Guest Post from Lauren Holden
If you want to be a writer, perhaps the first thing you should ask yourself is ‘why’? If you’re doing it for the money, you’ll no doubt be severely disappointed, especially in the first instance. Wannabe writers usually have to start at the bottom; writing for fanzines for free or contributing to their student newspaper. And everyone knows there’s little, or no money in either. If you’re doing it for the opportunity of a published byline – great, but be prepared to start small. Writers who are just starting out are usually chuffed to bits to see their name next to an article on even the most obscure website.
Expecting to get a byline in a top national magazine on your very first writing assignment is usually out of the question.
Want to write because you have a genuine passion for being creative with words? Good stuff! Get yourself a contacts book and jot down the names and email addresses of people you meet along the way. Networking can be key to your first foray into writing; it’s not what you know but who you know, as they say.
Should you come to pitch your article to a magazine or newspaper, be prepared for some knock-backs. Don’t be disheartened if your feature idea is rejected; just because one editor doesn’t like your idea, it doesn’t mean everyone else will. Get hold of the 2010 Writers’
Handbook for relevant contact details for hundreds of magazines, newspapers and websites up and down the country. You’ll know exactly who to pitch your idea to, as well as picking up tips about what certain magazines are looking for in terms of content.
Keep an eye on what’s topical in the news and always remember to ‘write what you know’. Writers who tackle a subject they know little about will often struggle. It’s far easier to select a subject you can relate to and you’re interested to write about. There’s little fun in researching and writing about ‘injection moulding companies’ if you’re not a fan of the subject itself.
Finally, get yourself on Twitter and ‘follow’ fellow writers, interesting celebs and anyone you think may be worth a story. Good luck!