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Becoming A Published Writer

July 3rd, 2020

It was when one of my students had a reader’s letter published that the idea for my latest book started to take shape.

“It’s only a reader’s letter,” she said, “but it means the world to me. I’m published!”

For a few months, she’d been sending work out and either not heard back, or received a rejection. Understandably, she’d started to feel a little despondent and wondered if she was ever going to be published.

Then came that first moment of success. It was swiftly followed by a short filler being accepted. She emailed me a few weeks later to tell me she couldn’t believe the confidence that one reader’s letter had given her. She realised that she could write and now she’d had a few small successes, she wanted more and was going to work on some articles.

Not long after, she pitched an idea to an editor of a glossy magazine and was given a commission to write the full article.

It reminded me of my own journey with The Writers Bureau (over 20 years ago now!). Before I took the course, I planned to write stunning stories for the women’s weeklies and brilliant books that everyone would yearn to buy. Well, that was the dream, anyway. I soon realised I had a lot to learn.

It was publication of a reader’s letter that also gave me belief that I could be a writer. I can remember the feeling of elation as I tore open the letter informing me I was going to be published. I started small and kept sending work out, taking the advice the course gave. Little by little I got there and my confidence in being a writer grew all the while. And if I can do it, so can you.

And that’s what I want to show in my book. If you take it step-by-step, you can become a published writer and on a regular basis. My book shares the lessons I’ve learned along the way, together with plenty of examples, tips, writing exercises and resources.

One important tip I’d like to share here is to keep sending work out. Don’t write a reader’s letter or article and then wait to see if the letter appears in the magazine or to hear back from an editor about whether they want to use your work. I recently had a reader’s letter published over a year after sending it and I’ve often had to wait months for an editor to come to a decision about using an article. So send your piece of writing out and then work on another piece. The more writing you send out, the greater chance you have of becoming published.

And remember – perseverance is key. I didn’t have my first piece of work accepted or the next piece, or the one after that, and neither did the student I refer to here. I still receive rejections. Sometimes the editor has just commissioned a similar piece or another time, they simply aren’t keen. So I move on and write something else and often that piece is what they’re looking for.

Esther Chilton is a freelance writer, copywriter, and copyeditor. She also tutors for The Writers Bureau. Her latest book, Publication Guaranteed (well, almost!), is out now and available as an e-book from Amazon.  A paperback version will be released later in the year. She blogs at https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com





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