True

Becoming a writer is a dream that many of us share. I’ve always loved writing and only recently realized that I became a writer by the simple act of writing. No one bestows this title on you. To acquire the title of “writer” all you need to do is write! And the good news is no one can take it away from you. This article will give you all the resources you’ll need to become a writer, outlining the various ways you can express yourself, with helpful resources for digging in. This guide is intended for writers at every stage: dreamer, newbie, explorer, and old-hat.

1) Journaling

Let’s start with the easiest form of writing, journaling. At it’s most basic, grab any notebook and start with these words “Dear Diary…” If you want to get fancy you can buy yourself a nice leather bound Moleskine notebook and maybe a nice pen which you use for the ritual of writing. The only thing that matters is that you follow your inspiration. What should you write about? Your dreams, your problems, other people’s problems, solutions, anything. It’s a great tool for understanding yourself so that you can grow and improve your life. And it’s really fun to go back in time and read what you wrote last year…or even 5,10 years ago!

2) Blogging

When you’re ready to share your writing with the world the easiest way to do this is with blogging. Blog is short for “Weblog.” It is a place where you can post material to the internet which is stamped with the date and with whatever labels or categories you’d like. You can have a blog that is a diary or it can be used to entertain people, teach, create controversy, or promote your beliefs be they political, spiritual, philosophical or otherwise. If you want to make money from your blog you can add advertising to your blog, such as with Adsense (see link in right sidebar.) Here are some resources for getting started with blogging:

  1. Blogger – this is the easiest one to start with. It’s free and very advertising friendly. Owned by Google. You can have a blog created in about 10 minutes or less. If you are planning to build a “professional” blog over time, you may want to give yourself more flexibility with WordPress unhosted.
  2. WordPress hosted – this one is free but is not easy to use with advertising.
  3. WordPress unhosted – this is the platform I use. It is more complex, but you have more flexibility with layout, design, and functionality. The platform itself is free, but you’ll need to pay for a hosted server such as AnHosting, which is what I use.
  4. Typepad – this is the 3rd most popular blogging platform after WordPress and Blogger. There is a 14 day trial period. After that prices start at $4.95 per month. Has a nice professional look and feel.
  5. Squarespace – If you don’t want to bother with coding but want a professional look and feel, squarespace has some very high-design templates. 30 Day free trial. Prices start at $7 per month.


3) Magazine Writing

Want to see your name and writing published? Magazine writing may be for you. There are two ways to approach this. 1) Write your articles first and then pitch them to magazine editors. 2) Write your pitch query letter to magazine editors and only write the article when you are contracted to do so. Each method has pros and cons. This is a great work from home business. However, to make a real living from it you must be organized, disciplined, and persistent. There is a lot that goes into this process so I will refer you to a couple good references:

WritersWeekly.com  This is a free weekly ezine. There are new updated markets listed each week that are looking for writers. They also have an ebook titled “QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments” which costs $19.95.
Writer’s Digest Handbook Of Magazine Article Writing is a 5-Star rated (Amazon) book that teaches you how to brainstorm ideas, write articles, craft query letters, and maintain good relationships with editors for repeat contracts.

4) Online Article Writing for Cash
If you don’t want to set up a blog or do magazine writing, but you still want to get paid, online article writing is an quick way to get paid for your writing. The pay is low, but the articles that are needed are generally short, so if you can write fast you can make some side income. Payment depends on the the demand for the content. Payment can run anywhere from $3-20 per article. Many bloggers do this to supplement their income and to build name recognition. It’s also good writing practice. Here are the two largest and most often recommended, although, there are others:

5) Writing a Book
Who hasn’t dreamed of writing a book? Well, you can do it! Check out my Ultimate Guide to Writing a Book in Less than 60 Days right here on this blog. This guide has many free writing resources as well as book recommendations and writing program recommendations.

If you want to join a community of writers check out NaNoWriMo in the fall when they sponsor a free online community project where everyone attempts to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November!

Want to publish a book that you’ve already written? The Well-Fed Publisher is the ultimate resource on publishing your non-fiction or fiction book!

6) Short Story Writing

This is a great warm up for writing a novel. It’s less of a commitment and it can always turn into a longer story later on. Contests are a great way to get you humming along on a story right away. Here are some contest resources that I can recommend:

WritersWeekly quarterly writing contest only $5 to enter. Cash and ebook prizes. (I actually won an honorable mention in one of their contests last year. That was fun!)
Writers Digest Writing Contests cash prizes. Many different categories. Legitimate sponsor you can trust.

If you are looking for some creative writing prompts here are 3 books I like a lot:

  • The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing
  • Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing


7) Flash Fiction: Ultra Short Micro Stories

This is a newly popular genre of writing where the whole story is generally between 250-1000 words. It is also known as sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and short short story. This is really fun to play around with and it is an excellent way for novel and short story writers to develop the discipline to eliminate extraneous words from your writing.
Magazines:

Contests:

  • Whim’s Place Flash Fiction Contest– quarterly contest. $5 entry fee. Cash prizes $50-$250. Guest Judge Deborah Ng is a blogger for Darren Rowse’s b5Media blog “Simply Thrifty.”

Stories to read online:

  • Fish Publishing – an online sampling of flash fiction that takes, well, only a flash to read!


8 ) Freelance Corporate Writing

If you are a good writer and know something about sales, then you can make a very good living writing business content for corporations, small businesses, and non-profits. This is a huge topic that I will write about more in the future. For now, let me refer you to the ultimate resource book this topic: The Well Fed Writer:Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman. If you want to start this lucrative home-based business, this is really the only book you will need! It is the book I used as a guide when I launched my freelance writing business. (Tip: You only need the updated “Back for Seconds” version of this book which has a summary of the first book in it.)

If you do go this route, Freelance Success is an excellent professional online group where you can ask questions from people in the business. It does cost $89 for a year subscription, but it is well worth it, especially if you are just starting out. You can “listen in” on the forum discussions by email subscribing to them. It’s a tax deductible business expense. I personally found it to be worthwhile. As a writer you can post your profile for free and companies that have work for freelance writers can see your profile there.

9) Technical Writing
This is the business of writing manuals and technical instruction information for companies, usually technology and manufacturing companies. It can help if you have an engineering degree or experience, but it’s not a requirement. Just like Corporate Writing, technical writing can be lucrative. Here are a couple of highly recommended books to check out:

  • Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation
  • The Well Fed Writer:Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman also covers technical writing.

10) Grant Writing
A grant is money that is given to non-profit organizations such as universities for a project such as studying or researching a particular topic. In order to be awarded the funds, a request for proposal is written by the applicant stating why the organization deserves to win or receive the grant. Grant writers write these proposals for the non-profit organizations. Sometimes these writers are employed in-house and other times they are contracted as freelance grant writers. Grant writers are in high demand, so this is a good work-at-home writing business if you are interested in this kind of writing. Here are a couple of highly rated books on grant writing:

  • The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets
  • Grant Writing For Dummies


Other Writing Resources:
Websites

  • Writers.com offers online classes, tips, newsletter, and other services.
  • Writing.com offers groups, forums, reviews, polls, blogs and much more.
  • WritersRow freelance writing jobs and more.


Books

  • Writer’s Market  – This is a big book that is very handy to writers who are doing magazine writing and/or writing a book. From the Amazon review: ” The 2008 Writer’s Market features all the great information writers have to come to expect for more than 80 years and then some. This edition takes Writer’s Market to a new level of excellence with high profile author interviews and five new market sections. Of course, it’s still packed with all the information writers rely on year after year including the keys to successful query letters, advice on how much to charge, articles from successful writers, as well as listings for book publishers, magazines, lierary agents and more! Features more than 3,500 completely updated listings. Includes five new sections (Newspapers, Syndicates, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Greeting Cards). Features exclusive articles and interviews with successful writers.”

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46 Responses to So You Want to Be a Writer

  1. Brett McKay June 28, 2007 at 2:07 am #

    Awesome resource list! This deserves a Digg!

  2. Tejvan Net Writing July 3, 2007 at 3:48 pm #

    Hi, good list. I may be exploring avenues other than blogging.

  3. agentsully July 5, 2007 at 8:06 pm #

    @Brett – Thanks you!

    @Tejvan – good luck to you.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Aditya September 9, 2007 at 2:38 am #

    Wow! I was searching for a list like this.
    Thanks a lot.
    (Just bookmarked this page. :))
    Really Useful!

  5. Karen Lynch-Live the Power March 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm #

    Thank you! I know that to be a writer you must write….but it is the taking it to the next level….Thank you for the resources and inspirations.

  6. Original Oil Painting March 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm #

    Fantastic resource! If you have time, check out my original paintings and prints!

  7. agentsully March 22, 2008 at 5:10 pm #

    Thanks!

  8. Original Oil Painting March 22, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    Give us more writing stuff!

  9. Chik March 27, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi there, nice information indeed. Thaks. I am a regular reader of this blog here which gives away regular writing tips:

    Good Writing

  10. Stephanie Daniels April 1, 2008 at 9:37 am #

    Very interesting and helpful information.

  11. Stephanie Daniels April 1, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    Thank you for the great information

  12. Angela Nicley November 16, 2008 at 2:29 am #

    I am so pleased to have found your website. I am a stay at home mom for 4yrs now. I have recently been looking into writing. I carry a book bag with me at all times full of note books and my journal. I am constantly writing, usually to myself. My husband has always complimented my writing skills and until recently I haven’t took him seriously. For about 2 weeks now I have been looking for information to send me in the write direction. and after checking out this website I feel more confident and see that there are many different options to look into. So, I want to say thank you.

  13. ssam November 25, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    thanks this really helped with my research :]

  14. LOOlOO November 25, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    omg this website is amazzingg

  15. Chanel November 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    I am only 10 years old and my english teacher says i write books like a really good author and can make great poems. I really want to be a author NOW! I really want a publisher to publish one of my books!

  16. Archie December 25, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    Good information for all writers! I made my living as a technical writer for 13 years adn the one stand-out thing I found was keep learning your craft every day! This has some excellent resources.

  17. Hella January 26, 2009 at 5:13 am #

    This is really very much what i have been looking for besides motivation.You know,today the first thing i tought about is that i want to be a writer,may be english is my second language but,for some reason ,i want to write ,express my feelings,just write,and i start looking for some tutorials online which could gide me,and guess what,i find ur site,its really very much full of information and its fee,all i need now is to motivate myself,tnx

  18. sarah May 17, 2009 at 6:14 am #

    I always say that heart do thing for reasons that reason can’t understand and something else is : there are two eternities that can crus you yeterday and tomorow the first is past the second idn’t come yet so why don’t you just live your day and what i want right now is to be a writer and i don’t want to lose any more time i also want to take my chance i wish that you can support me wish me luck

  19. bad13d July 26, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    i’m bad13d from Algeria i have a little experience in English language becuase the arabic languige is my first one , and the English is third after French but i wanna be a writter and i wanna be write by english langauge this is my dream.
    after read this , the hope to relise my dream is back so thanx a lot and be my master by your adveces

    • agentsully July 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

      @bad13d – Good luck! Let us know how it goes! If you have some writing that you do online, let us know about it!

  20. Robin July 31, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    You know,today the first thing i tought about is that i want to be a writer,may be english is my second language but,for some reason ,i want to write ,express my feelings,just write,and i start looking for some tutorials online which could gide me,and guess what,i find ur site,its really very much full of information

  21. praveen March 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    It was really helpful and Informative,Thank You.

  22. Lizzy March 30, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Lachina May 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    I really appreciate your site and hope this site will help me in future
    thanks a lot:)

    • AgentSully August 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

      So glad to hear my site was helpful for you, Lachina!

  24. Good Business Ideas August 2, 2010 at 3:10 am #

    I been learning a tip for writing which is called “free writing” what you do is set a timer for ten minute and just write for the whole time without stop and then edit a day later.

    Seems to work great.

    Rob

    • agentsully August 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

      That’s a great exercise to do, Rob. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Alice November 30, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Thank you so much for your article! It impressed me greatly. I would like to ask a question. Is it possible to publish a book in America, being a Russian girl? I live here in Russia, have a dream of the whole life to become a writer and to write my books in English in America)) So tell me please if I have a tiny chance for my dream to come true?

    • AgentSully December 19, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

      Alice – short answer: anything is possible if you want it bad enough and are willing to do everything required to achieve it!

      If yes, then identify all the steps you need to take to get there and then schedule them and start working on them! I’m hoping for your success!

  26. Lachina December 20, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Hey Alice good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  27. guangzhou travel December 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    thanks for sharing! i am a worker,but i like writing. i read many books and want to write 3 books next year!

  28. Alice January 16, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I’ll do my best to achieve my aim and hope that you’ll hear about me in some time;) Thank you very much I really believe nothing’s impossible. And thank you, Lachina, your support is impressive))

  29. aditya sahasrabudhe January 26, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    the above describtion helped me a lot in making a right move for my career .
    i’ve some writing prowesses & i want to give them a good stroke.
    i’ve written a short story compiling 10000 words naming ‘THE BOOB’in the dawning of the previous year bt after that i was not able to write more.even commercing with some1 was not done @ length:but now i can write my diary and few short stories which would help me in mere future.

  30. Dani March 3, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    really helpful information, thank you very much ?!

  31. rainbowheartlove April 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I visited the ezine articles site. I saw an article claiming that someone can stop drinking in seven days. I studied addiction counseling and I doubt that one who is addicted can do that. What kind of checking do they do to make sure that the writing in quality? I want to make a side income by writing but I am not sure how to do it. I bookmarked this list though.

    • AgentSully August 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      Rainbow – not sure on their quality controls on that site. Wishing you much success on your quest to earn money through your writing!

  32. allison lengwati September 16, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    i too wanna be a true aouthor a person like me i beleive that we write something every day of our life and life it self it is life because of us. For now am looking for a publisher that will take interest and note of my journey I want to emback on now, so if the is a publisher who would publish my writing and give me a contract I will be honored. And surely I can pitch my work

  33. Writer1996 October 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Thanks! Love the website! ….. In Favorites 🙂 Thanxx ! I hope everything works out for everyone about being a writer . I recently discovered i want to a writer. I write poems and songs, but i’d like to work a office and just write whatever im told to or for a magazine ! I hope it works out 🙂

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  1. […] So You Want to Be a Writer … but you still want to get paid, online article writing is an quick way to get paid for your writing. The pay is low, but the articles that are needed are generally short, so if you can write fast you can make some side income. … […]

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  3. […] So You Want to Be a Writer – Writer business review […]

  4. […] So You Want to Be a Writer but you’re not sure where to start? There are many ways you can express yourself. What are you waiting for? interesting?   link spread 8:20 pm by AgentSully Business […]

  5. […] So You Want to Be a Writer – Make Your Dream Come True. Becoming a writer is a dream that many of us share. I’ve always loved writing and only recently realized that I became a writer by the simple act of writing. No one bestows this title on you. … […]

  6. […] K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Popular articles are So You Want to Be a Writer and 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Financial […]

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