Writing Magazine Query Letters

Magazines

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I would like to start to submit articles to magazines, so I have been reading a lot lately about writing magazine query letters.  The Right-Writing.com website had a great article “The Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Writing”, which shared useful information to write queries.  It cleared up definitions about things such as first rights, second serial rights, and kill fees as well as even had a sample letter.  The article can be found at http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2009/08/magazine-query-letter-sample/.   This was just one of many articles I have read online, but it seemed to have the greatest amount of useful information in one place.

Another thing I have done in preparation of sending magazine queries is to look for places to submit articles.  The last few days I have kept a supply of post it flags near my favorite chair as I have perused the library’s copy of the 2010 edition of the Writer’s Market.  I am amazed at the discovery of some magazines I didn’t even know existed as well as the number of places I can attempt to submit some of my poetry.  I know it seems the overwhelming school of thought is you can’t make a living writing poetry, but my poetry makes me happy.

It seems the advice to improve writing is to do more of it and often, so I am hoping this will apply well to writing query letters too.  I have to admit I am a bit nervous as I am not an established writer with multiple clips to prove I can write, but everyone had to begin somewhere.  I plan to start with areas I have experience in such as homeschooling and caregiving.  Well, now I need to quit procrastinating, so away I go to write some magazine queries.

 

 

Writing Progress and Plans

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It has been a very busy week and different than my usual routine.  I have not done as much writing as I would have liked to, but did manage to finish an editorial piece to submit to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I also started working on another couple of articles for next week.  I have really enjoyed writing for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I have even taken on some writing assignments there, which were not for pay and just for display only, but gave me some practice writing other things a little out of my comfort zone.  For example, I have not written a short story since high school, yet attempted to write a science fiction story.  It may not have been “great”, but it was fun.  Here is the link and if you have any feedback you are welcome to tell me as I am one of those people who can handle constructive criticism well : http://voices.yahoo.com/alliance-earth-planet-vermilla-sabotaged-11006896.html .

The pieces I usually prefer to write are articles and poetry.  It was nice this week to come in after a horrible day and have good news waiting in my email inbox alerting me some of my writing was published on Yahoo! Voices.  Here are links to two articles from this week :  http://voices.yahoo.com/save-money-through-yourself-repairs-10988874.html and http://voices.yahoo.com/first-person-learning-through-yourself-projects-10988638.html .  So far I have earned close to $12, which may not be much, but everyone has to begin somewhere.  The Yahoo! Contributor Network has been user friendly to submit writing, has good forums for learning more information or asking questions, and I have even had rejected pieces approved if I followed the suggestions offered in the feedback.  If you are a beginner it is a place you may want to give a try.

Another idea I have seen in several places is to keep a list of article ideas you are working on, so I created a chart in Microsoft Works on my computer.  I titled it Writing Idea List.  It has columns for the idea, publication, date sent, and the result.  I took the ideas I had brainstormed in my notebooks and filled in the chart.  I think I will put it in a page protector and keep it near the computer or start a notebook maybe.  I am kind of a notebook queen around the house for organizing.

Finding resources seems to have been my final task for the week.  There were many treasures I discovered in a library visit, which included a 2010 edition of the Writers Market.  At a bookstore I looked through several writers magazines and finally settled on a copy of the Writer.  I decided I couldn’t buy them all(didn’t need to either) and this magazine had more articles I thought offered more helpful information.  Well, that was my writing progress for the week, but next week will hopefully be a fresh start and I plan to tackle magazine queries for some articles I am finishing up.

 

Inspirational Book for Freelance Writers

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Last week I found a book in a used bookstore I have really been enjoying. The book is Achieving Financial Independence as a Freelance Writer by Ray Dreyfack. The author says he has been a writer for over 30 years so he speaks from the viewpoint of experience. There is good information shared about specializing and using your experience to write. I have found, it is much easier to write about things I am passionate about and have some knowledge or experience regarding the subject matter.

One repeating phrase in the book is “think small grow big”, which simply put means to start small and build from there. This is good advice for beginning freelance writers like me and I think it will become one of my favorite mottos for future reference. This seems to fall in line with a lot of advice I have read for beginners. Advice which recommends beginning freelance writers with limited experience may want to write free for non-profit sources or articles for websites allowing submissions meeting their guidelines.  This provides an opportunity to gain experience and help build your writing portfolio.

The book shares the importance of making contacts, networking, and writing groups. There are numerous groups and associations for writers with membership fees ranging from free to about $100. I have found a local writers’ group through the website www.meetup.com and am looking forward to my first meeting next week.

 This book has been a good source of inspiration and I hope to finish reading it this week. Besides finding a great book, I also had some good news last week. I called to follow-up on an article I wrote for a magazine and later during the day received an email saying the article will be published!

Writing Resources

The World Digital Library.

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It has been a slow writing week for me.  I definitely need to work on my time management skills and atleast write a little everyday.  Some days I spend hours writing and other days I do not seem to find the time.  It is easy to also get lost in time, researching information online, rather than spend time actually writing.  Maybe I need to start setting a time limit for reading blogs and researching information online.

I do find some very helpful information, so at least I am not wasting time.  I have found two books which are on my wish list as writing resources : The Yahoo Style Guide :  The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World by Yahoo and the Associated Press Stylebook.  Another of my favorite freelance writing websites, www.freelancewritinggigs.com , has a link to several free writing resources : www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2009/10/4-free-stuff-for-writers/ .  A dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia are among some of the resources you can find there. 

I have been saving useful links I find as favorites on my computer, so I can find them easily when I need to refer to them again.  Some of the favorite folders I have on my computer are writing jobs, reference resources, nurse freelance writers, and writing contests.  I may have to go through and reorganize them again, but atleast it’s a beginning and you have to start somewhere.  Same thing with writing.

I did finish writing a short article today and submitted it on www.firehow.com .  Here is the link to it : http://firehow.com/2012020530040/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-healthcare-provider-visit.html .  Well, maybe this will be a more productive week and I will get more writing done.

Beginning the Journey in Freelance Writing

WritingIn the abundance of time I have as I am currently unemployed,  I decided I needed to let my creativity flow loose or go crazy.  Hence the title of my blog.  Well, as I started researching jobs which can be done from home, I stumbled across freelance writing and have been reading quite a bit on it.  I was very intrigued and have discovered I have a passion for writing.  The writing just seems to flow freely.  I have been writing using traditional pen and paper as well as frequently typing on the laptop.    

One lesson I have learned from reading a lot of information about freelance writing is there seems to be mixed reviews regarding the merit of blog writing among writers.  In light of this information and out of curiosity as I have never blogged before,  I thought I would give blogging a try.  I hope to share my discoveries along my journey to become a freelance writer. 

Even though I am just beginning, I feel as if I have accomplished quite a bit already this week.  I just finished writing and submitting an article to a magazine last night.  Also, I have two books I have begun writing and have spent time developing a list of possible topics for future articles.  There is so much to learn about freelance writing and I’d like to share a good resource I found recently, which has a lot of good articles about writing, is www.wow-womenonwriting.com .

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