Six years ago I decided to write a novel. When I wanted to get it published I realized I had a lot of work to do, and most of that work included getting experience, specifically by-lines. I found a couple of local weekly papers willing to work with an unpublished writer and started writing articles. My original motivation was to get enough experience to give me credibility when I pitched my novel to an editor. I never expected to enjoy non-fiction writing this much.
A couple of years ago I decided to take a crack at a freelance writing career. Even with over 200 articles published it’s been tough. To be perfectly honest business has been virtually non-existent. I know how to write feature stories about local events, but I haven’t been able to break into other markets. A lot of it is my inexperience. Even more of it is my isolation.
Over the years my fiction writing has improved because of my involvement with a fiction writers’ association. The group has connected me with writers, editors, and agents who have introduced me to other experts, taught me from their own experience, and given me the encouragement I need to keep going. Without question my membership in that group has been the greatest single investment I’ve made in my fiction writing.
Now that I want to get serious about writing in general I need to find groups dedicated to helping the non-fiction writer. Thanks to the suggestions of other writers I’ve found a couple of non-fiction focused groups.
American Christian Writer’s Association: Locating, educating and motivating writers and speakers. This group caters to all writers, fiction and non. It’s a great group to get involved with if you’re not sure what you want to write.
Evangelical Press Association: A professional association of Christian magazines, newsletters, newspapers and content-rich websites from throughout North America, their purpose is “to strengthen evangelical periodicals through inspiration, instruction, and networking.” I’ve just recently joined this group, so I’m still learning about them, but they come highly recommended by a trusted writer. I’m looking forward to getting involved.
Both of these organizations are Christian focused, but there are others available for whatever your writing style. Find one that meets your needs and get involved. You won’t regret it.