Success Story

The Changing Faces of Success – Deryn Warren

Success kept raising the bar for me. First, it was finishing a book. Then, it was getting a publisher. After that, it was getting the book into the bookstores, and keeping the book there for more than a year. Finally, it was about making even a few cents. Success did not come easily... …

Mining Your Local News for Story Ideas – Diane Stark

A few years back, I was watching my local evening news and the reporter interviewed a family who had adopted nine siblings out of the foster care system. It was the largest special needs adoption in my state's history. As I watched the interview, my writer's radar went on high alert. These people were amazing! I wrote down their names and a brief synopsis of their story... …

In Four Years, I Have Earned $30K in Writing Grants! – Elizabeth Creith

My first grant application was terrifying. I read and re-read the rules, afraid I'd miss something and be disqualified. In the post office, preparing to mail my application, I suddenly wondered if I'd left my name on the title sheets. The jurors weren't to see any identifying information. I ripped open the package and found - horrors! - that I had. Fifteen minutes later, I mailed the application with new, anonymous title sheets. My hands shook for hours... …

I Owe My Success To My Writing Group – Pauline Clark

I've been a writer for most of my life. It's a solitary profession sometimes. It certainly had been for me. Growing up in a small town meant there weren't a lot of us "writer-types" around. People would nod and just smile when I told them what I wanted to do. Eventually, I quit saying it out loud. Instead, I devoured writing magazines and dreamed of the day when my writing would make me rich and famous. That day still hasn't come but my writing life has become much less solitary - and more successful - since some writers came to town... …

If You Can’t Write a Journal – Ann Goldberg

Writing experts always tell newbie-writers to write a journal. "You'll be thankful you did. It will give you endless material for your writing." Well, I just can't... …

Worried About Something? Get Writing! – Connie Jeske Crane

We often think our fears and neuroses hold us back as writers. We talk in terms of worries weighing us down, and fears needing to be wrestled with. Yet in the last few years, I've started to see that stuff that keeps you up at night as something else too: great subject matter... …

Write More Using Your Kitchen Timer! By Doris J. Niemann

Write More Using Your Kitchen Timer! By Doris J. Niemann

As a published writer, I am not getting out the word (so to speak) on a steady lucrative basis like I should. I still have difficulty making time to sit down each day and write. I found that concentrating on writing without losing interest in content, clarity and descriptive phrases was not as easy as I thought... …

The Surprising and Near-Instant Benefits of (Finally) Creating My Own Website – Connie Jeske Crane

I hear writers making confessions like this all the time. "Ugh. I really should have a website." Or they've established an online presence, but there's this twist, "I haven't updated my blog since 2004!" The underlying reasons vary. I know hardworking writers who are mired in the trenches. But also, at the edge of the pool, you'll find the technophobes, and social media snobs (yes, some people out there still think Facebook and Twitter are fads). And finally, lots of us writers fall into the awe-shucks humble category, protesting... …

I Love Being a Workshop Presenter! – Alice J. Wisler

I've presented workshops at other people's events for over ten years now. You know, where you get invited to teach on a topic for an hour or so at a conference or seminar because someone sees you as having something important to say. My topic has been writing through heartache. Ever since my son Daniel died at the age of four, I found writing to be a healthy respite for my sorrow and became an advocate for sharing the value of writing for healing, hope and healing... …

From Blogger to Travel Writer – Ryan James, MSW, LCSW, Ed.D.

When living and working in California as a social worker, therapist, and college instructor my dream was to break into travel writing. Each college winter recess, my partner and I would spend a month in various countries. Our friends and co-workers traveled vicariously through our adventures; they demanded detailed reports of our daily undertakings... …

You Never Know Who’s Reading… – C.M. Saunders

Like most writers, I love what I do. I love the creative process, the research, the meeting and dealing with various people. If I didn't enjoy it so much, I'd do something else. Over the past decade or so I have been moderately successful in terms of my output and published material, having contributed both fiction and non-fiction to over forty publications worldwide. However, my problem was that I didn't make enough money from writing to actually support myself. This led to me taking a succession of manual jobs I didn't really like, which I endured just to enable myself to make ends meet. I was a factory worker, a barman, and later an English teacher in China. All the time I dreamed of being a professional writer. I looked at writing as more of a hobby. A hobby which, if I was lucky, sometimes allowed me the opportunity to supplement my income... …

Success is a Bunch of Clips – Gail Kavanagh

I had nothing to offer retail or business. My qualifications for anything were so old they pre-dated the Vic 20. Even the local greengrocer, looking for a check out person, had a state of the art LED cash register that I couldn't begin to understand. But I was starting again after a failed marriage and desperately needed a job. All I had was a folder full of clips from my years of freelance writing. Could that get me a job on a newspaper or magazine? My job counselor thought so..." …

Don’t Forget about Your Day Job – Diane Stark

Five years ago, I resigned from my job as a kindergarten teacher. While I loved teaching, I longed to be a stay-at-home mom and try my hand at freelance writing. I'd been writing in my spare time for a few years, and I wanted to pursue the craft more seriously. Although I'm not currently teaching in the classroom, I still use my teaching experience all the time in my writing career... …

Dedication and Determination Go a Long Way By Victoria Heckstall

Being seven months pregnant and in a new city without a job is not a good combination. I went about learning this the hard way when I was pregnant with my second son. I had applied for numerous jobs, then one day while searching for a job online I ran across a work at home mom forum and the light bulb in my head immediately went off... …

Changing the World with Your Writing – Lisa Evans

When I started in my freelance writing career, I was excited to do reviews of beauty products, write articles about how to organize your kitchen, the cheapest diet plans and foods to brighten your skin. While I felt a sense of pride seeing my byline on the somewhat superficial pages of slick magazines, I never imagined the power my words could have. After my father was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and survived chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and drug cocktail that left him depleted of energy and sullen - he was unable to walk down the street without falling short of breath. He decided to cycle 200 km in the Ride to Conquer Cancer - a fundraiser for the hospital that saved his life. He joined a local group of cyclists who trained together all summer and he crossed the finish line as the leader of the pack, pumping his fist in the air as only a survivor can. I wrote an article for a national cycling magazine on his team and relished in their excited faces as they poured over my words. I realized my words held power, not only to inform women how to properly apply makeup to make their faces appear thinner, but to impact the lives of individuals like my father who struggle to defeat cancer... …

Accidentally Finding Your Writing Niche By Sara Hodon

As a former program manager for career awareness initiatives aimed at school-age students, sometime Career Advisor at a technical college, and frequent job seeker/interviewee who has also made nice extra income as a freelance writer, it seemed like only a matter of time before my two "worlds" merged. Although I've written for a number of consumer magazines, once I discovered the lucrative opportunities that exist with industry-specific trade publications, I decided to try to break into those markets... …

Serendipity – Rosemary McKinley

At a book presentation at the local Historical Society, a man who works as an entertainer suggested that I contact a local farm owner who was always interested in local history. I did a book signing there at Harbes Family Farms in Mattituck, Long Island. The owner read my book and offered me a job as a Long Island historian working with school children during field trips! …

Food Writing’s Almost Always on the Menu – Phyllis Ring

Back when I didn't know where my first magazine sale would come from, a friend who was an established writer offered me a story assignment that a personal crisis was going to prevent her from completing. Her generosity opened the door to the nearly endless publication possibilities of food writing... …

Success Comes in Pieces – Andrew Handley

"Get a job that involves writing." That was the advice my English professor gave me on the day I dropped out of college. Like any good teenager, I immediately forgot her words and took on a warehouse job at a staffing agency, and now, looking back, I can see what that professor saw in me years ago: A passion for writing... …

Developing a Plan for Your Book – Dan Heaton

Developing a Plan for Your Book – Dan Heaton

My first grade teacher just bought my book. She's hardly my target audience and I hadn't seen her at least since I left elementary school more than 30 years ago, but I was happy to make the sale. I even charged her full price, rather than the insider's "friends and family rate." A few simple Internet searches and a plan - developed in large part through guidance from fellow WritersWeekly writers - helped me make the sale. …

A Serendipitous Path to Writing Success – Barbara Woodworth

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects about my now long-time writing career is that I never set out to write. The fact that I, somewhat serendipitously, spent the past two decades writing and publishing well over 1,500 articles in more than 50 local, regional, national and international publications, still amazes me. As a student writing was never my forte. In middle school I dreaded the annual back-to-school assignment requiring a treatise on how I spent my summer vacation. …

Accountability – The Key to Success – Diane Stark

Every Sunday evening for the last year, I've spent a few minutes planning my writing week. I look at the deadlines I need to meet, my never-ending writing To Do list, and my non-writing related responsibilities for the week. Then I make a list of what I think I can realistically accomplish that week. I set daily writing goals, which are designed to help me meet my weekly goal. Plan your work and work your plan. It's good advice. The only problem was that I wasn't exactly following it... …

Humor Sells – Jeanette Levellie

I woke up one day and said, "I want to write humor." When I sat down at the keyboard, the one-liners and witticisms flew from my fingers like lightning flashes. Now I make tons of money with my laugh-a-second writing. And if you believe that, I have a boat I'd like to sell you... …

Finding Your Niche – Laura Pennington

Getting started in the writing business can sometimes be overwhelming, especially as you come to realize how many other writers there are out there. The good news is that the old saying is true: there is only one you. Why does this matter? There are topics and industries you might be clued into that can help separate you from the crowd... …

Measuring Writing Success – Diane Craver

If your books haven't made the New York Time's Best Selling Book List and you don't have tons of money in your bank account from your writing, don't fret. Maybe we shouldn't feel valued only by the amount of royalties earned from our writing. How many times have people emailed you or told you in person that your book has meant so much to them? Our books can touch people on some level when we reach deep inside our core to write with passion. Whether you write non-fiction or fiction, your words might have helped some individuals in a dark place to have happier and brighter days. Reaching out to others with the written word will always be important. …

A Toehold in Fiction Writing – Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

I typically write non-fiction: profiles, how-to's, trend pieces and web copy. It amounts to about 25 to 30 articles and projects per month and represents the bread and butter of my writing. I write for a handful of publications whose editors regularly tap me, and if I pitch to them, they usually accept. But, as an avid fiction reader, I've always wanted to try my hand at fiction. Sometimes, great story ideas just pop into my head and beg to be written. Other times, it's bits of stories, such as an interesting character, plot twist or scenario that could be part of a good story. The trouble is, most editors want a complete manuscript since the subjective nature of fiction makes it nearly impossible to rate a story based upon a query letter. Writing a story without a contract could be a complete waste of time if I don't sell it. That's where writing short fiction for Sunday school curriculum publishers has been a terrific way for me to get my fiction writing off the ground... …

Making Ideas Marketable – Heidi Smith Luedtke, PhD

As a freelancer, I'm always looking for the next big gig. It's easy to come up with topics I'd like to explore, but finding a fun angle for an idea is sometimes challenging. I've found the best way to sharpen my hook is to use prompts in my target publication. Let's say I want to write about list making, because I think lists are useful tools people can use in to enhance productivity and minimize stress. Before I sit down to draft a query, I need a clear sense of direction. Without a hook, my pitch will ramble aimlessly. I want it to pop off the page as a saleable article idea. …

Using Personal Stories to Connect with Clients – Dorit Sasson

Using Personal Stories to Connect with Clients – Dorit Sasson

"Why should I work with you?" is a typical question most people will ask when stumbling over one's products and services for the first time. What people really want to see when they are thinking "are you a good fit for me?" is if your "story", and why you do the work that you feel you've been called to do, really fits into their "why." …

Networking Party Tricks or “Hello. I’m A Writer” – Daniel R. Robichaud

"So, what do you do?" is a popular icebreaker question at any social gathering. The answer "I'm a writer" opens the floodgate to follow-ups such as "What do you write?" and "Where might I have seen your work?" Having a few specific answers "on tap" is vital to appearing professional. These questions are not only getting-to-know-you party tricks, they are networking opportunities to discover alternative writing career avenues. …

How I Turned One Assignment into Two – Lisa Evans

As a freelance writer, I'm always racking my brains for new story ideas. Once a week, I block an entire day off to research new ideas and write queries. With pen in hand and a pot of coffee brewing, I tap out story idea after story idea, then delve into online research, finally coming up with a query letter sometime between lunch and dinner. The process can be time consuming and daunting as sometimes my brain muscles have to really stretch far to pull out a fresh idea. Recently, however, I discovered a brainstorming strategy that had me turn one assignment into two, cutting down on my research time and allowing me to earn more money by doing less. It happened like this... …

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