Writing is writing – right? Wrong! For me, writing is more than an occupation. It’s a passion that permeates every aspect of my life. When I’m not talking about it, I’m writing about it.
Early in my career, I subscribed to every writers’ newsletter and magazine available, mainly for the market listings. In 2002, a few years into my professional freelancer’s life, I wrote my first Success Story for WritersWeekly:
Versatility is Essential When You’re An Expert on Nothing
That was my light-bulb revelation: I could write articles, short stories, and verses for pay, and also earn an additional income by writing about the writing process!
What I’d been slow to realize was that nearly every writing publication I subscribed to was also a potential paying market for writers. Once I’d established that fact, I began writing for as many of those markets as I could.
My success with short stories gave me the authority to write about characterization, teaching writers how to sell their grandmothers (legitimately), and much more.
A foray into journalism taught me new writing disciplines, which I passed on by writing about those for various publications. Having edited restaurant reviews, I wrote articles on food writing. That was how I landed a column in a newsletter for food writers.
While working as a reporter, I was invited to address a seniors’ group. I’m not a natural speaker so I devised a talk consisting mainly of readings from my published work. That paid engagement led to an article on the writer’s role as entertainer.
I developed a truffle hog’s snout for markets, gaining two separate jobs as markets editor where I wrote about writers’ markets. I even found a magazine that would buy a humorous verse about the writing life. As I’d published light verse, that gig had my name on it.
In recent years, many writers’ publications have folded, or become non-paying. Only the strongest have survived as paying markets, though new ones occasionally appear. I recently discovered a website, Write Naked, which invites guest posts. Although I’d dipped my toe in the muddy waters of erotic writing, I was relieved it was only my writing life I’d have to bare.
Close to my desk, I keep a selection of my published writing articles, ready to be turned into a book for new writers. I never forget writing is mainly about earning a living. If I can help new writers along the road to success, that’s a bonus.
Now here I am, writing about writing about writing. How cool is that?
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Mary Cook is a UK-based freelance writer whose writing interests include self-sufficient living, folklore, humor, and horror. She has written for various writing publications including Writing for Dollars, Writers’ Forum, Freelance Writing and Photography, Writing World, Byline, WOW Women on Writing, Freelance Market News, Write Naked, Fabulist Flash and Star Writer.
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