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How to begin to become a writer

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To be any good at anything, you have to really interested in it. Writing is no exception to that. You need an interest in it and a fascination for words. You also need to read a lot. I read articles, blogs and when I can books too. I quoted Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in a blog earlier today. It helps that I have read it. I have read some professional writers this week, who have written articles badly. Both of them were writing on their specialised subject. They had studied at university to become competent in their chosen subject, but it didn’t show in their writing.

My blog covers a diverse range of subjects that I know about, but one day I decided to write a blog about science and technology. This is my specialised subject, because I studied it in college. You expect it to be factually accurate, yet I nearly made a mistake and had to correct it. I read a blog by someone who studied economics and it was amateurish. It is worse if you aren’t knowledgeable about a subject that you profess to be qualified in. Some writers have qualifications in journalism and that qualifies them to write about many things, but their qualifications are as a writer. You don’t expect  really bad mistakes in the writing, but they can be mistaken in their views or beliefs when they are giving their opinions, rather than reporting the news.

I read a blog yesterday, by a writer whose English is a second language, but the article was written well and had an individual style. It is that style that can be hard to achieve, because often it requires confidence. You have to be confident enough to be brave with your writing and open to criticism. I recently read one blogger, who was very proficient and skilled at writing. It was her specialised subject, but the writing lacked style, it was not brave and so lacked excitement. The bravery to write uninhibited can take a while to achieve though. You can’t be too uninhibited as some writers are, because it offends many people.

You also have to live life a little to blog or at least have done a few interesting things in your life. You don’t have to write about what you’ve done, you can write about what you’ve learnt from life. You have to write as if you’re talking to your reader, so you need to have something to say.

Some successful websites employ staff writers and freelance writers. You might imagine that it’s great working at home as a freelance writer, but many writers are struggling and the newspapers, magazines and websites are struggling too. Some even resent blogs like mine and see this site as competition. I don’t try to compete with some of the bigger sites, but I do compete, I have few overheads and costs. I have avoided putting advertising on the site or compromising what I write. There is competition between bloggers and we do compete with the bigger websites, but there is also cooperation and a sense of community between bloggers. The larger sites tend to take a dog eat dog attitude and so it’s survival of the fittest. One site I am aware of has cut staff and is paying freelancers much less than a few years ago. I think many blogs will disappear in the next few years and only the determined and those who are good at it will continue. Perhaps, it is survival of the most committed?

If you’re interested in writing and would like to get published, you can send a guest blog to me for review and if I can I’ll edit it and publish it. A zillion ideas can be a good place to start!

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