Write a lot of stories, poems, songs, essays, articles, plays: whatever you’re interested in writing. Your work will improve if you keep writing.
Read like crazy. Read for enjoyment first; but if you really love a book, read it again. Try to figure out what techniques the writer used to make the book so good.
Invite others to read your work: friends, teachers, parents, etc. Ask for feedback. What do you like about my work? What can I do to make it better?
Tackle revisions with gusto! Don’t be afraid to change your work. Every writer needs to revise. Revising is the real writing.
Exercise your imagination and observation muscles by being an active part of the fascinating world around you. Keep a journal of your notes, thoughts, and ideas.
How do I get published?
Start small. Many local newspapers have a children’s page that features poems and stories by kids. That’s a great place to start.
Understand the market. If a children’s page only prints short poems, don’t send a long story. Read the newspaper or magazine carefully to see if they publish work similar to yours. Often, a publisher will list info about what they accept and where to send it.
Be professional: send in your best work, neatly typed. Put your name and address (and age if they request it) in the top corner. Include an SASE: that’s a stamped envelope with your name and address on it, so they can send you a response.
Move on. Don’t sit around waiting to see if your work will be accepted. Keep writing new material. If you’re going to be a writer, you must write, write, write.
Interpret rejections as necessary stepping stones to success. Publishers get many more submissions than they can use. Expect rejections. Take comfort in the fact that the most famous writers have received rejections.
Try again. Keep revising your work, writing new work, and submitting. The writers who become successful are the ones who don’t give up.
A writer’s glossary
Work : the stories, poems, essays, plays, or songs you are writing. It is also called material.
Market: the magazines, newspapers, and book publishers who publish stories, poems, plays, etc.
Submit: to send in your work to a publisher to be considered for publication.
Acceptance: Great news … the publisher decides to publish your work!
Rejection: Not such great news … the publisher decides not to publish your work.
Masthead: information in a newspaper or magazine that lists the staff and publisher’s address.
SASE: a self-addressed, stamped envelope, which should be included in all submissions.
Copyright © 2004 by Mary Amato. Permission granted to copy for educational use.