Writer Aid celebrates ten years of advice for writers

Dear writers and readers, this blog has been dormant since late last year, but I had to mark the 10-year anniversary of my first post by telling you that I have updated the past posts, revising where the information was no longer accurate and making sure all the links worked. Those updated posts are my gift to you. Because I think it would be good to have all the advice put together in one place in a logical order, I am also planning to compile my blog posts into an e-book. I will let you know about that as soon as it’s available.

In the beginning, the blog was called Freelancing for Newspapers. I started it to publicize my then-upcoming Freelancing for Newspapers book. I’ll be honest. Some of those first posts were so lame it hurts to read them now. I was just learning how to blog. Now I offer a class on it. (click on Classes above). Over those first few years, I offered a mix of my own experiences writing freelance articles, plus information about the newspaper business and advice for writers on everything from how to get an assignment to how to get paid.

But the publishing world changed, I changed, and so did this blog. It morphed from Freelancing for Newspapers to Freelancing for Newspapers +, the plus sign indicating I might talk about more than newspapers. Eventually it became Writer Aid so I could address all sorts of writing, including fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction (and also maybe lure readers into my servers for writers).

At the same time, the newspaper business was changing. With the double whammy of the recession and the Internet, newspapers were going under or shrinking. Longtime staff writers were losing their jobs by the hundreds. And freelance opportunities became harder to find. Our local daily, The Oregonian, went from a stuffed package loaded with special sections to a thin tabloid. How could one write for the garden or arts sections when even the decades-long editors of those sections were now unemployed?

My own life was changing, too. I was caring for my husband, who had Alzheimer’s Disease. In 2009, he moved into a nursing home, and in 2011, he died. Through it all, I kept writing, but I was easing out of article writing and focusing more on poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. I went back to school and earned my MFA in creative writing. I started teaching. I published two more books, Shoes Full of Sand and Childless by Marriage.

All of these changes were reflected in the blog as I talked about self-publishing, poetry, plots, settings, characters, and selling books. For a while, the blog shrank down to three quick tips because that’s all I could manage, but I kept it going. Last December, I decided there were too many writers blogging about writing, and the world didn’t need me doing it. I would focus on my other blogs, Unleashed in Oregon and Childless by Marriage.

I’m still not sure the world needs me writing about writing. Writers are so inbred, and I think it’s important to talk to the rest of the world. But as I put together the e-book, I suspect I will find topics that I have not yet addressed, and I will write new posts to fill in the blanks. If you sign up to follow the blog, WordPress will let you know when that happens.

You can still buy the Freelancing for Newspapers book. Some of the information is outdated now, but the basics of writing and selling articles is the same. The steps in the book will lead you from idea to published story, not just in newspapers but in magazines and online publications. Order a copy.

Now go write something.

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Three Quick Tips: Renegade Writers, rockin’ queries, byline dreams

Once a week I am offering three quick tips that you can take and use right away. For those of us who would rather be writing than reading blogs, this is a place you can grab something useful and get back to work. If you have suggestions, please share them in the comments section.

Click

Everyone who writes and/or teaches about freelance writing offers the same basic information, how to find ideas, write queries, do research, write, revise, yada, yada, yada, but the Renegade Writers tell you the stuff the rest don’t tell you. Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell, who have turned one Renegade Writer book into a collection of books and blogs, offer advice, free e-books, e-courses and other goodies at http://www.therenegadewriter.com.

Read

You guessed it: The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success, now available in print and as an e-book, will tell you all the good, bad and ugly about freelance writing. And don’t stop at this one book. They have others, including The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster and A Renegade Writer Kick in the Ass: 30 Riffs from the Renegade Writer Blog to Help you Bust Your Excuses, Light a Fire Under Your Butt, and Become a More Motivated & Productive Freelance Writer.

Try This

Be a renegade writer yourself. Close your eyes and picture your byline on the one thing that will make you feel like a successful writer. It could be a book, an article, a short story, poem, script, or song. Now open your eyes and write for at least 30 minutes about what you need to do to make it happen. The word “can’t” is not allowed.

Now Go Write