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I want to be a writer: How can I stand out? Watch

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    (Original post by i.student)
    ebook? u dont even need a publisher.
    just get it out there and see what happens.
    I have used the self-publishing website Lulu.com, which makes work available to buy online as books and ebooks and some of my stuff is on there, but the fact that it is available doesn't mean that people will buy it and, even if they did, it wouldn't generate a lot of money. I will soon be uploading revised editions, after which I have to order proof-copies, which I can then confirm, after which they will be available. Once these are online, I will distribute the Lulu.com link to my friends in the hope that it might be passed on virally. A few people have promised to buy them, but one or two sales to close friends doens't really count as a career move. I plan to take copies to my university interviews so that they might act as a portfolio of sorts. As you are suggesting, I'm hoping that this will put me out there where people can see me, hopefully some thoughtful friends might suggest me if someone asks for a recommendation, but I know that this alone will not be enough to reach the fullest extent of my goals. I need something that makes me different and that puts me in the spotlight and so far nothing I've done had elicited any real response from anyone too far outside my immediate circle of people.

    However, your post has reinforced the confidence I have in what I have done so far, so thank you for that. I will, of course, persevere with this method while I continue to search for others.
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    (Original post by Doke)
    [COLOR="Purple"]Of course! I don't expect it to be easy, and I'm sure that every response comes from a good place. I just thought that any advice that anyone could offer might help me a little more and I hoped that appealing to a large number of people might strike someone who knows their stuff. I know that I will have to fight to reach the point that I might make some a living, or even a little money, out of my passion, if I ever do. I hope that the sooner that I put myself out there, the better. I do not expect it to happen overnight and I do not expect it to happen soon, I just want to do everything I can to pull myself closer to the goals I have tried to set for myself. I was always encrouaged to aim big and I want to push for everything that I've been told could be possible.[/COLOR]
    You could always submit it as an ebook, which I think has been mentioned.

    It might not seem like a big break but I know that Amazon discussions has aspiring writers on there so you could have a look there. Maybe look into making a short story for Kindle and see where that goes?
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    (Original post by Doke)
    My main aspiration in life is to be a professional writer, hopefully at a good enough level that I might earn a decent income from my efforts. As far as education and personal involvement goes, I believe that I am heading in the right direction and, hopefully, am not doing anything to detract from my goals. I am taking subjects that I have been informed are relevant (aside from the obvious English Language and Literature, I am also studying Media Studies and Philosophy and Ethics) and I am applying in 2011 to study Creative Writing at a number of universities that, after much research, I have determined to have courses suited to my tastes in the area. I write a lot in my free time to hone my skills so that if the time comes that I might offer my work professionally, I will have developed my talent to an appropriate level. I mostly write fiction and have made considerable advances over the past decade in my abilities in terms of style and detail. I hope that I will be able to one day earn a living from this as it is something that I love and do so very much.

    However, I am aware to the point of crippling fear that the entertainment industry is very competitive and, if anyone can help me, I would like to have some idea of more ways in which I can be noticed as a writer. I know fully that writing alone when all of my work stays on my memory stick where no one will see it will never be particularly fruitful, no matter how much I practice or how good (or otherwise ) my work might be.

    I have been advised that I should write a blog, and I am in the process of looking into this option, but the vast number of blogging sites available make it hugely confusing. I want to stand out and not just be another random blogger with no readers.

    Realistically, what can I do to make me stand out more? Is there anything I can do to catch the attention of people who can really make a difference for me in this regard?

    Thank you in advance for any help you have to offer, as well as apologies for my long-winded request. I just like to make sure I've covered everything that I do not cause confusion.

    Doke x

    P.S., I am aware that this thread is also in another part of the website, but I accidentally posted it in the wrong area and will not try to make any excuses for my mistake.

    1. Make sure you have a back-up plan involving a career you're interested in. As much as I'd love to be writer, I'm going to study forensics because I'm really interested in it.

    2. Read a lot, in every single genre you can get your hands on. You might not feel all that interested in a genre, but once you start reading you could think 'hey, I could write in this genre easily, and I'd love doing it.'

    3. The more styles of writing, the better. Not only will you see a lot of writing, you'll also have more to develop your style from. Don't try and mimic a writer just because they're successful.

    4. Write a lot. Even if it's just a short paragraph, you never know when it's going to come in useful. Write dialogue and descriptive pieces.

    5. Complete something before going after an agent: a lot of them don't take on someone unless they have something completed.

    6. Get critique, and don't be afraid to tell people to be tough, but tell them to be constructive. Try online groups or Livejournal (you could also have a journal on LJ).
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    The first thing you need to work out is what kind of writing you want to - initially - do. Saying "I want to be a writer" is like saying "I want to be famous". It's neither here nor there.

    Once you've picked your favoured field (be that because it's the one you want to work in, are passionate about or, simply, think there's more chance of getting paid work in, then you have to become very, very proficient at writing. Really churn it out. The path from brain to book is a long and arduous one. You have to become skilled at distilling your thoughts onto paper (or indeed screen...).

    And these test works should likely never see the light of day. You want to, you need to, refine your writing style, discover your natural prose and start to iron out your bad habits. Do you use the Oxford comma? Are you hyphen happy?

    You then have to develop a very thick skin. When you start trying to get noticed you'll likely be ignored by magazines, editors, writers and publishers. Why? We get lots and lots of prospective submissions which are high in enthusiasm and low in quality or, in some cases, reality.

    If you're really lucky someone will read your work and offer some constructive criticism. Lap up every word of it. Everything that anyone ever advises you to do has the potential to make you a better writer. Use it. You need a thick skin and a small ego.

    Once you've honed your skills and really, really stuck at it, it's time to try and get noticed. Write letters to magazined for publication, offer short stories and submissions which you've created yourself. Never, ever write and ask 'can I write for you?'. Always create something and say 'I've written this for you.'

    Eventually, if you're very lucky, you'll catch somebody's eye and they'll decide to take a risk with you and give you a commission or a bit of work experience or simply their patronage.

    A journalism degree, indeed, any kind of degree is absolutely not a requirement. A natural flair with words, affinity with the English language, willingness to work for pitiful wages and work very, very late (sometimes you'll get Chinese food if you do, mind...) especially on press day.

    Never give up, never stop trying. There are fewer journalists in the UK than there are professional footballers (both careers have 'leagues', funnily enough...) and every single job and freelance penny is hotly contested. If you don't try hard, you won't make it.

    Sorry I can't give you a fluffy, shiny-happy response, but I'd be doing you a disservice.

    I say all this as a self-made journalist, no degree, who's travelled the world, worked for major publishers as well as been a full-time freelance writer and been published in close to ten countries worldwide. I'm offering you my hard-earned experience - if it helps you, and I hope it does, then you can buy me a drink when you get your first piece published!

    P.S. Oh, for the love of all things sacred and hold, never, ever start a blog. Nothing winds up journalists and wordsmiths more than the proprietors of half-baked internet sites and blogs calling themselves 'writers'. Wait 'til you've made a name then make a web log, it almost never happens the other way around...
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    write a very short story.
    mainstream and accessible one.
    and put it out there and see what happens.
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    By not writing big blocks of texts which lazy people like me just cannot be bothered to read
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    (Original post by Bella_Gail)
    1. Make sure you have a back-up plan involving a career you're interested in. As much as I'd love to be writer, I'm going to study forensics because I'm really interested in it.

    2. Read a lot, in every single genre you can get your hands on. You might not feel all that interested in a genre, but once you start reading you could think 'hey, I could write in this genre easily, and I'd love doing it.'

    3. The more styles of writing, the better. Not only will you see a lot of writing, you'll also have more to develop your style from. Don't try and mimic a writer just because they're successful.

    4. Write a lot. Even if it's just a short paragraph, you never know when it's going to come in useful. Write dialogue and descriptive pieces.

    5. Complete something before going after an agent: a lot of them don't take on someone unless they have something completed.

    6. Get critique, and don't be afraid to tell people to be tough, but tell them to be constructive. Try online groups or Livejournal (you could also have a journal on LJ).
    Thank you, I am doing all of these things. I am struggling with finding an agent as opposed to completing work beforehand. Agents tend to be beyond my rather modest price range, I fear. I have a professional critique, but it was less helpful than I had hoped, practically all it did was say "this bit's nice" and not make any real comments, so I have looked elsewhere, but again the ones that seem most qualified to help me are expensive. But thank you, this is very encouraging! =D
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    (Original post by Miraclefish)
    The first thing you need to work out is what kind of writing you want to - initially - do. Saying "I want to be a writer" is like saying "I want to be famous". It's neither here nor there.

    Once you've picked your favoured field (be that because it's the one you want to work in, are passionate about or, simply, think there's more chance of getting paid work in, then you have to become very, very proficient at writing. Really churn it out. The path from brain to book is a long and arduous one. You have to become skilled at distilling your thoughts onto paper (or indeed screen...).

    And these test works should likely never see the light of day. You want to, you need to, refine your writing style, discover your natural prose and start to iron out your bad habits. Do you use the Oxford comma? Are you hyphen happy?

    You then have to develop a very thick skin. When you start trying to get noticed you'll likely be ignored by magazines, editors, writers and publishers. Why? We get lots and lots of prospective submissions which are high in enthusiasm and low in quality or, in some cases, reality.

    If you're really lucky someone will read your work and offer some constructive criticism. Lap up every word of it. Everything that anyone ever advises you to do has the potential to make you a better writer. Use it. You need a thick skin and a small ego.

    Once you've honed your skills and really, really stuck at it, it's time to try and get noticed. Write letters to magazined for publication, offer short stories and submissions which you've created yourself. Never, ever write and ask 'can I write for you?'. Always create something and say 'I've written this for you.'

    Eventually, if you're very lucky, you'll catch somebody's eye and they'll decide to take a risk with you and give you a commission or a bit of work experience or simply their patronage.

    A journalism degree, indeed, any kind of degree is absolutely not a requirement. A natural flair with words, affinity with the English language, willingness to work for pitiful wages and work very, very late (sometimes you'll get Chinese food if you do, mind...) especially on press day.

    Never give up, never stop trying. There are fewer journalists in the UK than there are professional footballers (both careers have 'leagues', funnily enough...) and every single job and freelance penny is hotly contested. If you don't try hard, you won't make it.

    Sorry I can't give you a fluffy, shiny-happy response, but I'd be doing you a disservice.

    I say all this as a self-made journalist, no degree, who's travelled the world, worked for major publishers as well as been a full-time freelance writer and been published in close to ten countries worldwide. I'm offering you my hard-earned experience - if it helps you, and I hope it does, then you can buy me a drink when you get your first piece published!

    P.S. Oh, for the love of all things sacred and hold, never, ever start a blog. Nothing winds up journalists and wordsmiths more than the proprietors of half-baked internet sites and blogs calling themselves 'writers'. Wait 'til you've made a name then make a web log, it almost never happens the other way around...
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. This is my most in-depth response so far and I assure you I am doing my utmost best to do all of these things and will try harder in the future to bring them to fruition. Having feedback from someone who has succeeded is very helpful as most of the people I know who I can speak to about this are in the same place that I am: trying.
    If, indeed, I do get to the point where I have the money to be buying people drinks, then of course you are most welcome to one.
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    You're most welcome. Because I got into the career so young (I was nearly 20 when I got my first staff on a national magazine with a monthly readership of about 300k) I've had quite a few young, aspiring writers get in touch. Trust me when I say that the advice I can offer now is far d more rounded, useful and refined than back then!

    I'm more than happy to help if I can. If you've a few short pieces you wanted feedback on I'd be interested to see what your style is. Drop me a PM if you want to take me up on the offer.
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    (Original post by Miraclefish)
    You're most welcome. Because I got into the career so young (I was nearly 20 when I got my first staff on a national magazine with a monthly readership of about 300k) I've had quite a few young, aspiring writers get in touch. Trust me when I say that the advice I can offer now is far d more rounded, useful and refined than back then!

    I'm more than happy to help if I can. If you've a few short pieces you wanted feedback on I'd be interested to see what your style is. Drop me a PM if you want to take me up on the offer.
    That would be extremely helpful! Thank you so very much!

    I suppose I have pieces I can offer you, but whether or not you would consider them short is another matter. I want to be, hopefully, one day, a novelist, for pre-teen to young adult audiences and I have already made a start in this direction. I am increasingly confident in my work, having recently edited a number of manuscripts from the past five years and have seen evidence of how I have improved over time.

    I would definitely appreciate some feedback and of course would sent you an excerpt so as not to force upon you a few hundred odd pages, if you would indeed be willing...
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    Writing is notoriously hard to get into. For every published author there are hundreds of wannabes who don't make the grade. The best advice I was ever given was "writing isn't a career, it's a hobby."

    Every university degree (other than maybe Mathematics) will help improve your writing. Essays are a part of every course. You don't need to take creative writing and I would actually advise against it. You should strive towards a more attainable career, while continually writing in your own time in the hopes that something will one day come from it. I'm pretty sure that's how most of the big authors did it.

    I know my advice probably isn't the romantic, "everyone can reach their goals if they try hard enough" mumbo jumbo you were hoping for, but sometimes it's best to be realistic!

    Otherwise, read a lot of books. See how the professionals do it.
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    (Original post by Kaykiie)
    Well, you don't just write for writing's sake. You want to make money from it. Not that that is a bad thing but there is no overnight miracle explanation that us TSRians can give you. There is no one thing that we can suggest that will catapult you into stardom.

    I understand exactly where you come from, I love to read and I love to write too. I however know how ridiculously difficult it would be to make a living from writing novels, so I've gone down a different path.

    So in short, we can't give you the answer you want. To be honest, if I knew the way to become a successful -money making- writer then I'd be one :p:
    This!

    My 'advice' is know your market. There's no use writing a vampire novel when they've been done- and ruined- so many times. Know who will read your books, mothers at a coffee morning? Disillusioned teenagers? Adults? Children? Both? Know your genre. Dabble. Get yourself entered into competitions, try and get yourself published in the smallest ******* literary magazines... do anything you can. Get work experiences at publishers! Learn how the industry works. You'll be in it and it's probably not as great as it looks from the outside. Go to writing workshops and talk to the person leading the workshop, chances are they'll be recognised in their field. Ask them if they know of any magazines/agents/newspapers who will look at you. Read. A lot. Write. A lot.

    I love how I'm writing out all this advice when I haven't done any of it yet! I've been to workshops. I adore writing. But do I want to be a professional writer? Not if I don't know what I'm writing. I want to write what I love and I'm too young to know what I really love right now. Of course I'd love to see my books in Waterstones and do book signings and have all the glory and recognition. I'd love to be the next Nabokov or Zadie Smith! I'd love to be published. But if I can't be I'll be more than happy to have my crappy writing on my laptop festering for the next 30 years! Going to my first workshop showed me that I love writing. It really doesn't matter if I get published or not. It would be lovely to earn money from it, but I just love the process of creating something out of nothing. I don't think any amount of recognition makes me MORE of a writer. As pretentious as it sounds, I am a writer because I write.
    Despite what I'm doing, I'd say a creative writing degree might not be the best option. I'm doing it because I have no self discipline and I don't write- and not delete- as many things as I'd like to!

    I'll shut up now. But yeah, you have to be savvy. Never say no to any opportunity, if you're getting words down on a page and your name in print, do it.
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    (Original post by JohnnytheFox)
    Writing is notoriously hard to get into. For every published author there are hundreds of wannabes who don't make the grade. The best advice I was ever given was "writing isn't a career, it's a hobby."

    Every university degree (other than maybe Mathematics) will help improve your writing. Essays are a part of every course. You don't need to take creative writing and I would actually advise against it. You should strive towards a more attainable career, while continually writing in your own time in the hopes that something will one day come from it. I'm pretty sure that's how most of the big authors did it.

    I know my advice probably isn't the romantic, "everyone can reach their goals if they try hard enough" mumbo jumbo you were hoping for, but sometimes it's best to be realistic!

    Otherwise, read a lot of books. See how the professionals do it.
    Your advice is realistic but seems somewhat defeatist. I would rather strive than merely hope. And of course, I did not expect the mumbo jumbo you have suggested and I understand that you are right in everything, but I think that developing a real writing style as, you say, "how the professionals do it", is far more than learning to write essays and I think that I can do so much better by dedicating more time to it. I will not assume that everything will go my way if I try hard enough, but at the same time I won't assume that it will never happen just because it's hard. I want to be one of the few that stand out and I will do anything I can to do that.
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    (Original post by JohnnytheFox)
    Writing is notoriously hard to get into. For every published author there are hundreds of wannabes who don't make the grade. The best advice I was ever given was "writing isn't a career, it's a hobby."

    Every university degree (other than maybe Mathematics) will help improve your writing. Essays are a part of every course. You don't need to take creative writing and I would actually advise against it. You should strive towards a more attainable career, while continually writing in your own time in the hopes that something will one day come from it. I'm pretty sure that's how most of the big authors did it.

    I know my advice probably isn't the romantic, "everyone can reach their goals if they try hard enough" mumbo jumbo you were hoping for, but sometimes it's best to be realistic!

    Otherwise, read a lot of books. See how the professionals do it.
    I love your religion signature!
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    (Original post by Miraclefish)
    The first thing you need to work out is what kind of writing you want to - initially - do. Saying "I want to be a writer" is like saying "I want to be famous". It's neither here nor there.

    Once you've picked your favoured field (be that because it's the one you want to work in, are passionate about or, simply, think there's more chance of getting paid work in, then you have to become very, very proficient at writing. Really churn it out. The path from brain to book is a long and arduous one. You have to become skilled at distilling your thoughts onto paper (or indeed screen...).

    And these test works should likely never see the light of day. You want to, you need to, refine your writing style, discover your natural prose and start to iron out your bad habits. Do you use the Oxford comma? Are you hyphen happy?

    You then have to develop a very thick skin. When you start trying to get noticed you'll likely be ignored by magazines, editors, writers and publishers. Why? We get lots and lots of prospective submissions which are high in enthusiasm and low in quality or, in some cases, reality.

    If you're really lucky someone will read your work and offer some constructive criticism. Lap up every word of it. Everything that anyone ever advises you to do has the potential to make you a better writer. Use it. You need a thick skin and a small ego.

    Once you've honed your skills and really, really stuck at it, it's time to try and get noticed. Write letters to magazined for publication, offer short stories and submissions which you've created yourself. Never, ever write and ask 'can I write for you?'. Always create something and say 'I've written this for you.'

    Eventually, if you're very lucky, you'll catch somebody's eye and they'll decide to take a risk with you and give you a commission or a bit of work experience or simply their patronage.

    A journalism degree, indeed, any kind of degree is absolutely not a requirement. A natural flair with words, affinity with the English language, willingness to work for pitiful wages and work very, very late (sometimes you'll get Chinese food if you do, mind...) especially on press day.

    Never give up, never stop trying. There are fewer journalists in the UK than there are professional footballers (both careers have 'leagues', funnily enough...) and every single job and freelance penny is hotly contested. If you don't try hard, you won't make it.

    Sorry I can't give you a fluffy, shiny-happy response, but I'd be doing you a disservice.

    I say all this as a self-made journalist, no degree, who's travelled the world, worked for major publishers as well as been a full-time freelance writer and been published in close to ten countries worldwide. I'm offering you my hard-earned experience - if it helps you, and I hope it does, then you can buy me a drink when you get your first piece published!

    P.S. [B]Oh, for the love of all things sacred and hold, never, ever start a blog. Nothing winds up journalists and wordsmiths more than the proprietors of half-baked internet sites and blogs calling themselves 'writers'. Wait 'til you've made a name then make a web log, it almost never happens the other way around...
    Could you give an example of what you mean at the part about 'reality'?

    I find it interesting that you've advised against blogging. I've set one up because my lecturer, a professional journalist, advised us to do so. I didn't realise it was frowned upon in any way :p:
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    I have the same problem, but no solutions. Sorry
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    ENTER COMPETITIONS!!

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...4#post29091764
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    You are such an idiot, I mean really, you are a ****ing idiot; I don't even know where to begin.
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    As cliche as this might sound, be yourself and remember why it is you want to write in the first place. The successful and most revered authors of today did not get where they are by pretending to be something they're not. You can stand out by being yourself and writing in your own style about topics that are important to you. Try not to focus so much on needing to get an agent and all that yet. Everything will fall into place if you've got the passion for it.

    I know, I know, not everyone's dreams come true, but if that's your line of thinking, what's the point of dreaming at all? Best of luck!
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    I don´t want to be a professional writer but I love writting. I always carry with both a nothebook and pen, so if I`m walking or doing anything else and then I feel inspiration, I just write it on my notebook. You should write whatever you think, even if you think that doesn't have any meaning, you might use it in the future to add it to a novel, a poem or whatever you like to write. Good luck! Hope I will find a book written by you in the future!
 
 
 
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