I must have written a hundred articles on “why I write” so I won’t attempt another article of this nature – this one is about you. Why do you write?
There are so many different reasons why we write: for business, for pleasure, to see our name in print or just because we have little else to do but scribble in a diary or journal or write poetry – whatever it is we’re
doing, at least we’re writing.
Let’s assume that you are writing to become published, and go from there. Where and how do you start? What do you write and how do you submit your manuscript to publishers? Who will you send it to? Will it be accepted or rejected? When do you submit? How will you react if it is rejected? What do you do with a piece that an editor rejects but suggests advice on a rewrite? Do you need an agent? These are legitimate questions that need a legitimate answer.
1) First, you need something to write about. You can wait for an assignment from an editor or better yet, you can browse several back issues of a particular magazine that interests you – read articles that you are
interested in writing about or if you have an idea of an article or story that might be of interest to the editor and readers of a magazine, start with that. Do the necessary research on the publication of interest – request writers guidelines and get a feel of the interests and needs of that particular publication. That way, you’ll know exactly how to slant (or how to write) your article or story.
2) Once you have done the initial marketing research above, and know what it is that you need to write, get busy. Lay it aside for a few days, revise and edit it. When you feel that it is ready to be submitted, follow the guideline submission rules, and submit it. The internet has afforded us such a luxury these days that it might be easier to email it. But be sure of what the writers guidelines says about internet submissions.
3) There is no way of knowing that a piece will be accepted or rejected but you will never know if you don’t submit your work to the editor. Give it at least 6 to 8 weeks before contacting the editor about your piece if you do not hear from them during that time.
4) If you receive a letter from an editor accepting your work, congratulations! Enjoy the ride! If they request a rewrite, it will be up to you to do the work required and again, you must wait for their response once
you resubmit your rewrite.
If it is then accepted for publication, again, congratulations.
If not, the best thing to do is keep trying until you get it right. Put the piece away for a while until you feel that you can come back and edit and rewrite it with a different perspective. Sometimes we writers think our work is perfect and can’t see it in any other way. If you let it set a while, you’ll be able to see it in a different light. Then is the time to rewrite and resubmit it.
In the meantime while that piece is cooling off, keep writing – having something simmering on the back burner will always keep you well stocked or “well fed”. I remember back in the day when my grandmother use to simmer beans on the stove all day long. We’d nibble around on food all day but when it came suppertime, we had a feast of beans and rice or whatever it happened to be simmering on the back burner. Though we were poor, we always had a pot of delicious food cooked for us each day. The same applies to writing – keep working on different writing projects between submitting and waiting for an answer. You will always have a stock pile of submissions and possible acceptances.
5) You do not necessarily need an agent to get started in writing. I never had one. But I do not have a book published yet so I will not answer that until that day comes. But in the beginning of my writing career years ago, I never had an agent, and still don’t today. It really depends on what you write. The choice is yours.
Now that you have a clear idea of why you write, get busy – stock up the stories and articles and get those pots on the back burner simmerin’!