Support is imperative.
By Teri Brown
I have my first check on the wall. I’ll never forget how excited I was when I realized that someone would actually pay me to write. Not only have I found a way to make a bit of extra money, but I get to do it while homeschooling my children. And, as anyone who has ever homeschooled a child knows, homeschooling provides endless fodder for articles and stories!
The advent of the Internet has changed the face of writing forever. There used to be many stories about writing for years without ever getting published, but no longer. Websites are screaming for content and the trend will only continue. You still have to be able to write competently, but the opportunities are vast.
So how does one become a webwriter? First off, it is imperative that you get support. I have written my whole life, but it wasn’t until this last year or so that I have become more successful at it. The difference? Support. Even though there are good books available, nothing can take the place of one on one encouragement. Experienced writers can give advice on researching markets, writing queries and finding your voice. Luckily, if you have a modem, support is only a click away. The trick is finding a group right for you.
The different types of email list groups are staggering. There are email groups for momwriters, teens and kids. There are groups for short story writers, novelists and playwrights. Shop around. Once you find one you’re interested in, try it on for size for a while. Not every group is for every person. When you do see one you might like, lurk for a while, then introduce yourself if it fits your own personal criteria.
- What sort of things are important for you in an email list group?
- High volume of mail
- Low volume of mail
- Prevailing attitude of helpfulness
- Lively discourse and debate
- A majority of experienced writers
Writer’s websites abound and again, there is a site for every imaginable writing need. The information available can answer just about any writing question you might come up with. Some sites are more valuable then others, especially for beginners. The type of site you frequent is often determined by the sort of writing you wish to do. For fiction, try Coffeehouse For Writers. For nonfiction, Writing.com has excellent information. Good sites change their content on a regular basis and have frequent visitors. They look cared for, with up-to-date information and timely changes.
Many reputable websites are offering online writing classes. I have heard wonderful things from the classes offered by Writer’s Digest and Coffeehouse for Writers. The instructors are generally knowledgeable and the prices reasonable. Not only can these courses help you grow as a writer, but they can be a wonderful way to learn if you have children who also like to write.
Just as lists and websites have sprung up from nowhere, so have writers e-zines and newsletters. Some are worth their weight in gold, others merely take up space. Which you find most helpful again depends on what you are looking for. Do you want one with a lot of instructional articles in it? Or one that offers a multitude of market tips? Most are free and are easy to find and sign up for. I personally recommend “Inscriptions,” a quality e-zine with loads of writing information.
Support for your writing is almost as important as support for your homeschooling and they both accomplish the same thing. They give you the comforting knowledge that others have been where you are, that mistakes are part of the learning process and that you will get better and more confident as you go along.
Teri Brown is a wife and homeschooling mother of two. Her first book, “Christian Unschooling: Raising your child in the Freedom of Christ,” will be available in 2001. She and her coauthor put out a monthly newsletter, Seedling.
Resources for Writers
The Purple Crayon
Information about writing, illustrating, and publishing children’s books by the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, Harold Underdown.
Writers Online Workshops
From Writers Digest, the most respected name in writing.