by Alycia W. Morales @AlyciaMorales
One of the best pieces of writing advice I received when I was just starting out was to start small. Don’t aim for the book deal. Rather, start with a blog. Find your voice. Develop your writing skills. Read a lot and learn the craft.
Because whether you write fiction or non-fiction, fiction craft is still involved. You still need to know how to tell stories, because non-fiction books need anecdotes.
Writing doesn’t always have to be about a book. Sure, we all dream of seeing our name in print. But rather than rushing it onto a book cover, let’s consider other avenues of getting our writing out into the world.
Blog: Blogging is a great way to discover your voice, find a niche, and practice developing your writing skills. If you use WordPress.com or Blogger, blogging is free. You can post once a month or you can post every day of the week. It’s also a great way to begin to develop a platform.
Articles for print: There are several magazines, both at a local level and at a national level, that are in need of articles to fill their pages. Check with your local writers group, get a copy of the Christian Writer’s Market Guide, or check out Vonda Skelton’s blog, where she posts writing opportunities once a month.
Articles for the web: You can be a guest blogger on someone else’s blog. You can write for one of many websites who take articles. Most magazine-oriented sites have submission guidelines posted somewhere on their site. Look for phrases like “write for us” or “submission guidelines.”
Chicken Soup for the Soul: When Chicken Soup for the Soul accepts your story for their book, you receive a decent check plus copies. They are consistently looking for stories. Visit their website for more information by clicking here.
Short Stories and Flash Fiction: Want to write novels? Why not get started with something a bit shorter in length? Short stories are usually under 7,500 words. Flash fiction usually ranges from 300-1,000 words in length. The Write Life has a recent list of 23 places to publish your short stories. And if you’ve never heard of Splickety, you should check them out. They love to receive flash fiction pieces. I recently heard they could really use submissions for Splickety Love. Be sure to look around their submissions information. Look for the upcoming themes link here.
Devotions: Writing devotions is a great way to get started writing non-fiction, as devotions contain many elements of a non-fiction book. You need an anecdote, a supporting point, brief expansion of that point, and a takeaway for the reader. ChristianDevotions.us is a great place to get started. Be sure to check out their Hook, Book, Look, Took format before you submit.
By starting small, you have the opportunity to grow in your writing and have more success when it comes time to work on the bigger projects. Working with editors at a smaller publishing level will also give you great experience and learning opportunities that will afford you a better working relationship with editors at the publishing house level.
Another benefit to starting small is that magazines, websites, and Chicken Soup for the Soul already have a reader base. When published by them, your writing reaches more people than you could on your own. Which also helps grow your platform.
If you’ve started small and are now writing novels and/or non-fiction books, what advice or other writing opportunities would you recommend? We’d love to hear from you!
You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Alycia W. Morales is an award-winning freelance editor and author. Her clients have won the Selah Award, BRMCWC Director’s Choice Award, and many others. Her writing has been published in Thriving Family magazine, Splickety Love, and several compilation books. She is a member of ACFW, the president of Cross n’ Pens critique group, and a BRMCWC Conference Assistant.
When she isn’t busy writing, editing, and reading, Alycia enjoys spending time with her husband and four children taking hikes in Upstate SC and NC, creating various crafts, coloring in adult coloring books, and watching TV.