I have been reading C. Hope Clark's FundsforWriters blog for some time, and it never disappoints.
You can find her at
I recommend subscribing to her newsletter.
What follows is from Vol. 12 Issue 21 / May 25, 2012 and it is so good: learn how to write first.
These are her ideas, and I am fulling attributing this to her.
I am paraphrasing what she said here:
Skip writing the book. Learn the craft. Hope suggests starting with magazines first. Magazines, or newspapers. The main thing Hope emphasizes is:
1) Learning how to write tight, chose words
2) Learning to stick to what the editor needs
3) Learning how to write faster
4) Learning how to research and "cull what's useful"
And if you do this, accept rejection, persevere, you will
5) Earn money
6) Earn clips
I have been working in journalism my entire professional career, and I can tell you, she's right on the money. Writing is a craft that must be learned and doing the spade work is the only way to go. Every good newspaper writer worth their salt that I know has gone through all six steps. Many excellent writers of today, far too many to name, learned their craft slogging through copy. Newspapers or magainzes, it does not matter. What one learns is invaluable, especially working with editors and copy editors, discovering what really works and what gets cut, and most importantly, how to earn a reputation as a 'writer' and 'someone worth reading.'
My journey through writing is the transition I'm making from being a daily purveyor of news and information to a writer of fiction that others will want to read. But that's for another post. For now, good luck and keep writing.