From Our Newsletter

Yesterday the newest issue of “The Practicing Writer,” our free monthly newsletter for fictionists, poets, and creative nonfiction writers, went out to our subscribers. As usual, this issue includes plenty of submission calls, contest announcements, and more (including many items not previously listed here at the blog).

Each newsletter issue also contains a feature article. Below you’ll find the one included in this issue, written to complement the recent publication of our newest resource guide, WRITERS’ MARKETS: Where to Sell What You Write When You Write About Writing. (UPDATE, July 19, 2007: This e-book is no longer available.)

Hope you enjoy this look into our newsletter! If you want to read past issues/articles, they’re archived (for subscribers only) here.

WRITING ON WRITING: 10 WAYS TO WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW BEST

by Erika Dreifus

If there’s one subject practicing writers know, it’s writing. And for those who’d like to convert this expertise into paid publication, opportunities abound. Not sure what I mean? Consider these 10 types of “writing on writing”:

1. Craft/”how-to” articles. Instructional pieces form the proverbial meat-and-potatoes of many, if not most, writing magazines and newsletters. You’ll need some genuine expertise here. Don’t try to tell other people how to write a (presumably publishable) short story if you’ve never completed one yourself. Don’t offer tips on book promotion if you’ve never promoted a book.

2. Market updates/profiles. These articles, often including information for those who want to break in to a specific niche, are also staples of many writing publications. I’ve written about literary magazines, alumni magazines, family history magazines, and more.

3. Essays on “the writing life.” If you have something new to say–something other than a familiar story about rejection, for instance–try some of the writing magazines that look for these pieces. (Humor is often a plus.)

4. Poems on “the writing life.” Yes, it’s true. Some publications actually do seek poetry specifically about writing. Again, better to “make it new,” as Ezra Pound advised.

5. Interviews/Profiles. Think outside the box here. Writing magazines publish interviews with agents and editors as well as with poets and writers. Find out where a writer went to college–the alumni magazine may well be interested in a profile. Where does the writer live? Look into the relevant city/regional magazines.

6. Literary travel pieces. You can pitch some writing magazines with these, but don’t forget travel publications, including newspaper travel sections.

7. Literary education pieces and/or reading lists. Time these to coincide with National Poetry Month (April, in the United States and Canada); National Book Month (October); Back-to School, etc.

8. Book reviews. Write about books on writing and/or writers’ memoirs. Don’t limit yourself to writing-focused publications for placements here. A memoir, in particular, may hold wide appeal for a general readership. (For more book review markets, consult our own Directory of Paying Markets for Book Reviewers).

9. College/Career Columns. Don’t forget that writing is a part of academic life. I once sold an article to a publication for college students advising collegians how to negotiate the senior thesis-writing process. I sold another article to a parenting publication advising parents on seeing their kids through the college application essay process. And while it may not be easy to remember during breaks between paychecks and publications, writing is a career option, and it’s one others want to know about.

10. Op-eds. Writers can (and have) opined, frequently in major newspapers and magazines, on everything from the writing section of the new SAT to the qualities that should define a memoir.

So go ahead, fellow writers. Write on.

© Copyright 2006 Erika Dreifus. All rights reserved.

Bio: In addition to her fiction and her other freelance work, Erika Dreifus has published more than 150 writing-related articles, essays, interviews, op-eds, and book reviews since 2003 in The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Poets & Writers, and many other print and online publications. Visit her Web site and/or her blog for much more writing advice and commentary.

This article may be freely reprinted provided it is unchanged and is reprinted in its entirety, from title through bio. Please send a courtesy reprint to erikadrei-at-yahoo-dot-com. Thank you!

New Paying Publication for Poets

Zoland Poetry, an annual anthology of contemporary poetry from poets worldwide, is a new venture from Steerforth Press. Each book will include original English language poems, work in English translation, and interviews/recent work by featured poets. Submissions are now welcome for the second anthology. Pays $25/page, up to $200. Purchases First World Rights, non-exclusive one-time anthology rights, and the right to publish part of the work on the Web site. Authors and translators also receive one copy with payment. Deadline: February 1, 2007. Find out more here.

More from Robert Pinsky

Last week I referred to Robert Pinsky’s review of David Rivard’s new book. This week I’m happy to point to Pinsky again. In Sunday’s Poet’s Choice column in the Washington Post, Pinsky presents a poem, “Urban Renewal,” from Major Jackson’s new book, Hoops. For Seamus Heaney fans, Pinsky connects Jackson’s poem with Heaney’s well-known “Digging.”

Major Jackson is another writer I admire not only for his poetry, but because he’s a genuinely nice person. It’s always nice to see good things happening to good people. I hope Pinsky’s article brings even more attention to Jackson’s already very well-regarded work.

Thumbs Up for David Rivard

I met poet David Rivard a couple of months back, when he gave a reading during the Lesley University low-residency MFA program’s winter residency. He’s a great poet and a great guy (as the writer friend with whom I attended the reading–a neighbor of Rivard and his family–attests). So I was really pleased to see Robert Pinsky’s glowing review of Rivard’s new book, Sugartown, in the Washington Post. If Rivard is reading near you, go hear him!

Arranging a Poetry Collection

If you’re a poet, short story writer, or essayist, you’ve probably spent some time (and maybe a lot of time) thinking about ways to structure a collection. In the April Writer’s Digest, Paola Corso offers some tips on how poets can go about this. And the article is available online, too.

Attention, Ohio Poets!

Starting next week you can submit poetry for the Akron Art Museum’s New Words 2006 Poetry Competition, open to (adult) poets currently residing in Ohio. Submit only previously unpublished work beginning January 2, 2006 (postmark deadline is February 24, 2006). The top three winners will receive cash prizes ($125, $100, and $75, respectively). The top eight finalists will be invited to participate in a reading to be held Sunday, April 30, in Akron. For full details/submission guidelines, click here.