Advice for Writers

I’ve been spending some hours every week reading blogs and websites of other writers. Some of them are more experienced than myself. Others are less acquainted with the field of freelance writing. Still, I’ve picked up lots of inspiration and useful tips from writers of both categories. Since I started reading these at the end of last year, I began to apply my new found knowledge to my career as soon as the new calendar was pinned to my wall. I admit that I knew most of these things before, but I just needed the motivation to get my act going. I know that every writer is a different human being so every tip can’t be the best for you, but some things are common to all of us – like the need to send queries. I hardly wrote any features in 2014. My focus was more on short stories and my two non fiction books (1 published, another to be published this year). This year, I resolve to have a ton of features published. Thanks to the author blogs and websites, I’m on my way to this goal.

Here are some significant pieces of advice that I picked up and now follow:

1) Keep on sending queries: Last year, I was too lazy to send out queries. It seemed easier to write my books and short stories in peace. Now I try to send out at least one query a day. The approach has won me multiple editors’ approvals for feature articles that will be published in top Indian magazines soon.

2) Negotiate: I haven’t had to do this yet, but won’t hesitate to do it next time it’s needed. Too many experienced freelance writers agree to write for low rates such as 50 paise per word. Too many companies are used to them agreeing to absurd rates so they have excuses of a low budget. One of the biggest media houses in India couldn’t even offer me Rs.1 per word.

If you’re doing an assignment on a very tight deadline (say, due the next day), you should try to negotiate too.

3) Keep a bank of story ideas: You get story ideas from reading magazines, books and websites or from happenings around you. Jot them all down. Keep on adding them to a spreadsheet. Then you can have lots of story ideas to send out queries on a daily/weekly basis. And don’t erase a story idea because it is rejected. Some other editor may like it.

Try applying these tips to your career. It’ll help!

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