A Pep Talk For Print Writers

Hello hello!

How about some good news? Today, instead of telling you ten thousand things you need to make sure that you are doing, or emphasizing how difficult it is to break into writing for print, I'm simply going to encourage you. That's right. Today is a pep talk!

I was not a good writer when I began. Seriously. I was pretty average, used cliches, and I made a ton of stupid mistakes. Still, here I am, many years later. Writing.

I'm stubborn and I wanted it badly. If you have tenacity and patience--I'm here to tell you--you probably can do this thing. (Oh, and you'll need a thick skin too!)

Pep talk time. Here are some things to do that will help keep you moving toward a career that includes writing for print publications:

Write down some goals. Say, 10 of them--and make them reasonable. Stick them in an envelope and post it somewhere by your desk. Don't open it for a year--then see how you've done. It's enlightening! Sometimes your goals have completely changed. Other times you reach them and move far beyond. It's a fun way to keep track.

Subscribe to mags you like. Yes. I'm telling you to buy magazines--and read them! Don't deny yourself the fun stuff just to save a few bucks. You need to read to write, and if you are going to shoot for the print world, you need to read magazines. Enjoy!

Keep a list of your accomplishments. Some days you are going to get discouraged. You'll want to quit. Keeping a list of your successes will help remind you how far you've come. Even if it's a short list, it can help boost your spirits. And remember...the list will continue to grow with time.

Some writers like to keep encouraging notes from editors they have worked with. Others, a list of magazines they have been published in. Whatever makes you feel good!

Join a group for writers. There's nothing like support to keep you from feeling like you are in this alone. Other writers can make sure you keep things in perspective, serve as a sounding board for ideas, critique your work and help celebrate your accomplishments.

Educate yourself. Read books by other writers in the genre. If you keep learning, you'll keep growing and getting better. If you keep getting better....well, you get the idea. It's within your power to move forward. Take advantage of that fact and do something about it.

Develop some good "self-talk". Don't allow yourself to say things like, "I'm never going to get published" or, "maybe I'm not good enough". Instead, keep the conversation positive. Phrases like, "I'm working hard toward this and it will pay off" or, "I'm creative and I just need to learn a bit more about how to harness that" can go a long way toward motivating you as a writer.

Print writing is a tough biz. But today isn't about that. Today is about all the things you can do to get your spirits up and keep moving forward.

Can anyone else add to the mix? Feel free! Let's really make this post peppy!


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Catherine L. Tully has over nine years of experience writing for magazines such as American Style, AAA Living and Boys' Life. She is the editor for an award-winning blog on freelance writing and also owns and edits a blog for dance professionals.

2 thoughts on “A Pep Talk For Print Writers”

  1. Great post, Catherine. I think it puts into perspective how even we vets were new and inexperienced once. Confidence comes from knowledge and knowledge comes from falling down a few times and getting back up. Cushioning the fall with education and self-esteem building really helps keep writers on track.

  2. A wise man (totally different that a “wise guy”) once told me that success is not there for the gifted, it’s there for the stubborn and those who persevere despite failure and set backs. Want it and work hard at it.

    Love the tip about reading magazines. “You need to read to write, and if you are going to shoot for the print world, you need to read magazines.” Smart and oh so true.


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