Writer’s Advice – Don’t Quit Your Dayjob etc. 2014/2019 edition

The following are simplified forms of writer’s tips I have received over the years:

For amateurs:  write every day, if in school or university take English classes.  Join a writer’s group.  Learn to accept constructive criticism.  Read the greats.

For professionals: Don’t quit your day job.  Don’t expect to earn a living doing it.

Get a communications or journalism degree and then you might be allowed to earn a living as an in house staff writer.

It is actually both what you can do and who you know or can get to listen to your pitch.

Lack of Help

There are ways to earn a living at it but people act as if letting you know what they are is more secret than people’s raunchiest sexual secrets or secret service classified information of their nation state, so good luck finding out.

Get a Mentor

It is possible to get mentors within professional realms and within higher educational organizations.

Simple Methods

Move to New York City and meet editors and land a literary agent.

Move to Hollywood and get a job as an editorial assistant.

Figure out how to get invited to parties given by publishers, editors, literary agents and anyone else in the industry.  Learn to schmooze for professional purposes instead of being designated as being solely for the entertainment of those in attendance.

Pitch using the Internet.

Attend conventions, professional writing groups, anything and everything you can try to get anywhere.

Nurture relationships with any editor who accepts your work.

Realize that many editors will not respond to even your best work for a variety of reasons.

Pay to get additional training.

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“Writer’s Advice” Final Entry 2013

The type and amount of writer’s advice I feel qualified to give is greater than nonexistent but limited.  I believe I wrote about some types of professional writers for one or two posts.  Even so, there are still more. 

There are corporate writers, and there are freelancers and there people we may think of as book writers or novelists or as academics who get something published. 

So called freelancing is not always the way it seems.  There are times when it is a lead in to getting a real job as a staff writer for a magazine or a newspaper.  Most of us remember the amazing freelance journalist who was offered a job by NBC after some of his investigative journalism in the Middle East made prime time news shows a few years ago.  People were impressed by his work and sort of flustered and dumbfounded that he was a freelancer. 

Many have heard of Peter Parker in the Spider Man story when a middle aged newspaper man tells a young man to freelance because he is too immature and inexperienced to be granted an actual job at the newspaper.  Then, only thanks to being a super hero in disguise, is the young man able to regularly freelance for the newspaper.  That’s how difficult it can be to get anywhere freelancing.  Good luck with it: that was even though the editor was willing to give him the time of day.

There are people who write well and somehow meet the right editorial staff somewhere.  This can happen simply by submitting a good piece of work and then not messing up the relationship with the editorial staff.  Events of that nature sometimes lead to long term and repeat business.

When that happens often enough at good enough rates of pay, a freelancer can actually be a person who runs his or her (their) own little writing business. 

What % of writers does that happen to?  I honestly don’t know.