Free Writer Training Course 3, Lesson 1B
Advance As You Gain Experience
None in his right mind expects a new-born baby to run the Marathon the next day. Yet there are writers who desire to get their first piece of writing published in the Reader’s Digest. It is not only a stupid wish, but also a self defeating idea.
Whatever the field, every person has to begin from the level that is appropriate for his abilities and from there he has to work his way up to the level that he dreams of. Artists, doctors, lawyers, sportsmen, actors, and even student have to go through this process. Writers are therefore no exception. They have to begin publishing in magazines and periodicals that are appropriate for their level, and have then got to advance to higher levels as their experience increases.
Do not forget that success is not achieved in a day. It takes both time as well as experience. Aim at the level that is not too high for you and work your way up from there. The correct approach for most writers will be to start from the ground level and then work their way up to the top. This approach will ensure that you do not get unnecessary rejection slips.
The less the rejection slips that you get, the higher will be your morale. Even though you will still get several rejection slips, the few manuscripts that are accepted will boost your spirits, motivating you to write more.
What gets published at this stage will help you to evaluate your level of achievement. If more than 80% of the submissions are accepted at the first attempt itself, it is time for you now to aim higher. Focus higher, sharpen your skills, and submit to a publication with higher demands. Build up yourself with each success, and do not stop till you reach your ultimate goal.
LOCAL PUBLICATIONS: the first place for anyone to start publishing is the local newspaper, school or college magazines, hand-written magazines, souvenirs, and magazines that are run by smaller organizations. The competition here is with people of your own level, not with professionals, and therefore your chances of getting published are relatively high. There are even some "co-operative" publications where you will have to pay a small fees to get your articles, stories, or poems published. It is not too bad an idea for a beginner to contribute one or two writings to such publications.
LETTERS TO EDITORS: I mentioned before that the letters column of most newspapers and magazines is a very good place to get published. Since newspapers are published daily, you have thirty opportunities every month compared to a single opportunity per month in magazines.
Do not underestimate the letters columns. Many famous writers and crusaders started their writing career from these columns. What’s more, if you are motivated to write on a controversial subject, this is the only place where you can ever hope to get published at least till you become famous.
If you are able to write brief and sensible letters regularly on important issues, try to get them published as letters in any local newspaper. Your name will soon be embedded in everyone’s memory — and this includes the memory of the editors, publishers, and the readers. This in turn will help you to publish longer articles in the same publication. Since your name is already known to them, you will get quick attention from the editor who will not easily reject your submission. The greatest benefit will be the attention you get from readers because they are already familiar with your name.
It is seen that most readers give a lot of attention to writers whose name is already known to them. This is a part of human nature. Everyone prefers talking to the familiar person in a crowd rather than striking a conversation with a total stranger. The same is the case with published material. People unconsciously read the known writer first and the rest only after that. Just as a courteous "hello" turns eventually into lifelong friendship, this approach can make you a well known and well demanded writer in few years. Further, once these readers start writing to the editor about your articles, stories, or poems, (most of them will be appreciations), your position with that publication will become more firm.
Even in the matter of writing letters to the editor, you should begin with your local newspaper rather than attempting with larger national dailies. The larger papers, obviously, receive a larger number of letters every day. Moreover, many who write to these publications are people with a mature insight into things of national importance. It is not wise to compete with them from the beginning itself.
A beginner in the field should always start with smaller publications, preferably local newspapers and then work his way up to the Letters column of larger publications.