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Small Fish Huge Pond?

Updated on February 17, 2012

Where to Use Your Writing Time

We all want to catch the big one, don't we? We strive for the huge, Great American Novel dream. We slave over our writing babies to see if we can wow the public with our creations. In non fiction, we work hard to give our readers the information for which they have come to our article or book. We crave the home run.

But how often does this happen? Can we count on getting the big break, landing the big one right at our feet with all the world watching? That's not the case for the vast majority of writers. There are far too many writers and not enough audience for everyone to become the next J. K. Rowlings.

Many of us run around our writing time like we're an explosion in progress, flying off in every conceivable direction, getting nothing of note accomplished. If we are fortunate, someone stops us and says, "Hey, aren't you spinning your wheels?"

At some point, a writer must decide on where to place his time. This decision will determine the course of his writing life. This is not to say he cannot change course, but a course is set nonetheless. Money often drives the decision making process. No matter where you begin, realize you are a small fish in a large, large ocean.

For example, if you choose to go the book route, you must understand that as of this moment, November 21, 2009, there are over six-and-one-half- million manuscripts looking for a publisher. This places your relevance much smaller than most writers wish to believe. Not that a book contract cannot or will not happen, it's just not too likely. Even if it does, you usually have a couple years before you see publication and money. This sounds discouraging. It's not meant to be. You should be aware of your reality though, before you take the leap.

Then there's the "writer's mills." A successful writer friend dubbed places like Ezine and Hub Pages and others as "writer's mills." The connotation here is that this is where writers go to write "easier" material. Money is often not real prevalent in these places, or so the writer friend says. They serve their purpose in many ways, but not as an income earner.

Then there's journalism and copywriting - two forms of writing that historically have income attached to them, much more in the latter than the former these days. Both are more 'dry' by nature.

Magazines and contests are no way to make a living unless you are talking trade magazines. The trades are doing very well right now, unlike mainstream magazines and newspapers. Contests are very difficult to win, and while entering is a great idea, you had better submit to many if you hope to make any money. The fees for entering will eat you up as well.

So where do you put your effort into writing time? That depends on the writer and the needs. If it's income you must have, and time is a factor, the trade magazines are most likely the best bet. If you're a gambler, have a day (or night) job and can wait for your novel ship to come in, then by all means put your time in there.

Copywriting is lucrative for a go-getter. If this is something you might like to do, there's money all over the place for good copywriters. If you're going to write the blogs and article depositories, volume is key. This is not a one-a-week deal, As many as you can churn out is how many you should write daily. They need to be interesting as well. You cannot write vanilla pieces and expect people to read. That's true of all the categories, but in the blogs and article depositories, there is no one telling you your writing is too plain-Jane. The only way you'll know is by your number of views.

Screenplay writing is another category. There are many, many areas you can pursue. Technical writing is another. As a writer you can get too many irons going and get nothing done, especially financially, so focus is key.

Pursue your passion based on your financial needs. Size up your market and pursue it. Establish yourself before you go hopping all over the place. Once you're established in one market, then you can branch out, returning to your base market as needed or desired. This is one of the beauties of writing - diversity. Using your writing time wisely and with a plan is more important than most anything else.

Just remember, wherever you go, when you begin, you will be a small fish in a very large sea of writers. Focus and play to your strengths. Establish yourself in a base market, then and only then, move into another. Attacking all the markets at once will destroy you.


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