Will Write for Cash

Until Miss A. brought it up 2 weeks ago, I had never thought seriously about writing for money.  I’d written plenty for good grades in school, which were very valuable to me, but it wasn’t quite the same as making a job of writing.  I also wrote for my college newspaper during one summer, but only because my advisor said I had to.  Miraculously, I survived.  I write here because I have questions and ideas that I want to share with other writers, but the idea of writing for someone else (with editors, no less!) and knowing my words will be read by a larger audience than I find here, frightens me.  My thoughts are not often as clear as I would like them to be, my punctuation skills need a lot of work, my transitions are in worse shape than my punctuation, and I need to establish the idea of brevity in my writing.  I’m sure you’ve already figured out that last item!  The point is I already know there are areas I need to work on, regardless of whether I write for a publication or just for myself.  I just don’t want so many people to see my mistakes in print! 

Chronicle Staff, ca. 1908-1911

Chronicle Staff, ca. 1908-1911 (Photo credit: Duke Yearlook)

I’m bringing all of this up because I’ve got an opportunity to write for a small weekly publication where Miss A. lives.  The trouble is that it focuses on stories that are local to its readers, but I live pretty well outside “local” for that area, and its guidelines sound more like a newspaper than anything else.  Been there, never going back.  So this opportunity doesn’t look like it will work out, but maybe there are others?  Maybe I should start looking for other places to write, where if I don’t get paid, at least I will earn experience and a few references.  Who knows?  It just might open those stubborn doors I’ve been tugging on.

What do you think? 

Have you ever written for a publication of any size?  If so, what did you write about?  What did you like and dislike about the experience?

If you haven’t written for a publication, what is one you would like to write for?  Why?  What would it take to convince you to contribute to it?

13 thoughts on “Will Write for Cash

  1. My personal opinion:You write well,better than most.Why be so self critical and self censure?After all no one asks you to do something if they think you can’t do it.Why not give things a shot?You can always quit after if you don’t like the experience.So why quit before you have begun.
    Not every one is super critical and looking for errors.And even immortal works of literature have errors.To err is human…

  2. Oh and BTW I was editor of a college magazine.And that too in an engineering college with a largely linguistically challenged student body.So I have no experience writing for money.But in my editor days I’d have loved to have anybody who wrote as well as you.
    On the other hand I do read,almost continuously everyday and I’m not struck by the shortcomings you see in your writings.My impressions are just the opposite.

    • I think it’s great that you were the editor of your college paper, even if no one really cared about spelling and grammar. It makes your job that much more necessary! :) Did you do much writing after college?

      Thanks so much for the encouragement! It’s a lot easier for me to see the errors in my writing than the strong parts, so I really appreciate your pointing out the latter.

      Thanks for taking time to comment! :)

      • Editor in that context meant chasing after people and begging them to write something,anything and give it to me.Then I did a great deal of ghostwriting.
        I did a lot of creative writing in school and won a few international awards too. But I fell out of the habit in Engineering College.My brain grew one way and shrunk in another.
        My blog is my first attempt ,in more than a decade,to get back to writing,
        A friend who looked through it last week remarked that my writing seems to be improving.He is a cinema buff and the way he put it is that I seem to have found a way to blend Bollywood Masala movies,ie,mainstream entertainment with Art House Cinema,the more thoughtful/experimental/meaningful cinema made for a more discerning audience,
        What do you think?Is my writing improving?Personally I feel I gave gotten back into the habit and no longer have to struggle to set words on paper.
        You know of I had an opportunity like you,I would grab it.If I get paid for it I have to do it,No excuses.It makes me more likely to stick to something while I form a habit.

        • Good for you! It sounds like you’re getting right back into your writing groove and I’m so glad you’ve been able to do that through your blog. I think since you feel the words come more easily now, you are definitely improving. Of course, even the most experienced writers have trouble expressing themselves, but they patiently work it out until they find what they’re after. I know you can do the same.

          All the best with your writing! :)

  3. I’ve been freelancing for 18 years now. It began with a simple dramatic poem in my teens, much of how writing begins with a young girl having had “broken up” with her first love. I look back on it and gag now but then, it was the beginning of the something that turned into a much bigger something. “Bloom” is the final result after years of blogging, essays, submissions, encouragements, etc. From my personal experience, you have little to worry about as far as brevity or form. You catch an audience and continue attention. You have an above average vocabulary that doesn’t turn the average reader into mush. Your writings tickle different areas. Is there something you are exquisitely in love with writing about? I have 6 major interests to which I flop back and forth like a riddled seesaw. Some enjoy the vip and vigor of getting into journalism or pretending they are, imagining what sorts of stories they would like to cover. Some enjoy flirting with stories that take them out of their comfort zone. I encourage this. For a city woman never having had enjoyed the art of fishing to enter into a canoe in efforts to better understand fishing for bass, is life expounding.The end result is that when you find your writing niche, the payments are irrelevant as you are writing about what you love or wished you loved.

  4. I wonder if there are many others who began writing as you did? It seems a lot of teens write poetry, but I’m not sure if they ever follow it to something bigger as you did.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement! It’s too easy to see the negative in my own writing, so I really appreciate your pointing out the positive.

    I mostly enjoy writing about questions I’ve been pondering after observing things for awhile or just because I want to know why and how something works. I haven’t written much on those thoughts, but I’d love to try soon. It seems I mostly write about the garden I’ve been tending this summer or a book I’m reading, but nothing amazing…yet. :)

    Thanks for the topic ideas; I will definitely look at them more closely and see how I can include them in my writing.

    Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment! :)

Swing on by and chat awhile! I would serve up some lemonade and snickerdoodles, but the virtual kind don't taste very nice. Sorry about that.

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