Friday, September 24, 2010

How To Start Writing Without Writing Mills by C. Hope Clark

Today, I’d like to share an informative piece written by C. Hope Clark.  Hope has been sharing her wisdom and insight with other writers for a number of years.  Her newsletters offering grant information and other funding sources are unique in their content.


I had this question posed to me recently, and it gave me pause. "If writing mills aren't good for a writer, how does a writer get started?"

Having written before there were writing mills, I was puzzled why the writer didn't know. Then I thought about new writers, and how a simple Google query pops up mill after mill. Freelance gigs are awash with the professed "opportunities."

To a novice in the biz, these mills seem like the simplest way to cut your teeth. As a result, they don't learn how the serious writers got their start. Then when the gigs quit working for them, or they discover that the pay is worse than peanuts, they start scouting for "life after mill writing."

Bottom line is research markets, seeking an understanding of what they need for their readers.

1. Subscribe or purchase a Writer's Market.
2. Subscribe to newsletters like FundsforWriters.
3. Read actual publications that you like.
4. Visit bookstores and study the periodical racks.
5. Visit libraries and study several issues of a particular periodical so you can identify their needs in trends.

1. Search for the online versions of the magazines you enjoy or know well.
2. Offer to guest blog.
3. Accept column and blog gigs for commercial blogs (but be careful for the scams and the 20 articles for $5 deals).
4. Study the scam and warning sites like:
5. Search Facebook, Twitter and the like for magazines and writing groups to follow and catch opportunities.
And nothing beats joining writing organizations and their forums, chats and listservs where the experienced can
educate you for free. Scams are quickly slammed, and the good markets are heartedly endorsed. Yes, getting started freelance writing is like any other freelance business. You start slow, work hard, don'tgive up, and decide to weather the learning curve until you have it down pat.  And yes, it's harder than slinging articles that took you fifteen minutes to write. But oh the rewards when you finally get it right.

C. Hope Clark
Read FFW Small Markets online at:
Read archives at:


  1. Despite the bulk of information online we often fail to get the specific information which is needed this post is good & contains relevant information that I was in quest of .I appreciate your efforts in preparing this post.

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  2. Dissertation, I'm glad you found this useful. I will pass your comments along to Hope.