Community Discussion: Full-Time Writers

Source: http://forumcash.com

Editor’s Note: this post has been written by Steve Papesh, an Education major and Chinese minor at Lewis University. Steve is interning with the Jet Fuel Review this semester and will be contributing blog posts periodically.

For many beginning writers, the fantasy of being able to write full time is simply a daydream that we turn between dealing with our boss and avoiding work. How is it that professional writers are able to make that seemingly impossible leap from part time muser to full time author?

According to Grant McDuling, who has been writing since the 1960s, there are seven general rules that must be followed if you want to become a professional writer.  The first step in McDuling’s seven point plan calls for you to take control of your life. Whether you want to change jobs, resume your education, or say to hell with it all and live life as a penniless beggar you need to be able to find what it is that you want to do, and then pursue that path.

McDuling’s next point is a much simpler one. The second point that McDuling preaches is to have the right attitude. If you believe that you are a real writer, then the rest will follow. You cannot just say that you are a writer though. In order to be a professional writer, you need to actually practice writing.

Once you have done some writing, the next point that McDuling advocates is to market your writing. According to McDuling, about half of your time should be spent on promoting your work. After all, it does not matter how good your writing is if no one has ever seen it.

Organization is another major point that McDuling emphasizes for the aspiring writer. You need to set up regular writing practices in order to effectively produce your work. This may sound a bit less romantic than the vision that many people have of the spontaneous creation of the professional writer, but if writing is your lively hood, then you need to be able to produce in order to avoid starving and winding up homeless.

It is in this vein of practicality that McDuling also states that a professional writer should know what it is that editors are looking for. Writers need to know their audience and be able to meet deadlines just like any other person who has a professional career.

Finally, McDuling reminds writers that, in order to be a professional, you need to be able to deal with the minor problems of everyday life including procrastination, lack of motivation, and, of course, writer’s block. It is not any easier to make the transition from part time to full time writer than it is to start up a small business, and you also need to be able to handle the issues that will come with that. The growing pains that come with becoming a professional writer could be enough to send many new writers back into the more conventional job market, but if you follow these seven points and prepare yourself for a rough transition, it is possible that you can become a professional writer.

— Steve Papesh

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Discussion: Pigeon-Holed Writers

Source: http://terryodell.blogspot.com

Editor’s Note: this post has been written by Steve Papesh, an Education major and Chinese minor at Lewis University. Steve is interning with the Jet Fuel Review this semester and will be contributing blog posts periodically.

As writers, it is easy to find ourselves pigeon-holed into a certain type of writing. It is easy to let a bit of positive reinforcement lull us into repeating our work over and over, rather than branching out and growing. This limiting of our writing can manifest itself in many ways. For instance, if a teacher told me that they liked my use of “for instance” as a transition, then it would be all too easy for me to begin to overuse that phrase because I believe that it is what people want me to sound like.

Another way in which we can become static in our writing could be by only writing in a specific genre because we have been told that we are good at it. I, for one, find that much of my writing is humorous and surreal but, if a writer only ever writes in one genre, it is possible that they could miss out on discovering a new area or genre to explore.

It is with this idea in mind that I began to purposely force myself to write in other genres, but the sudden change was not at all easy. When going to get feedback on a realism piece, I found that many people who had read my work before suggested that I go back to writing in a surreal manner. This push from my peers to return to a genre that I was more comfortable with was in a way justified, as the piece that I wrote was reminiscent of “a straight to DVD American Pie movie” as one of my more honest classmates put it. But I do believe that, by continuing to practice my realistic writing, I have not only improved as a writer, but I have also found a different genre of writing that I enjoy working in.

Do you find yourself being pigeon-holed as a writer? What genre do you consider to be your best?

— Steve Papesh

Research for Writing: A Cautionary Tale

Image source: http://researchwriters.co.uk

A quick note about commenting: If you click the little number in the talk-balloon button at the top right of this entry, you can comment very easily on what you see here. We’d love to see some comments begin to pour in as that will help us grow our community!

Editor’s Note: this post has been written by Steve Papesh, an Education major and Chinese minor at Lewis University. Steve is interning with the Jet Fuel Review this semester and will be contributing blog posts periodically.

Research for Writing

If you write a piece that has a gun in it, wouldn’t it be a good idea to know something about guns?

If there is one thing that I have learned as an English student, it is that writers need to be very cautious about what they put into their writing, because, apparently, readers are going to dissect every tiny aspect your writing looking for some sort of subtext.

If you write a murder mystery, and have your protagonist holding a Lugar rather than a Colt 45, you need to be aware that someone reading that piece might decide that you are actually writing Nazi propaganda.

Once in a creative writing class I was asked to write a poem from the persona of a ballerina from Broadway who could no longer dance. Like many guys, I did not know anything about ballet so when I was asked to write from this persona I was none too happy. I spent hours studying terminology, different ballets, and anything else I could find to help me understand what ballet is all about. Even though the persona was alien to me, I believe that the poem I wrote was at least believable. I may never try to publish the poem that I wrote, but I may be able to apply what I learned to another piece that I write.

Who knows when it will be useful to know something about what a pas de deux is or what the effects of a torn ACL ligament are. Research helps us broaden our horizons as people and subsequently as writers.

— Steve Papesh

Avoiding Writing: A Satirical Piece

Image source: http://karenshanley.com

A quick note about commenting: If you click the little number in the talk-balloon button at the top right of this entry, you can comment very easily on what you see here. We’d love to see some comments begin to pour in as that will help us grow our community!

Editor’s Note: this post has been written by Steve Papesh, an Education major and Chinese minor at Lewis University. Steve is interning with the Jet Fuel Review this semester and will be contributing blog posts periodically.

Avoiding Writing

Writing assignments can be difficult, especially when given no prompt other than write about something you care about. But wait, what if you simply don’t care about anything? Yes, today’s nihilist receives too little consideration. So, what is one to do if one finds themselves in a position where they are told to write something? The answer is simple: run away. Listed below are my top five methods for avoiding work.

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