Aside from writing super interesting blogs, I like to write creative non-fiction and poetry. I know there are other people like me. I also know that they are generally just as screwed as I am. As grand as it would be to sit at a typewriter by a window all day pounding out glorious poems and witty self-autobiographical pieces, it would also be rather depressing. Because the typewriter would be in the box I would be living in and the window would be a jagged bit of cardboard I ripped out.
Regardless, there are still people out there, like myself, who would like to get their name and their writing out there. To leave an imprint. To add to the beauty, the magic, and the understanding of the world around us.
It is almost impossible to just write a book of poems or essays or fiction and have the money just roll right in. It certainly does seem to happen. Look at Stephanie Myers and her mediocre tale of forbidden love. Or J.K Rowling and her fantastic stories about friendship, bravery, and strength. Neither woman could have known their books would explode in popularity the way that they did. And yet, with some gumption and luck it happened for them.
So, how can you get started down the road of published writing?
- Write, duh! Really write, though.
- Join a site like Writer’s Digest
- Search out contests
- But a Writer’s Market book
- Submit, submit, submit, and (yeah) submit to publications.
I personally have joined Writer’s Digest. Partially because they have some great contests. And partially because they send out pretty good advice. They also have workshops and great deals on materials for getting published. You don’t necessarily have to go the same route. But it might be a good idea to look into a similar site.
One of the best ways to find good contests and publications that are geared towards your writing and interests is to get one of the Writer’s Market books. They have a general one, but there are also Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction Market books available. They detail the best ways to get yourself noticed in the writing world. They also provide a very in depth directory of all the publications and national contests in the country. This includes what type of writing they take, the cost of entering, the dates of acceptance or contests, and how difficult it is to get in or win.
This book has provided me with a wealth of information. I’m sure that there are other books similar to it. And even websites. But I’m not sure they are as comprehensive as I haven’t looked into them myself.
And once you find the contests and publications you want to submit to…do it! Write until your brain falls out. And your fingers cramp. Write and edit and write some more, until you have some pieces you are truly happy with. Write a good cover letter, put together a good portfolio, and do whatever you can to stand out in a sea of jumbled letters and similar entrants.
If you get rejected, just realize that you always have the chance to try again. And pretty much all writers get rejected repeatedly before they get the chance to shine. So keep your head up. And remember that I’m out there too, toiling along with you.