It can be a tough gig calling yourself a ‘writer’. Whether you are writing a blog, a journalistic article or a book, it is a process that requires you be committed to your content that may, or may not, be read. I’ve worked as a journalist in some capacity for several years now, and the question I am asked most frequently is, “How do you get your writing published?” Whether you have a message to share or want to tell the world your story, here are 5 tips which have helped me get my writing published.
1. Create a blog
Dale Partridge talks about the importance of creating your own blog for business purposes, and the same goes for any writer. Once you click the ‘publish’ button, even on your own blog, your writing is available to the world. Write about what interests you, give yourself a distinctive voice and you will create a brand that is recognisable. When your work is published elsewhere or you link to it on social media, you want people to refer back to your personal blog so they become a regular reader of your work. I suggest checking out WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger as free/cost-effective options to starting your own blog.
Nearly all of my writing opportunities have sprung up from interaction with editors or other writers through their blogs, via email or by social networking. Your favourite writers will often have their own personal blog, so make a point to visit these and learn from their style. By commenting on a blog, tweeting a thanks or emailing a publication about the possibility of writing for them (for free), you will build up camaraderie with people of influence and your work will stretch a lot further.
3. Pitch, pitch and re-pitch
I recently had someone say, “I’m so jealous of you–you write for all the places I love!” My response was this: pitch your stories persistently until you have your writing published. There will be many times you never hear back from editors, and sometimes you will be lucky enough to have an editor tell you why your story won’t be published and how it can be improved. When your story isn’t picked up, re pitch it somewhere else. Review it, make it better and try again. For every article you get published, there will be plenty more that will be rejected. Pitch, re-pitch and when your story doesn’t work, ditch it and start again. With persistence, perseverance and talent, you will get published.
4. Take constructive criticism
The hardest part of being a writer is hearing that your work is flawed. Whether you receive a “no” because it doesn’t suit the publication, receive feedback that your work just wasn’t great (we’ve all been there), or the editor makes adjustments before publication–and they will; learn from it. Re-read your work, revise it and understand why any changes or corrections have been made. Editing doesn’t make you a bad writer; it makes you a better one.
5. Just keep writing
Whether we are writing for an audience of one or thousands of people, we must never stop writing. Even the best writers develop their craft and learn from their mistakes. Remember that you write because you believe in what you have to say, so keep persevering. When the hurdles come, push through and keep self-publishing and pitching your work. Keep writing because it’s what you love to do, and your words will change people for the better.