Even if you have a good background in English, good sentence structure, and are talented beyond your wildest dreams, you will still need the inside dope on how to sell what you write. Writing classes will teach you how to target a market, research it, write for a specific magazine, establish a rapport with editors, and have the self-confidence to properly present yourself.

Shortcuts are only for people with natural-born talent or geniuses. If you are neither of these, roll up your shirtsleeves and get ready to labor with the rest of us. Anything worth having is worth sacrificing for.

Do you need a punctuation review course? Do you need a brush-up course on proper sentence structure? Do you need to learn "Show, Don’t Tell"? Establish your lowest point of writing knowledge and start there. 

Most people can begin selling articles in their first year. The non-fiction market pays well, and it will fund your short story courses, which take a little longer to master. Most people can begin selling in one or two years, regardless of which avenue they take.

Note: More than half the writers who attend school drop out because they don’t set good study habits. Lay aside 60-90 minutes a week for homework, and you’ll do fine. Some people do this by using 15 minutes of their lunch hour daily, or staying up 15 minutes later at night. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.

You are worth the investment. Step out and do something you really want. You can write. Almost anyone can, if they have some guidance. If you stick with it, you WILL learn.  

If you would like an honest evaluation of your writing skills, send a 1,000 word story OR a 200 word article to me at deborahowen@cwinst.com. Title it Free Evaluation. I will analyze the stories for imagery, characterization, dialog, structure, plot, and Show, Don’t Tell. Articles will be graded on structure, strength, snappy verbs, grouping thoughts, verbiage, and presentation.