Writing is something that I have dreamed about most of my life. In the last several years have been pursuing that dream with a focus on success. Along the way I have discovered a number of tools, websites and people that have encouraged, redirected and motivated me to the place where I can say "I AM a writer."
Writer's Market - not only do you get a list of most of the publications and what they are looking for but each addition of the Writer's Market includes some great tips and samples for improving your writing. There is also an online version that makes finding potential gigs just a word search away.
How to Make Money for Beginners - okay, so maybe his language is a little rough but he shoots straight and has some time (and money) saving tips for writers on all levels!
ChrisG.com - he is all about the business of blogging and new media. The latest post I read was about who to trust, when to trust and when to test theories.
Conferences - Each year there are hundreds of conferences (day, weekend, week-long) all around the world. You are sure to find at least one in your own back yard. I attend the Southern Christian Writer's Conference each year because it is near home, extremely reasonable and I make great friends and contacts each year. This conference (like most of them) offers classes, courses and even one on one opportunities with agents, editors and publishers.
Classes and courses - it is surprising the number of places you can take writing, internet and other similar courses. Workshops, colleges and even bookstores have something for everyone (and at a price anyone can afford because some of them are free!).
The Writing Journey - this is another website that is helpful for writers at all levels and in all different genres. The last few posts have been a series on starting a freelance business.
Freelance-Zone - another website that I have only recently uncovered (and quickly added to my favorites list). It regularly shares ideas and tips for working smarter (instead of harder) to build a successful freelance writing career. The most recent post that I have read was all about basic ways to improve your writing.
Books, books and more books - reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing skills and also to know what others are reading (so you know what you can market). I try to read one fiction per month and one nonfiction per month (but with young children in the home sometimes all I get to read is The Cat in the Hat).
Magazines - I HATE having magazines sitting round the house, but you can't write for them if you don't know their style or needs. I just read about a new service in the December 2008 Issue of The Writer "a great tool in its own rights" about Time Inc. new launch called MAGHOUND. Instead of getting a paper copy of magazines you can subscribe online and even switch which magazines your online subscription covers. This could be one of the greatest tools for writers ever if it works out.
This is in no way a complete list because for me the list keeps growing and changing. The idea is to get out and find others that can help you understand the good, the bad and the ugly of freelance writing so you can begin converting your hobby into the dream occupation that you desire.
This article was featured on Freelance Friday - Nov. 7, 2008 at All Freelance Writing.