“You should consider being a writer.” Famous words, I thought, trying for another slam dunk with the 24th crumbled re-write. Who ever said writing was easy? I shouldn’t have listened. The teaching position certainly looked appealing right now. Teaching twenty-six students was a piece of cake compared to battling with pen and paper.
So began my experience as a freelance writer. After writing, re-writing, and re-writing, I finally realized what other writers have known all along, writing takes dedication and is serious work. Thinking of a good idea and writing it down does not bring in the bucks. Dedication to your writing does bring results. I would like to share some tips I learned during the process.
1. Research thoroughly the intended publication before querying or submitting an article. Read the publication from cover to cover. Study the style or voice of the various contributors to know how to present your idea.
2. Be an expert regarding the information or material you are presenting. Present yourself in a confident manner.
3. After you have re-written your article for the final time, go through and circle any passive words. Editors hate lazy words. Show enthusiasm through action words. Paint an imaginary picture with your words.
4. Daily writing is essential for expanding your vocabulary and developing focus. Write, write, and re-write. Begin with a topic and stick to that particular topic throughout your writing. Concentrate on staying focused.
5. Begin with an outline. Include your topic, bullet points, etc. If you don’t know where you are headed, you won’t know when you have arrived at your destination.
6. Lend variety to your writing through sentence structure and length. Capture a reader’s attention with a short, simple thought. Longer sentences should be used to describe the scene.
7. Every article should consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Short intro’s are better. Briefly give the details in the body and conclude with a summary which should wrap up your thoughts.
With dedication and hard work I began applying the above steps and immediately received the reward of my effort. Don’t ever give up on your writing. Keep fine tuning and cutting away nonsense words. The “bare essentials” of words should speak or convey your message. “Less is more” is certainly true in the writing world.
Lois Jean Riley is an inspirational freelance writer and lives in Indianapolis, IN. Resigning from teaching, she began dabbling in the field of writing. After three years and many rejection slips, the big break finally came. Her work has appeared in Women Alive and Seek Magazine.