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  #1  
Old 14th August 2007
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Default question for writers

this is for any of you who are writers by profession - how do you get started? i've always enjoyed creative writing as a hobby and had some of my own work published - however if it wasn't terribly inappropriate humor, it was of the dry legal variety. many columnists and other types of authors have undergraduate or grad degrees in english or journalism but are these degrees really necessary to make it as a writer for this type of commercial work? even for more minimal work - like writing storylines for video games - it seems that a degree in these fields is necessary to even have a secondary look at your resume. for someone who is from an unrelated background, how can you get started?
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Old 14th August 2007
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Jezzadee is a writer. He's Da Man to ask .....
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  #3  
Old 14th August 2007
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didn't know he's the only one here. perhaps better left as a PM.
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Old 14th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blixahaha
didn't know he's the only one here. perhaps better left as a PM.
That would make his day, especially if you add one of your pictures
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  #5  
Old 14th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blixahaha
this is for any of you who are writers by profession - how do you get started? i've always enjoyed creative writing as a hobby and had some of my own work published - however if it wasn't terribly inappropriate humor, it was of the dry legal variety. many columnists and other types of authors have undergraduate or grad degrees in english or journalism but are these degrees really necessary to make it as a writer for this type of commercial work? even for more minimal work - like writing storylines for video games - it seems that a degree in these fields is necessary to even have a secondary look at your resume. for someone who is from an unrelated background, how can you get started?

I know writers with math degrees, and others with economics degrees. I know some who were doctoral candidates in various disciplines, and others without college degrees at all.

There's no real formula, but you're right to say that an undergraduate degree in English or journalism is a way to get a resume from an immediate deposit in the round file.

Honestly, the best way to break into writing is to write. Write online, or for print, or for tv, or video games, or blog, or for any venue possible. Develop a voice, accumulate clips and get as much experience in as many ways as you can...then present a potential employer with a body of work that showcases your talent.
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Old 14th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris 9-5
That would make his day, especially if you add one of your pictures
Jealousy will get you every where..

Let me know if its true ... what they say
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  #7  
Old 14th August 2007
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I'm a writer, but if I have to give a job description I usually put travel editor because that's the field I work in.

Many writers have some kind of journalistic qualification, like the NUJ. You don't need a degree - I don't have one - but as usual it helps to get people reading your CV/resume at the initial application stage. After that it's meaningless, although the larger or more corporate the company the more likely you are to need one. Most people are more interested in your samples - what you've had published. If you've already had some of your work appear in print then basically you know how to get into it. You just aim for progressively larger audiences or bigger publications.

The way I got into it was by approaching a local travel company and offering to make their published materials more effective. I did that by proofreading, redesigning layouts and rewriting sections of text. It grew from there, and after a while I was doing articles on a range of places for them which were used as advertorials. I left and joined a bigger company as the editor. The new company had a large marketing department with lots of contacts in the travel publishing industry. They got me writing for a variety of different magazines, so now several editors know who I am, which always helps.

You can also try the freelance route, which is what I'm now doing. Submit an article to a magazine that you think will be interested. Obviously if that magazine knows who you are that's a major advantage, which is why it can help using a tame marketing department initially. One I've done things for in the past is Wanderlust, which is a large travel mag in the UK. Have a look at their guidelines for authors to get an idea of what's involved. You need to do your research, pick a likely subject, write in the style they require and be prepared to wait for months before they publish it, if at all.

It isn't easy to break into writing as a career because there are no set guidelines, and not many regular salaries either. The percentage of people who end up making a living from writing is tiny compared to the number who don't get published, but that's not to say you shouldn't bother trying. If you know you can write and you are persistent, just keep writing stuff and sending it out to publishers. Sooner or later someone will recognise it for what it is and you'll end up in print.
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Old 14th August 2007
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You can email the picture if you prefer
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Old 14th August 2007
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As a caveat, the average salary of all writers combined is likely in the 1-5000 a year. In general it doesn't pay.
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Old 14th August 2007
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Regardless of whether a writer has journalism background/education/credentials, I like a writer based purely on his/her style. And I generally like contemporary non-fiction writers who write books or editorials I find pertinent to our modern life and values. A few books I like that are sitting on my bedside table are by Anna Quindlen and Peter Mayle.
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  #11  
Old 14th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezzadee
You can email the picture if you prefer
lol
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  #12  
Old 14th August 2007
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thanks guys for the great tips. looks like i need to write a lot more - shorter stuff and in the voice of what's desired, at least for commercial work. that's the tricky part. if i'm not writing research papers, i'm writing nonsensical drivel and unfortunately those types of work are the only samples i have, so broadening the collection is the next task. trickier than it sounds, esp since i get so fixated on writing on certain topics that it's hard to think about something else. and working full time also saps the creativity. i have a tremendous amount of respect for those writers who stick with it - for the miniscule amount of pay, this is such a personal experience - you're putting yourself out on paper for the public to analyze and criticize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaabKen
Regardless of whether a writer has journalism background/education/credentials, I like a writer based purely on his/her style. And I generally like contemporary non-fiction writers who write books or editorials I find pertinent to our modern life and values. A few books I like that are sitting on my bedside table are by Anna Quindlen and Peter Mayle.
ah yes contemporary non-fiction, that's the aisle i avoid. i'm all about escapism - i experience too much reality to have to endure reading about it as entertainment!

jezz already knows where i keep all my pics. if someone starts another ugly mug thread, i'll make a contribution.
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Old 14th August 2007
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For someone with my marginal writing talent, a journalism degree was essential. The course itself was 2/3 waste of time and 1/3 useful but it got my foot in the door. I'm a lazy sod, however: if you work (and schmooze) hard enough I'm sure you can get there without the qualifications.
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Old 14th August 2007
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read read read. that's what my professor told me before.
and maybe you can blog to start and join online contests, there are a lot.
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Old 14th August 2007
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Yup, there sure were a lot of ugly mugs in that thread !

Quote:
Originally Posted by blixahaha
jezz already knows where i keep all my pics. if someone starts another ugly mug thread, i'll make a contribution.
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  #16  
Old 15th August 2007
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One thing I found useful in my late 20s was to jot down everything that loomed up as an inspiration in my restless mind. It didn't matter where I was, in a coffee shop, on the beach or on the bus. I would simply let my imagination run a riot and I took down whatever seemed like an idea capable of spawning a story or an interesting piece of writing (Unfortunately I don't even have the time to do this anymore). Of course I never became a writer by profession, but I never intended to either. I used to write short stories, simply because I enjoyed it.

And I agree with what was said above. Write as much as you can. This will get you somewhere eventually.
Just my 0.2$.

Good luck!
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Old 15th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd stone from the sun
One thing I found useful in my late 20s was to jot down everything that loomed up as an inspiration in my restless mind. It didn't matter where I was, in a coffee shop, on the beach or on the bus. I would simply let my imagination run a riot and I took down whatever seemed like an idea capable of spawning a story or an interesting piece of writing (Unfortunately I don't even have the time to do this anymore). Of course I never became a writer by profession, but I never intended to either. I used to write short stories, simply because I enjoyed it.

And I agree with what was said above. Write as much as you can. This will get you somewhere eventually.
Just my 0.2$.

Good luck!
yep i also jot down random thoughts whenever i can. i have a story i've been working on for 15 years and it's just comprised of a jumble of unconnected text. i'm praying for the day when a plot will dawn on me.

i need to read more, a lot more. i'm kind of unemotional so it's hard for my characters in creative stuff and myself in more conventional works to come off as convincing normal people. so i've been trying to see how other writers convey feelings and experiences and reactions, and the like. i don't want to adopt someone else's style but i want to be able to relate. guess i also have to live and experience more of life to best demonstrate what i'm trying to do.
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Last edited by TurboBlix; 15th August 2007 at 10:49 AM.
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  #18  
Old 15th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blixahaha
i have a story i've been working on for 15 years and it's just comprised of a jumble of unconnected text. i'm praying for the day when a plot will dawn on me.
That sounds like "life",I have been working on mine for over 40 years and comprises of a jumble of unconnected moments, memories and misjudgements. I too am praying for the day when the answer to the question "what's the bloody point" will dawn upon me
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  #19  
Old 15th August 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris 9-5
.......... comprises of a jumble of unconnected moments, memories and misjudgements.
Now now, don't be so hard on SaabCentral forums
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  #20  
Old 16th August 2007
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yeah, i agree mr. mike saunders here-- just write. bring a journal or a pda or a hip pda or just something to write on. writing ideas come mostly on odd places and times (well, at least for me!) so i have to get ahead and write it down. then when i have a day or two which i could devote to writing-- thats when i get my journal out, filled with ideas, quotes and character dialogues.
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