Professional advice on writing for a living from published award winning authors

Are you dreaming of becoming a freelance writer or published author? Find tips and advice here.
Are you dreaming of becoming a freelance writer or published author? Find tips and advice here.

Professional writing advice from published authors

Have you ever dreamed of a day when you would get your writing professionally published? Some of us have the desire to write a novel or publish poetry, others want to contribute articles to magazines, while some want the life of a freelance writer and take what work comes their long as they get to write.

I think anyone who writes... just because they love to write... has had the fantasy of "living the life" of a professional writer and author at some point in their lives. The idea of getting paid to write may seem like a dream come true. The question is how do you start?

When I first started writing, the entire process was a complete mystery. After all, where do you start? What is the publishing process ? What are the steps to finding work as a freelance writer? How do you go about submitting an article to a magazine? Do you have to have a formal education to write?

These were many of the questions I had in the beginning. Some of them have more concrete answers than others. For instance, education...what kind of education do you need in order to write professionally?

Authors have a range of education from drop outs, to PHDs. If you are writing a fictional book, most people do not ask for your credentials. If you are writing a "how to" type of book or article, having the education and experience to back it up is important. After all, who wants advice from a doctor who isn't a medical doctor (other than "doctor" Laura-- Her PhD is in physiology -- a degree which has nothing to do with human interpersonal relations...go figure).

Finding writing jobs

How do you find work as a professional writer? Do you want freelance work? Do you want to write on assignment or on spec? Do you want to be a ghost writer? Finding legitimate work these days is getting harder and harder especially for the freelance writer. The number of jobs that are showing up on job boards often read something like this:

"I have 3000 articles that need to be rewritten by end of the week. Pay is .20/500 words. If you cannot produce, do not bother bidding"

There are two facts I would like to point out about this kind of ad. First is the rate of pay. Twenty cents for a page of words is so ridiculous it is in the realm of absurd! Who can write for twenty cents? No one that I least not in the US.

The next fact is the word "rewrite". For the most part, what this means is plagiarizing (stealing) another authors work and "spinning" the article. There are even software programs that will do this. If you have a company who is hiring to do "rewrites", I would want to know what the origin of the articles are. After all, if their ethics allow them to steal work, how will they treat you? People who participate in this type of writing are hardly professional.

Finding legitimate work as a writeris very possible. It just takes a lot of wading through the junk sometimes to find the real deal. Never waste your time with "article pimps".

For the most part, writing professionally as a freelance writer, an author of novels, a magazine writer, or any other type of writing job is very possible if you have the talent. you just need to understand some of the ins and outs.

Publishing advice from professional writers

In my writing career, I began a segment on a column I write called "inside the Writers Life". In the column, I ask well known published authors (many award winning) twenty questions or so about their experience as a writer.

Hearing their answers, allows a new writer to have a deeper understanding of the publishing world and what it takes to become an author.Their insight is invaluable, and their answers are candid. This is an ongoing segment.

The best way to share this with all of my writer friends is to link it here:

Inside the Writers Life

Every week I have a new author to interview. I hope that their stories and insight will encourage you in your writing pursuits. Becoming a professional writer is easier once you have an understanding of what other published authors have gone through. Benefiting from their years of experience and hearing their best advice to writers will help you as you pursue your writing career.

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Comments 19 comments

creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

That was wonderful bayaregreatthing, i really enjoyed the information and advice. Godspeed. creativeone59

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Thanks Creative one! I hope it is encouragement to all who aspire to write!

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Oh , I so needed to read that. I've been thinking of giving up, what's the point? Yet I love writing but I just have to earn some money somehow.

Thanks for making me feel I can keep trying. profile image 6 years ago

I love your supportive and helpful approach Bayareagreatthing - if only there was more of this about!

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

dim- never give up...I think someone said that once :D Quitting guarantees failure. Ask me how I know this! We just keep persevering.

PDog- As always, your comments are so kind. I do appreciate you sharing this with me. I have found in my interviews with authors that there are a lot of really helpful people in the writing world...just keep looking for them... and if you step on a snake...shake it off... :D

gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

the only thing I value more than support is criticism. Thx. for looking out for all...gjf

webnatin 6 years ago

thanks for this tips.

webnatin 6 years ago

thanks for this tips

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

gjf- Thanks for stopping by! I am glad that it is helpful. That makes it all worthwhile!

WebN- You are welcome!! Thanks for reading.

drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 6 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

A very special hub this is!!! GREAT INFO~~~ Blessings! When you get a chance, come visit me! Much love!

vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

Well, it looks like you handed down this handy hub about four months ago. Where was I? I'm going to check out that link and thanks for the tips. Yes, I want to write and make a living at it, even at my ripe young age of almost 65. I have enjoyed writing here on hubpages. I'm pursuing some marketing projects for my book, including a book signing at the local Barnes & Noble. So I will be looking forward to reading what published writers have to offer. Thanks a paragraph or a page or thanks a whole book or bunch! for this hub Hey, you want to hear my standup routine? So what is a writer anywho? Is that someone who has to be right all the time? That would make my wife a writer! Do writers work with capital letters? Like ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? That would make my wife a writer. And the period stuff, I'l just skip over that for the time being. Are writers good at the use of very colorful adjectives and descriptions? Whoa! You should hear the adjectives and very colorful language she uses when describing me. I guess the more I reflect on this, she's the writer in the family! Thanks again. Hope you're laughing!

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

That is so funny vrbmft!! You will have to let me know how your book signing goes OK?

vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

I definitely will and thanks for leaving the comment on the therapy hub.

CarolineVABC profile image

CarolineVABC 5 years ago from Castaic

Thank you for the tips, Bayareagreatthing! I will definitely look into your link-Inside the Writers Life. Thanks for sharing. God bless!:-)

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 5 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Thanks Caroline for that! God bless you too!

AuniceReed profile image

AuniceReed 4 years ago from Southern California

This is an awesome hub! Lots of encouragement, which if you write, is needed quite a bit to keep going. This business can be something else. I can just hear Rodney Dangerfield saying, "I get no respect."

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 4 years ago from Bay Area California Author

I love writing for a living. I am glad you stopped by AuniceReed. It is always great to share the journey with another writer! We all need encouragement.

drmiddlebrook profile image

drmiddlebrook 4 years ago from Texas, USA

Good advice bayareagreatthing. I'm one of those professionals with all the writing credentials who is still struggling to make a living on my writing alone. It's not rocket science, but it's close! And you're right, there are so many charlatans out there today, especially on the Internet, trying to take advantage of people with skills, when they themselves don't even respect the skills enough to make a decent offer for using them. Seems to me they're looking for "smart idiots," if there is such a thing. Smart enough to do the work, but dumb enough to accept the pay. Thanks for the advice. Voted up.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 4 years ago from Bay Area California Author

It's a great life but it is hard to weed through to find legitimate paying jobs. I skip ODesk, elance, and sites like that. They are basically a bunch of junk assignments. Good luck in your endeavors!

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