Writing Careers

by Deborah Owen, CEO
Creative Writing Institute

Writing careers are more difficult than you may think, and persistence is the key to success. Try these statistics on for size:

Out of 100 people, only 50 will finish their first writing project. Out of those 50, about 25 will quit when they receive their first rejection. Out of the remaining 25, only 12 will submit again. Four of those will not follow the guidelines & submit properly. That leaves approximately 8 out of 100 people who will make it. Why? Writing careers are a direct result of writing courses, matching your work to the right market, following the guidelines, and being persistent. Yes, you can do it, too, but there are a thousand tricks to the trade. Here are a few:

• Choose your market FIRST and then write the story/article to match the market. Line up three markets at a time so that when [not if] you get your rejection slip, you’ll be ready to pop it into the mail to the next market.
• Finish one project before you begin another.
• Edit properly. Read it aloud on the last edit and put in action-packed verbs.
• Read the market’s guidelines and follow them to the letter.
• Call the market and learn the editor’s name. Be sure to get the spelling correct. Editors move around a lot. You may see their name as you research, but that’s old news. Call to be sure the editor is still there… and identify their gender. Kendall Elliott may turn out to be a woman. If your cover letter says, “Dear Mr. Elliott… ” well, I hope you’re fond of the trashcan.
• Submit, submit, submit. Simultaneous submissions are a good way to gain more exposure, but be sure all the chosen editors will accept them. Some don’t. As soon as you drop one submission in the mail, start another project. Your writing career will depend on it.
• Keep your rejection slips. Frame them in gold! It means you went further than 92% of the other writers.
• Grow a hard shell. Take criticism well and learn by it. It will be your best teacher.
• Join a writing forum and rub shoulders with people like yourself, but don’t publish a story/article there and then try to sell it. It will be considered already published.
• Start with ezine markets and work your way up the ladder.
• If your story doesn’t sell after three submissions, something is wrong. Possible problems: (a) you aren’t matching your work to the right market, (b) it isn’t written well, (c) you aren’t using Show, Don’t Tell. Send a 2,000-word story to deborahowen@cwinst.com and ask for a free 20-point evaluation. See our guidelines at http://www.CreativeWritingInstitute.com.

Writing careers aren’t for everyone. They are for those who never quit learning and never quit trying. Hey! Before you leave, make a quick comment and like us! Gee… thanks. http://www.CreativeWritingInstitute.com

2 thoughts on “Writing Careers

  1. Hi Deb,
    Thank you for this great list of tips,
    And I did not realize I could send some writing your way,
    I have several stories I need to finish,
    So I’ll send one so you can work your magic,
    Thank you for listening,


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