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Have you got what it takes to be a writer?

August 10th, 2012

First, thanks to Shuchi for last week’s blog. We do have lots of students in India and I’m sure they’ll find this post very reassuring.

I talk to a lot of people who say that they’ve always wanted to write – but they worry that they’ve not got what it takes. Well there’s never been a better time to find out and if you’re not sure what kind of writing would suit you best, here are some suggestions:

Readers’ Letters and Tips

Try your hand at readers’ letters and tips for newspapers and magazines – you don’t even need to put pen to paper as many now accept your views by email, text or tweets. You won’t make a fortune but you could earn a steady income.

Share your Interests and Views with others

You could consider writing articles for your favourite magazines. Do you need to be an expert to interest editors in your work? It depends what you mean by ‘expert’. If you’re bringing up a family then there’s no reason why you can’t contribute articles to parenting magazines and websites. If you’ve got a particular hobby that interests you – then it’s highly likely that there is a magazine out there for like-minded people that you could contribute to. If you know about your local area then consider the glossy county magazines, and if you travel a lot, there are a huge variety of publications – both online and in the newsagents – that accept well-written travel articles.

Try your hand at Non-fiction Writing

If you’ve always fancied writing a non-fiction book, then why not take the plunge? You could write your memoirs for members of your family – or even put together a full family history. If you’ve had problems in your life and overcome them, then perhaps you could write a self-help book that will be of interest to others. If you’re an expert on anything – from bee-keeping to digital photography – there could be a market for another book on the subject. Or what about local history? The possibilities are limitless.

Short and Sweet

But it’s not all about non-fiction. Many people have been tempted at some point to try their hand a writing short stories. It’s not an easy option – but it’s certainly an enjoyable one. Again, there are all kinds of markets for short stories ranging from women’s weekly and monthly magazines, to more experimental fiction. There are literary short stories, horror stories, erotic stories and, of course, sci-fi and fantasy. Print markets are not thriving as well as they used to but to compensate for this the internet has opened up a huge market for short stories of all kinds.

For anyone who is more interested in writing fiction then you can get a lot of enjoyment – and the opportunity to win some great cash prizes – by entering competitions. Check out sites like www.firstwriter.com which give details of a variety of reputable competitions. Plus the Writers Bureau holds annual Short Story and Poetry competitions with good cash prizes.

Stop making excuses and get on with that novel!

And finally, let’s talk about that novel you’ve got half- finished and tucked away under the bed. Or the one that you’ve been intending to write but have never quite got round to. It’s a big undertaking, but with sensible help on plotting, characterisation and dialogue, and then constructive help from an experienced writing tutor, it’s not beyond you. It just takes perseverance and objectivity.

There really has never been a better time to write and get that writing out before an audience – whether that’s in print, on the internet or as a self-published book. Growing sales of e-readers, like the Kindle, are ensuring that there are now more books being downloaded than bought in bookshops. So, there’s no time like the present to find out whether you’ve got what it takes to become a published writer!

My guest next week is Jackie Sherman, writer of a wide range of articles and non-fiction books and also a tutor on the Writers Bureau Creative Writing Course.

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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