Maybe you’ve heard this saying before, “Practice makes perfect.” Often we think of this quote as referring to an athlete or a musician—but what about a writer? What roles does practice play in the development of the craft of writing?
The truth is: everything.
Practice has everything to do with honing the craft of being a writer. It is only through repetition and—get ready for it—actually writing, that a person aspiring to grow as a writer can ultimately improve their gifts.
Imagine an athlete, or even a musician, who only shows up for the competition or the performance, without putting in the hard hours of training and practice. How successful will they be in the quest to become what they’ve dreamed of being? Sadly, there are many people who are in love with the idea of writing, but when it comes to the actual blood and sweat of writing, few are found.
If you are serious about being a writer, then take this to heart—practice makes perfect. To that end, here are just a few ideas to begin to prime the pump in regards to finding outlets for the development of your craft:
Start a Blog. What once used to be the domain of eclectic narcissism has now become a viable outlet for writers. One of the benefits of starting a blog is the discipline it creates for writing. Namely, once you have one, you have a need to fill it with content. Starting a blog also allows you to opportunity to work with “new material,” often receiving almost instant feedback in the form of reader comments. Writing for a blog also offers practice in keeping things concise and focused, as well as an opportunity to learn about self-editing your own material—all skills desirable in the writing world.
Find Places to Submit Articles. A quick survey of the web could turn up dozens of websites and online journals that are open to submissions. Many authors have worked cold submissions into featured articles and even a regular column. Take some time to begin to explore matches for your writing content and style. Contact the editor and ask about the submission process. Some websites and online journals have a page that outlines submission requirements and how to submit articles for consideration.
Investigate Local Media Outlets. Local newspapers or community magazines are constantly looking for new voices and fresh perspectives. Do a quick Google search for the local media outlets near you. Send an email to the managing editor inquiring about writing possibilities. Much like websites and online journals, they will most likely ask for a writing resume and a sample of your work. Be sure to have these ready beforehand, if at all possible.
Hopefully this just begins the process of finding ways to put your writing skills into practice. There are a myriad more avenues out there awaiting to be explored!
// Mike DeVries