I was in the 5th grade when I announced to my parents, teachers, and friends that “when I grow up I’m going to be an author.” I remember thinking that title sounded so important, so regal.
Two decades later I have yet to publish or even write a book. Sometimes I get a bit disheartened by this but I’m encouraged when I remember that I am still a writer nonetheless. I’ve written for magazines, webzines, and newspapers and I blog like crazy. I know that all the smaller projects and assignments I’m doing are good practice. And practice makes perfect, right?
In fact, writer and blogging superstar Jeff Goins says that the best way to start a writing career is to write for magazines. Goins writes:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a future novelist, nonfiction author, or journalist. Writing short-form pieces prepares you for long-form. This is a great alternative to endlessly working on multiple drafts of your book and letting it sit in a drawer for years.”
He goes on to say that writing features for magazines, websites, and other publications teaches you to be humble about your work (yes, even you need an editor) and teaches you how to meet deadlines. And on top of all that, writing for magazines usually pays.
If you’re wondering how to get started, Goins recommends writing reviews, doing interviews on your blog, and working to gigs with online publications. Read more of Goins’ suggestions here.
And you have the opportunity to learn even more on breaking into the world of freelancing. On Tuesday, May 15, See Jane Write will present Freelancing 101. This event is a panel discussion featuring successful freelance writers and editors of local publications. Click here for more information and to register for this free event.
You write because you love language and understand the power of words. But, you still need to eat. If you’re looking for more ways to get paid for your writing you need to attend Freelancing 101, a panel discussion featuring successful freelance writers and editors of local publications.
I believe in the power of the written word, and I believe in the power of women. This is why I blog, this is why I write essays, this is why I teach English, and this is why in March of 2011 I started See Jane Write.
On Monday a few of the women from the group and I (pictured above) got together for lunch at a local Thai restaurant. The food was good, but the conversation was even better. After a brief talk about politics (there’s always plenty to discuss in that arena here in Birmingham) we got down to business – discussing the writing life.
Being a writer is hard. Being an artist of any kind is difficult in part because there’s such little respect for these professions. In fact, they aren’t even seen as professions by some, but simply considered hobbies. For many of the women at the table when we told our families we wanted to be writers we were told, “OK, but you need to get a real job too.”
Being a woman writer can be even harder. The byline gender gap has been well documented by groups like VIDA. Women’s voices are still underrepresented in the media and literary arts. And this is another reason I founded See Jane Write. I believe that women who dare to express themselves, to tell their stories, and to share the stories of others through the written word need a strong support system. They need someone to encourage them and to hold them accountable.
Because the writing life can be so difficult it can be easy to get off track, to go weeks, months, or even years without writing. Lately, I have really been struggling with feeling like a real writer because now that I’m an English teacher and no longer a full-time journalist I’m not being paid for my written words. But one published author at the table said something that really stuck with me. She said something that reminded me not to put a price on my art in that way.
The true measure of whether or not you’re a writer is simple: Are you writing more than you’re not? In other words, you may not write every single day, but you need to write most days. All relationships, even your relationship with writing, need quality time. Are you truly showing your love for writing or just offering lip service? I, for one, am ready to give it my all.