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The Creative Writer's Secret to Making a Living Writing
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Deborah Owen



Ms. Deb, as her students affectionately call her, is the CEO & Founder of Creative Writing Institute, and the former A-1 Writing Academy (now defunct).

"The A-1 Academy was a pilot program built within the virtual walls of a large writer's group," said Deborah. "In the first year we drew 600 students, but I wanted to reach the public. In another year Creative Writing Institute was created. It is a high-quality, low cost writing school with full-time mentors and small classes. Even distressed students and seniors can afford our prices."

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By Deborah Owen
Published on January 1, 2009
 

Creative writers – make a lot of money writing for newspapers The writing is easy, you don't have to worry about "Show, Don't Tell," and you can resell the articles all over the country with simultaneous submissions



Creative writers – make a lot of money writing for newspapers. The writing is easy, you don't have to worry about "Show, Don't Tell," and you can resell the articles all over the country with simultaneous submissions.

Most average sized cities have a local newspaper that accepts admissions from amateur writers. This is your market. If you have political views you want to share, the Opinion Editor or Op-Ed section is a good place to start. Write with conviction and zest and the editor will most likely accept your piece. He will, however, edit it for grammar and cut parts he deems unnecessary. If they have a guideline, follow it to the letter.

You will get about $15 for each article, and $5 for each picture they use. A normal 35 mm camera is usually good enough. Most newspapers need a reporter for PTA meetings and sometimes for sports events. Okay, so it's not much, but you can resell one article about an upcoming holiday as many times as you want to. One article can easily make you $200.

Make a file on the newspapers that accept your work. This is your gold mine. These are the people you send Christmas cards to – the people you become personally acquainted with – the people you network with – and the people you become friends with. These people are your livelihood – and this is how writers make a living. Maybe not a plush living, but a modest one. It isn't easy, but it works.

When you write articles, you have to be fast. You don't worry a lot about how you phrase things as long as you use (near) proper English. Most of the rules you learned for writing short stories won't apply there. You can use passive sentences. You can "tell" instead of "showing". You don't have to use graceful sentences, but used jazzed up verbs.

Make your submissions directly to the editor. Call the newspaper to learn his or her name, and write it down. Be sure you get the spelling right. Google "U.S. Newspapers" and you can select the papers by state.

So where do you get your articles? What do you write about? Have you ever wondered how something works, or where certain things come from? How about people who have an unusual talent or a special hobby?

The secret to reselling a newspaper article is that it needs to have a broad appeal – such as an article on how Father's Day began. If you were submitting to a magazine, you would have to submit at least three to four months ahead, but not so with newspapers. Send your article in two weeks ahead.

Still having a hard time thinking of what to write about? Check the latest version of Writer’s Market if you have nothing specific in mind. Browsing the non-fiction section will give you an idea of what kinds of articles are being published.

This is enough to get you off to a good start.