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1. Write for free. College or home study courses are not enough. To get a truly professional edge, embark on an exciting internship at a local newspaper or magazine. You won't be paid, but in many instances you will be rewarded with college credits. Most importantly, it will give you the opportunity to sharpen your skills and act as a catalyst for your writing career. Plus, you will make positive contacts with other writers and professionals in the journalism field.
2. Study what your favourite writers are doing and surround yourself with information. Read the books of your favourite authors. Study self-help books on how to write effectively.
3. Ask questions and ask for help. Make a list of your concerns. Maybe you want to know how to break into magazine writing. Perhaps you need help in writing a query letter or need guidance on creating a novel. Surround yourself with professional writers, and ask, ask, ask.
4. Begin by writing small pieces for your hometown newspaper. You might want to contact your local newspaper's editor and propose your idea for a column. Or, you may wish to write for the paper full or part-time as a staff writer. Think of ways you can break into print to collect those all-important bylines and clips.
5. Equip yourself with the necessary tools: computer, printer, hard drive to back up your writing, pens, notepads, recorder, digital camera, and cell phone.
6. Write every day – make writing a habit. Author/Coach Julia Cameron suggests writing morning pages. This means you should wake up in the morning and write at least three pages of what's on your mind. This will help you develop the habit of writing. As you go along, you will expand your skills and perhaps even surprise yourself with your progress.
7. Create a website. It can be as simple as one page, or a dozen pages. You must build a site that entertains, informs, and generates interest. Add your writing portfolio and list of writing credits. Provide the site with an online guestbook so that you can build a database of contacts and track the amount of hits. At the very least, devote a page to your biography. Include photos of yourself and your adventures. Don't forget to add links to helpful writing websites as well as a direct link to your blog.
8. Blog it. Use your blog like an online journal. Write about absolutely anything you desire. Maybe you have recently travelled somewhere and want others to know what you did on your trip. Maybe you just need a place to vent or a place to share your thoughts on a daily or weekly basis. Perhaps you'll use this blog to promote book signings. In addition, you can you can post more samples of your writing. The possibilities are many. Update your blog often to keep it fresh. Use your imagination, and remember to add a link to your website.
9. Join a local writers' group or a group online. Maybe there's a writers' organization near you. Usually the dues are reasonable and the amount of feedback you receive on your writing is invaluable. It's always wonderful to get together with other writers to talk about the trade and to share your stories. Writing websites such as are excellent sources of support and information.
10. Submit! Submit! Submit! If you receive a rejection letter, don't let that stop you. Keep on keeping on, and continue to submit your articles or manuscripts.
Follow the above tips, and you're sure to become a successful writer!
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