Breaking In To the Writing Business.
“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair, the sense that you can never completely put on the page what is in your heart and mind. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.” I’ve taken this segment from Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ as it outlines and reminds us as writers why we write; to produce a piece, for any reason under the sun, and bring something to the table that is rich and full of flavour, a hit that everyone is craving, a piece you put your all into. Being confident in your ability to produce a quality piece of writing is one of the stepping stones to going anywhere as a writer.
Good writing isn’t easy and it is terribly hard to break in to the industry. It takes dedication and hard work to churn out something even half decent. Sometimes you can write for hours, filling up pages and when it comes time to edit, you pull your hair out at the number of places you’ve gone wrong. A total rewrite. There are always those days for writers, writers block, deadlines, no inspiration or maybe just jumbling too many ideas together. However, the key to success is passed on through forewords, quotations and speeches by the kings of the trade; research, rephrase and rewrite until satisfied and never give up. Fellow writer, published author and good friend, Anthony Langford let me in on a few tips when it comes to working as a writer. Firstly he pointed out that the amount of support and exposure that can be sourced from the internet makes being recognised that much easier. Having an author page on social networking sites or your own website is a leg up in the industry. Building relations and support from these groups can serve as a platform for future greatness. He believes that the most important aspect for budding writers is opening up to life experiences.
The best place for a budding writer to start is on the net. Becoming a part of online writing groups and submitting your work for critique is a brilliant way to build relationships with fellow writers and have your work recognised. There is a wide array of writing groups offered such as the Young Writers society.com, Writing.com and Young Writers Online. These communities provide resources for all writers at varying levels of competency, giving all kinds of information on the craft and offer members the chance to share and critique each other’s work. They also provide helpful tips on how to successfully publish and send in to publishers as well as ideas on how to store inspiring events and experiences that can be drawn upon for future writing ventures. The support that can be drawn from these groups is an excellent way to boost confidence in yourself and your writing ability.
Competitions are one of the most common ways for confident writers to strive for recognition. These competitions come in national, international, state and local levels with varying cash and help prizes. There are almost too many to choose from. To name a few there is the Josephine Ulrick Literary Award, the Queensland Premiers Literary Award and even the Griffith University based School of Humanities Writing Award. They offer chances for writers of varying age levels and writing capabilities the chance to submit works to be read and seen by others. It is always worth submitting, even if you don’t win; running up recognition and just having another look over a personal piece is another important experience that will shape you as a writer. It also tells you what to expect of from those critiquing your work and what they expect from you.
When it comes to looking for companies to publish your work, there are plenty of places beginning writers are welcome at. Websites such as Newbie Writers.com, About Freelance Writing.com and Inkpop.com all provide information on places to get published, how to format pieces before they are sent in to be published and offer some freelance work as well. Magazines including Wet Ink and the Clairmont Review all encourage publication from young writers. Publishers are after a piece that both appeals to their area of work and is uniquely appealing. This can be achieved by submitting to companies that specialise or request pieces from your expertise. One thing to watch out for is plagiarism. Plagiarising is the quickest way to the bottom and often leaves you with no way to get back up. It’s a serious offense so making all submissions entirely your own work, regardless of research and inspirations, is the best way to steer clear of this trouble.
From there it is up to demand, the expectations of the publisher, dedication and good old fashioned luck. It is important to remember that to be published means you will be bringing your work to the public, and therefore there is a need for you to appeal to public by writing what your readers want to read.
King, S., 2000. On writing; a memoir of the craft, Scribner Pub., USA