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Become the next great writer

Write it! Tell the world. Accomplished authors, whether known around the world or only in smaller professional circles, can achieve every dream faster…and then some. You want to grow your business – type. Being offered the next promotion – write. Get a job or a new job – write. People admire the successful among us. They join the realization. They hire, promote, or buy the expert who has proven themselves to be a mover and shaker in their field. Are you?

what to write

You’re an expert. there is something, maybe Many things you do exceptionally well or know a lot about. Putting your wisdom on the page gives your work credibility, helps your peers in an area they want to learn or improve, and gives you a strong sense of self-satisfaction when your work is published.

Focus less on becoming the next billionaire Harry Potter author and more on being yourself. If you are not a storyteller, fiction may not be your area. Also, unless you want to change careers to become a full-time author, it won’t help you much in your current career. Write nonfiction; i.e. how to do it, why it works, insights and educational pieces that will help others know what you know. Don’t worry about quitting a job, thinking that if you write it down you won’t be needed anymore. On the contrary, you will become THE source for your clients and co-workers alike.

How to get published

“You should write a book” is a common phrase in the American lexicon that we often hear or say. Maybe a book is in your future. But, if you’re not a writer now and have never published before, it’s probably not the best place to start. Consider a magazine, journal, newspaper, newsletter, or electronic authoring.

There are two common ways to proceed.

The first, and most common, is to find a need and fill it. Talk to the editor of the publication you want to write for to find out what content they need. A little known fact is that most magazines and newspapers address the topic of each issue and often make available their editorial calendars, which outline the topics of upcoming issues. If your experience falls under an upcoming topic, contact the editor to see if they’ll let you try your hand at a piece for consideration.

The second, less common approach is only write. Find a topic to which you bring passion, knowledge, and experience and write an outstanding article. Work it and work it again. You are on your own time, you have no deadline. Revisit it in the following days or weeks to get “fresh eyes” on it. When you have it almost where you want it, share it with a trusted advisor for input and feedback. Rework it some more. Only after it’s perfect, check it out. Send it to publishers of newspapers, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters to see if they will accept it. Don’t just send it to any editor of any publication. Research them first and make an honest judgment as to whether your article would be a good fit for your publication.

I have personally had much more success with the latter method; however, other authors tell me that it is the road less traveled and much more difficult to find success. However, with over a dozen articles published in national publications and dozens more in state and local print media, I have not found this to be the case.

how long

Different publications. Generally speaking, there are three different item lengths: think of them as small, medium, and large. The common measurement tool is the number of words, as opposed to characters, found in some social networks (such as Twitter); or, column inches, found primarily in the world of newspapers.

A small article, then, is 600 to 800 words. Anything smaller isn’t really an item at all; but rather, an interesting fact, a very short story, or report on a fact. After being placed on the page, adding graphics, banners or sidebars, a 600-800 word article takes up less than an entire printed page.

Medium articles are the bread and butter of most posts, ranging from 800 to 1,200 words with an average length of 1,000 words. They fill the printed page or extend to a second page when designed and enhanced in production. They may extend to a third page, although this is rare. I recommend that you focus your first few attempts on aiming for this size. This is the perfect sized article to grab an editor’s attention.

As articles approach and exceed 1,200 words, they become featured articles. Most magazines and newspapers have three or fewer featured articles in each issue. Newspapers have one per section. And, the newsletters have one per edition. Every author wants a cover story. You have to earn it. History is full of ‘naturals’. Maybe you are one of them and can knock him out of the park in his first time at bat. Most of us thrive on on the job training. We make our mistakes along the way. To learn. And get better.

All authors hate editing

You should have enough to say. In fact, you should have a lot to say. It is much easier to ramble at length than to be succinct. If you find yourself on the other side of the equation, looking for what to write, you have chosen the wrong topic. As an example, after writing, rewriting, revising and adjusting this article, it was 1557 words long (I cut 367 words).

Editing it to size is always the hardest part of writing a piece, big or small. Separate adults from children.

Never send any piece out into the world unless you are convinced that it is your latest masterpiece that far surpasses all previous work. If an item doesn’t make it to that level, store it until it does.

professional vs amateur

Professionals get paid. The fans don’t. Again, unless you’re interested in changing careers to become a writer, use it as a supplement to his current career. Focus your efforts on writing the best piece possible and getting it into print instead of the few hundred dollars a paid author might receive. Success breeds success. The more you post, the easier it becomes to post. If you’re good, publishers will love you. Whether writing is your passion or you write about your passion, my advice is the same: Get a few dozen hits under your belt before you consider doing it for a fee. Stay a hobby writer for as long as you can. When you’re pro, go fast and make a splash.

dream big Pick the most glorious publication in your field and work your way up to becoming a regular author on it. Your peers, contemporaries, clients, and bosses will appreciate your accomplishments and reward you with greater success in your chosen career.

Become an author. Grow your career. Make your life better.

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