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    Home Columns

    So, You Want to be a Writer?

    When did the urge to write first hit you? Was it when your teacher praised a short story in class? Was it when you read other books and felt as if you were being called upon to offer your own voice? Or did it just seem to happen?

    No matter how it came about, you realized you wanted to be a writer. And to be a writer, all you have to do is write, right? True, but many writers find that as time goes on, they want others to read their work.

    Many times, writers don't just want a few others to read it, but many others -- maybe thousands of others. When this happens, we seek publication. And that is where many writers stop.

    Publication may be exciting, but it is also scary. Scary because you are basically asking an editor if they like your work, and if so, will they please publish it.

    Except, it isn't as easy as that.

    Approaching the Editors

    Sending your work off to an editor can be likened to standing in front of the class introducing yourself at a new school. You want to be liked so you want to make sure you don't say anything silly.

    The same goes with approaching an editor. You want them to like what you have to say enough to read your work. You don't want to say something silly out of nervousness. Therefore, the best way to approach an editor is with time and care.

    When you have finished working on an article or story, your first thoughts may be to hurry and send it out. But time needs to be taken first. You don't want to send it somewhere it doesn't belong.

    So before even crafting a cover letter, you need to find the perfect market. One of the best places to find markets for young writers is in the Young Writer's Market Guide by Kathy Henderson. This book offers many publications and web sites that cater to and accept work from writers your age. Because of these markets, young writers don't have to wait until they are older writers to possibly be published.

    Once you have a short list of possible markets, think about what you can say in a cover letter to tempt the editors to actually reading on to your actual submission.

    Should you say, "Here's my story. I hope you like it."?

    Or should you tell them a bit about yourself and your submission?

    Think very seriously about this before writing anything. (More about cover letters in an upcoming column.)

    But Before It All

    Wait, you're thinking. Aren't we getting ahead of ourselves? Somewhat, yes. Before you seek markets and think about cover letters, you should have an idea or a whole story or article written first, right? Sometimes yes, sometimes not.

    But while we are on ideas, let's think about them. You have to have ideas in order to write anything. One of the wonderful things about being a young writer is that your minds work in more imaginative ways than adult writers.

    Though adults can still have great ideas for some wild tales, young writers seem to ask WHY more often, which leads to many wonderful stories. For instance, you may see smoke and think about 101 reasons why there's smoke. Many adults will see smoke and instantly think there's a fire and leave it at that. You have the ability to expand on the more simple ideas that adults often look over.

    So with that in mind, keep your eyes open and your mind free for the many possibilities that await you as you dive deeper into writing. Ideas are everywhere and the more you look, the more you will find.

    With an open mind, you will see storylines and plot ideas in everything. No more will a leaf falling from a tree just be that -- it will now represent the theme in a poem, or what a character saw as they moved through their day in your story.

    Tune In Next Time

    As we said, this first column was more of an introduction than anything. We wish to give you some food for thought today and a preview of what is to come. Next month, we will begin at the beginning -- ideas, grammar and all the fun therein.

    Between Now and Then ...

    Visit the following sites for more writing advice for young writers:

    • Rainy Day Corner
      Published and Owned by Linda Dupie
      Publishes writing and artwork by young writers and artists

    • The Writing Child
      Published and Owned by Angela and Scott
      Publishes work by young writers.

      Copyright © 2001 Angela Giles Klocke and Scott D. Warren

      Scott is Angela's teenage son. He has won several various writing awards. He maintains a straight-A average and when not doing schoolwork, he can be found with either a book or his AlphaSmart. Scott constantly dreams up new stories and shares them with his family as well as seeks publication. He has been published in Rainy Day Corner as well as a newspaper in Florida, The Williston Pioneer.

      Angela has been writing since she was a child herself. Her passion for helping other young writers is what has led her to co-authoring this column with her own young writer, Scott. One of Angela's earliest works, a poem, was finally published when she was 18, though it was written at age 11.

      The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

      WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

      Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

      For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper


    The Web
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    Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    Creative Nurturing of the Writer Within

    6 Approaches to Journaling

    21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Muse

    Imagery in Writing


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    The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publishers Won't by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

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