Showing posts with label beginning a writing career. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beginning a writing career. Show all posts

3 Tips to Help Launch your Writing Career

Your story begins with an idea, an idea that has come from one of your own experiences or someone’s experience that you’ve observed. 

To write your story, you first need to do your homework: read up on writing for children, read other authors’ books in your genre, take courses, go to conferences, join a critique group, etc. Write on a regular schedule and you will learn, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t work on your road to publication.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? 

Oh, but there’s so much more. My own writing journey is a lot like a discovery I made when I became a Girl Scout leader. I went through the training, read the manual, and prepared myself to do whatever I could for the girls in my troop. 

What I didn’t realize until later was how much the Girl Scouts would do for me! I learned many crafts and how much work goes into making lasting, worthwhile crafts. Our troop spent a lot of time outdoors, and together we acquired a lifelong knowledge of skills and a love of nature. I could go on. The same happened when I started writing: becoming a writer has done so much for me I could fill volumes. 

Here in a nutshell, are the hallmarks of what I have learned.

Tip #1: Decide Where to Begin
When the urge to write takes hold of you, take some time to decide the direction you will take. 
  • Nonfiction is an excellent place to start. You can learn the ropes while finding an easier path to publication than fiction. Editors are always on the lookout for good, solid nonfiction articles.
  • Fiction is a world unto itself and much needs to be learned. Resources abound in your local area and online. Take advantage of them and soon you will be on your way.
  • Exploring your feelings and beliefs, I have found, goes hand-in-hand with your writing journey.

Tip #2: Decide What You Care About
Build your stories around the things you care about the most. You will be doing three things:
  • Bringing out what you’re interested in passing on to the next generation.
  • Giving yourself activities to share during school, library and organization visits.
  • Promoting what you stand for as a person.

Here is my list of what I care about most, and how I’ve strived to incorporate the topics on my list into my stories.
  • Family: Every children’s story is a family story—the type of family determined by you, the author.
  • Friendship: So important in childhood, my stories reflect what being a friend means.
  • Nature and the Outdoors: Much of the setting in my stories takes place outdoors. I strive to make this appear a natural, integral part without giving away my desire to spark an interest in my readers to get outside to play and explore.
  • Athletics and Staying Fit: Lots of running, biking, and sports are in my stories, showing some characters as fit, while showing others struggle who are not so good at athletics.
  • Music: A few references to music are made—really, snuck in.
  • Hobbies: Also shown as an integral part of my stories. Learning the importance of having a hobby is a gift I received from my dad, who had several serious hobbies. I would like to pass on the place a hobby can have in a person’s life.
  • These last two go without saying: Appearance and the Importance of Surrounding Oneself with Positive Friends, snuck in as part of the story.

Tip #3: Sure-Fire Ways to Become a Success
If anyone had told me how much goes into writing for children before I started, I wouldn’t have believed them. I have learned that there are certain qualities that will help you succeed:
  • Desire: Essential to keep going through the ups and downs of your writing journey. I let writing go for a few years to go back to teaching. As soon as I left teaching, BOING, up popped that writing desire, a part of me that I know now will never die.
  • Perseverance: An editor once told me she has observed that the way to succeed in writing is to persevere. The writers she knows who have stuck it out are the ones who get published.
  • Write for Yourself while Thinking of Others: Ask yourself what your reader wants: a good mystery, a story that reflects a need, an exciting adventure. Then write that story for him or her.
  • Above all: Have Fun! Have you ever heard that when you go to a party, if the hostess is having fun, the guests will have fun, too? The fun you have writing your story will electrify your readers and keep them coming back for more.

Image courtesy of:

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at

Let Passion Fuel Your Writing Career

The Four Levels of Engagement & How to Use Them To Fuel Your Work

When you are looking to start a new writing project, here are some things to consider:

Level 1 Engagement: Lack of Enthusiasm: When you find you are lacking enthusiasm for your current writing project, many times this is because you are not following your passion, but that of another person. As a writer, we can all write a variety of things from non-fiction to short stories to novels, and we can choose from a wide range of topics. But when you find yourself writing something that doesn't seem to drive you toward your own goals, this lack of enthusiasm may cause you to stumble. Write what fuels your passion.

Level 2 Engagement: Inspired: Inspiration occurs when an idea manifests. Inspired people are more engaged in their project and may think and speak about the 'great idea' they have. Inspiration is important to fueling your writing, but inspiration alone is not enough. Talking about and thinking about what to write will not get words on a page.

Level 3 Engagement: Motivated: Motivation is an idea you can't put down. It won't let go of you, following you to the grocery store and to bed at night. But its more than just an idea, it's an idea that must, and I mean must, be acted on. Motivation means you will sit down at your desk and write. Being motivated will fuel your writing and provide you with a body of work.

Level 4 Engagement: Passion: Passion is when you have an idea, and it's one that won't let go of you and you writing this particular article or longer piece is part of your destiny, your path. This project will take you where you want to go with your writing career. It is the work you were meant to write to share with the world and it will show in your final product. Let passion fuel your work.


D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook

Layering Your Writing Piece

I am a writer but I am also a quilter. It occurred to me recently as I began outlining a quilting and applique book project for the proposal I need to send, that quilting and writing have much in common. Layers.

Quilters gather fabric to sew into a quilt top from the scraps and perfect cut pieces of beautiful fabric they have collected. They work and work until the fabrics are arranged in just the right way to reflect the story or picture the quilter wants the piece to represent. When the top of the quilt is just right, it is layered with the batting for warmth and stability in the middle and another colorful piece of fabric is placed on the back. Three layers for the purpose of making a quilt and telling a story.

 So a quilter now has a fabulous backing, cozy comfy middle, and a spectacular top that is stitched together in another meaningful pattern to bring it all together. Many times the quilting adds another layer to the emotional story the quilter is trying to tell.

 Finally the perfect binding is attached and secured to hold the whole quilt together forever telling a story whether that story is about family, nature, colors, or design. The quilt sparks an emotional reaction for those looking who see it.

Writers do much of the same thing when constructing a piece of writing. It really doesn't matter if it is a children's book, a novel, an article, a fiction piece or a nonfiction project. The process is similar. A writer gathers the facts, creates the character, or lists quotes and references to be used to "tell the story". Next they write a beginning, middle, and end to pull all those scraps of knowledge or characters and actions into an informative or entertaining work for readers.

Next writers go back and revise making certain the layers of plot, subplots, actions, reactions, and climax are placed in just the right way to satisfy the reader and tell a story.

Finally, if the work is a book it is bound with the perfect cover to add another layer to the story. Articles and shorter pieces are bound with titles, headings, subheadings and final "bindings" that make the piece tell the perfect story for the reader. Whether informative, entertaining, educational, or just a blurb about a product the finished written piece is layered with information to reach the reader on an emotional level.

How is your current piece of work layered?

The more layers the more complex the story or article so think about the concept of layering. Layering both the story or plot line and each character's personality will add depth to your story. Layering interesting facts that lead or are related to other little known facts about a topic can also add depth and meaning to your nonfiction pieces.

And when you get tired of layering words, you can always give a go at quilting.

Terri Forehand is a writer, nurse, and owner of a small quilt shop. Author of The Cancer Prayer Book and The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. She writes from the hills of Brown County Indiana. She is currently working on PB stories for children and a project book for quilters. ,

Growing a Writing Career

Beginning a writing career is like planting a garden. It takes time and patience. Depending on the crop, the harvest can be from a few weeks to months away.

When planting a garden, you first have to pick out a spot with the right conditions for optimum growth.
  • Do you have a spot for writing? A desk, calendar, file cabinet, computer, and anything else you need to grow as a writer? Having a place that feels professional really makes a difference. You can write anywhere, but in order to get yourself thinking in terms of making money, a corner in the house with all the proper tools will give you a place for your writing business.
Next, preparation - working up the soil and amending if necessary. 
  • What do you want to write? You may have many ideas. Choose one you know the most about. If you are a mother, you may have great ideas to submit to a parenting magazine. If you have fond childhood memories spending summers in Maine with your grandfather and his lobster business, you may want to write a children's book. Dig deeply and think about what's in your heart. It won't limit your ideas, but it will give you a place to start.
Time to plant! The seeds or plants have to be selected.
  • Do you have goals? You have to know what you want to plant in your garden. Once you choose what you want to write, make a goal by the end of this year so you will have a harvest. If you want to write for magazines, perhaps your goal is to have 3 articles written and submitted. If you want to write a children's book, perhaps your goal is to have a rough draft completed. 
Watering, weeding, and fertilizing.
  • Do you have a writing schedule in place? A garden will flourish with proper care. If you don't select the days and times you will write, chances are your writing will be sporadic (watering) and your business won't grow. If it doesn't get done, you won't make money. There is a tendency to over schedule. You will know if you do. Just eliminate (weed) the days or  hours out of your schedule that are stifling your success. It's better to schedule 3 hours a week and stick with it than to schedule 6 hours and miss the mark.  
Your schedule will include weekly objectives (fertilize) to meet your goal:
  1.  Network with other writers and authors. Here you will find support, suggestions, and  guidance to help you know what books to read or classes to take for your style or genre.
  2.  Research your topic. If you're writing historical fiction, you have to be accurate about the  history. If you're writing an article for a magazine, you have to become familiar with the magazine and  writer's guidelines.
  3.  Build your platform. This is included with networking with other writers, but it also includes  having a blog or website. Who you are and what you write about will be reflected in your site.
  4.  Write. This is the actual writing you will do on your project. Are you a morning person or night  owl? What time or day works for you? 
  5.  Prioritize. You are starting a business. You have to take it seriously and your family and friends  have to take it seriously. Unless it's an emergency, treat your schedule as if you were going to a job  outside your home. Would you be able to leave work to help someone? Make it a priority to decide  when and if you will forgo your work schedule. 
  6.  Submit and Query. I know many beginning writers who have not taken the next step of submitting  or querying their work. What good is a garden if you don't pick the produce? Fear of rejection, lack  of confidence, or low self-esteem are all possible reasons. You have to take some risks to be  successful.  It's like  pruning. When you snip a plant in the right places, the promise is better growth.
  7. Patience. If you've planted a garden, you know it requires patience. The harvest is weeks or months away. I am just picking ripe tomatoes that I planted in May. I have a hydrangea that I've babied along for 3 years and just saw some buds. But then there are the radishes and  green beans that seemed to grow overnight. 
When I became serious about freelance writing, I had so many ideas I didn't know where to begin. I have 2-3 book ideas, but I also knew I wanted to make money as a writer in the very near future. Do I write resumes? Do I write for local publications? Do I take a course and get some credentials under my belt? I had to start organizing my thoughts since I was overwhelmed with information. Then it hit me - writing short pieces was a better fit for me than a book. So the book ideas are currently set aside for now, and I am regularly working on submitting to magazines. The book ideas will eventually be scheduled in. 

Where are you in your writing career? If you're just beginning, you may have lots of ideas to write about. But if you don't plant those ideas and keep to a regular schedule each week, you won't have a successful harvest.

Go for it! You have something to offer the world.


Kathy Moulton is a published freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

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