Can I be a professional writer?

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  1. jenwat0405 profile image60
    jenwat0405posted 12 years ago

    I have asked for critcism in the past and have recieved some on the visual aspects of my articles, but I would really like to know if my articles are of good quality.  I would like to begin applying for freelance writing positions but I want to know if I have what it takes to make it.
    I don't want to be like the people that audition on American Idol thinking they can sing and in reality they can't.
    Please read my hubs and critisize them harshly...I need it and I can take and I want it.

    Thank you everyone! … ans-battle … e-tornados … evelopment

  2. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 12 years ago

    You have a good grasp of topic and your writing does not have many technical errors. However it does not have some of the qualities seen in the work of a professional freelancer (in my experience).

    For example, a clear hook, a clear angle, control of mode and tone.  Also your are using pictures that are under copyright, at least one with a huge copyright symbol on it.

    Before seeking paid jobs I would suggest that you write some samples that display the ability to write to a brief and for a specific audience.  For example: a product review for the target market of the product, an opinion piece taking a strong stand on a topical issue, an article giving specific advice to parents about how to handle a certain common problem.

    Just my 2c.

    1. jenwat0405 profile image60
      jenwat0405posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for your 2 cents!  I am glad to have your I said I need it.  I am not good at critiquing my own work.
      I did not notice the big copy write symbol and I got all of those from Google Images...go figure.

      1. Randy Godwin profile image60
        Randy Godwinposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Many Google images are copyrighted.  Don't use them without the owner's permission.  smile

  3. Urbane Chaos profile image91
    Urbane Chaosposted 12 years ago

    Can you be a professional writer?  Yes.  Are you there? Not yet, there's still work to be done.

    Don't get me wrong, you are a good writer, but in a highly competitive marketing, you need to be more than good.

    I'm going to agree with Psy here..

    First, right off the bat, I found misspelled words and copyright infringement; not a good start for someone who desires to be a professional.  90% of the writing process is editing.

    Second, the hook is probably one of the most essential parts of an article.  This is what draws the readers in and keeps them reading.  A couple articles had "semi"-hooks, while others had none.  If you haven't caught the readers attention within the first couple sentences, the reader won't continue.  Don't tell me that you're going to tell me a story, just tell it.  Better yet, show the story - get the reader involved, make them feel as if they are actually within the story.  A good hook is the key to this.

    In "A Girly Girl's Guide to Fishing" the beginning actually starts here: "The day began like any other..."  For some reason, when I read that, images of "It was a dark and stormy night" appear.  In other words, jump right into the action: "The boat swerved wildly around the bend, jerking the rope taut as she held on for dear life.  The inflatable tube she clung to..."  Not the best example, but it illustrates the point. 

    The best suggestion that I have is to do as much research on writing as you can.  I believe that you have a good foundation, but there's still a lot that needs to be worked on.  Focus on POV, Voice, Hooks, and article flow.  I would recommend getting two books: The Elements of Style by William Strunk and Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain.  Those two books should give you a great basis for becoming a professional writer.  There's a lot of books I could recommend, but I'll leave it at those two for now.

    The most important thing though is this: Keep Writing.  Join a writers critique group, get books from the library, do online research - the more you practice the better you'll get.

    If you want to be a professional writer, then you can.  It just takes a lot of research and dedication.

    Hopefully this helps somewhat.. Good luck!

    1. jenwat0405 profile image60
      jenwat0405posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you!  That helps alot.  I know about hooks and I do not know why I didn't do that here.  I am going to tweek my current articles and continue writing.
      Thank you for the book recommendations I will look into them!

      1. jenwat0405 profile image60
        jenwat0405posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I went back to my hubs and created a "hook" for them.  Will you please go back and see if that makes them a little better?

        1. Urbane Chaos profile image91
          Urbane Chaosposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Since I looked at your hub "A Girly Girl's Guide to Fishing" earlier, I'll stay with that one..

          But first, a question: What type of professional writing are you interested in?  Writing styles depend a lot on who the end reader is.  If you're writing solely for web content, your main focus should be on SEO and readability.  If you're looking to work as a freelance writer for print media, then that's a whole different animal.  When most people mention writing professionally, I assume that they mean they want to write print media - meaning either magazine articles, newspaper reports, books, etc.

          Then, that brings up another group of questions: Fiction or non-fiction? What type of media outlet are you pursuing? So on and so forth..

          But, back to your hub - and again, I'm assuming that your speaking of print media.  If your looking to be a professional self-published online writer (Hubs, blogs, etc) then you can ignore everything said here and instead focus on learning about SEO, keywords, etc.  There's a ton of resources here on HubPages that covers that a lot better than I ever could.

          Your hook is much better.  This is the line that caught my attention: "They never expect it to become a terrifying experience that can forever change the future."  That in itself made me want to read further.  It made me ask questions, "What happened?" "Why would being in the water be a terrifying experience?"  In essence, it pushed me further through the story. More than that, it got me interested within the first few sentences - which again, is extremely important.

          I skimmed through the other hubs you listed as well.  Some of the hooks were better, but others still need a little work.  90% of good writing is editing.  Sometimes, when I get an especially important contract, I'll rewrite an entire article several times before I'm happy with it.  In fact, I don't think I've ever written a good hook the first time around.  Typically, I'll leave that for last, since that really sets the tone for the rest of the article. 

          On hooks, take a look at this article: A Hook for Every Book  Writers Digest has always been a great resource for writers.  If you're strongly interested in professional writing, I'd look around that site a bit.

          Again, double check your grammar and spelling - these are especially important.  For example,  is "Girls can to fish!!" meant to be "Girls can too fish!!"?  It's something that may get by a spellchecker, but it's extremely important to double check that.

          The article, as a whole, is interesting and relevant.  There were a couple touches of humor that I really liked, and that adds a more personal touch to things, which readers respond well to.

          One of the hallmarks of a professional writer is their ability to fully pull a reader into the story/article.  The old adage, "Show, don't tell" still rings true.  Throughout your article, there are several areas where you're telling me a story instead of pulling me into it.  This is, at least it was for me, one of the hardest things to overcome.  Dwight V. Swain's book that I mentioned earlier explains a lot of how to overcome this.  It's very formulaic, but once you understand the principle then you can adapt it to your writing style.  I searched around earlier to see if I could find any information on anything he talks about and came across this: The MRU.  I'll let the site explain it, as it would take too much space to do it here, but this technique can be used anytime you want to pull a reader in, or "show", them the story.

          Finally, I also came across this: The Inverted Pyramid.  For article writing, this is almost the perfect structure to use.  Actually, USA Today has structured their entire newspaper around this method.  That article only gives a brief overview of how it works, but you can get the general idea.  There's a book called "News Reporting and Writing" by The Missouri Group that really goes into depth on article creation and different methods that can be used.  It's an older book, but well worth it.  I believe that all of the books I mentioned can be found at the library - if not, they may be able to order them for you.

          I think you're on the right track.  I believe you really have the potential to be a great writer!  Hopefully some of these resources will help you out on your way.  Good luck!

          1. jenwat0405 profile image60
            jenwat0405posted 12 years agoin reply to this

            I would like to be a print writer.  Honestly, I would like to be the next Dear Abby...I know, a far stretch right?  I would also like to write novels, I started one a few years ago but have not finished it.  I think I am afraid to. If I finish it and noone likes it, then I wasted time right?
            I really enjoy writing and would love to be able to earn some money doing what I love.
            I am going to the library in a few minutes to find those books...hopefully they have them.
            Thank you for taking the time to help me, I greatly apprceiate it!

  4. Trish_M profile image79
    Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

    Hi smile

    Have a look at Wikipedia (Wikimedia Commons) for images ~ many are in the public domain ~ but do check on restrictions before using them.

    There are some good books on writing technique ~ have a look on Amazon, because you can actually 'look inside' some of them, to see if they are what you need smile

    Good luck smile

  5. Trish_M profile image79
    Trish_Mposted 12 years ago


    It doesn't feel right, somehow, critiquing the work of others, but I'll add some of my thoughts ...

    'Wounds that heal - A real man's battle'

    I enjoyed reading your work, but, as others have mentioned, there is always room for improvement ~ even among professionals!

    There are a few sentences that I noticed:

    1). 'His mother was a divorced mother with one daughter. She is an alcoholic and heavy smoker. The man, Tim, was born on time, but very small ....'

    Changing tenses, mid-paragraph, feels a little uncomfortable for the reader. I understand that, throughout the period described, and up to the present, this woman WAS and IS an alcoholic, but perhaps there is a different way of presenting this information?

    Also, it is not advisable to repeat words within a sentence, unless it is done, very carefully, for effect.

    Would this be an improvement?

    'His mother, an alcoholic and heavy smoker, was divorced with one daughter. The man, Tim, was born on time but very small ....'


    2). 'She entered into a relationship with a hateful man, and this is where the majority of his wounds are inflicted.'

    Would it sound better, if you were to put:

    'She entered into a relationship with a hateful man, and this WAS WHEN the majority of his wounds WERE inflicted.'


    I also feel that, when referring to people, 'who' is better than 'that':

    3). 'There once was a boy that loved like any other.'

    I prefer:

    There once was a boy, who loved like any other.

    What do you think? smile

    1. jenwat0405 profile image60
      jenwat0405posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I agree your revisions work better.  When I wrote them I did so in one setting and have not been back over them to fix anything.  However, even if I would have I probably would not have noticed that.  I am terrible at revising my own work...I know what it says in my head and it is hard for me to step outside of that box and view it objectively. 
      Thank you for your advice and tips!

  6. Trish_M profile image79
    Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

    I have read that one should leave a piece of work for a few days, before re-reading it, if one wishes to see it objectively smile

    1. jenwat0405 profile image60
      jenwat0405posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Good idea!  Thanks!

  7. jenwat0405 profile image60
    jenwat0405posted 12 years ago

    I won the Hubnugget Award for my article "A Girly Girl's Guide to Fishing"!!
    Thank you everyone for your feedback, I know because of your feedback I was able to change my article to become winning material!

    1. Urbane Chaos profile image91
      Urbane Chaosposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Awesome! And Congrats! big_smile

    2. Trish_M profile image79
      Trish_Mposted 12 years agoin reply to this


  8. jenwat0405 profile image60
    jenwat0405posted 12 years ago

    Thanks everyone!

  9. jenwat0405 profile image60
    jenwat0405posted 12 years ago

    I am sooo excited!  I sent query letters off to local newspapers asking about doing an advice column for them.  I heard back from a big one around here and they want to see more of my work.  I emailed him back with copies of some of my work and then mispelled the city the paper is in!  I was so excited that I didn't pay attention.  I hope it doesn't affect my chances.
    Hopefully I am on my way to being a Pro writer after all...


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