Professional Writing

This was one of the ecourses offered at Suite101 University. The site is taking down this section, sometime soon. I wanted to keep the content available. It’s well worth keeping.

Professional Writing

By Sara Quest


Do you long to call yourself a professional? By taking this two-week course, you will be. This course will provide you with enough resources and contacts to keep your career as a professional writer going long after you’ve stopped reading.

The rewarding career is about to begin: you will be creating your own free websites, which will be nothing short of an online party for professional minded writers. The site will reveal the services you aim to offer future clients. This is an efficient and necessary avenue for displaying and updating services, and for allowing potential clients to view them.

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Writing a Top 10 Sort of List Post

Listverse is a fun site to browse through. But, I don’t know why writers would submit a post there.

  1. Listverse wants to keep all rights to any content they choose to publish.
  2. Listverse will add your name or pen name to the post you have written but I did not see any type of author bio or a link back to the original author’s site, Twitter account, or anything else. Maybe if you have a really unusual name and people bothered to look for you, they could find you online. In my case, it’s not very likely. I know there are two other people with my same name right in the small city I live in, let alone the rest of the planet.
  3. Writers are not paid for their submissions. Consider it a contribution. I hope they at least send out “thank you” notes.

So, yes, you may get a lot of feedback to your list post. But, is there a point to it? Are you a bean counter (comment counter in this case) or are you a writer?

Other than that, here are the basic requirements for writing a list post, from the Listverse site.

Writing a List

6. Include an introductory paragraph for the list
7. Write between 100 – 200 words per item
8. Optionally include links to youtube clips or image URLs if appropriate

You may get in the mood to write a list post after reading a few on their site. But, keep it for your own site. Or try it as a guest post on a site that does give full credit with links back to the writer. Or, a site that gives you an author bio as well as links. Or, a site that doesn’t ask for every last right they can take for your work. Or, how about some of the sites that actually pay the writers?

Writer Response Theory

Found on a long abandoned blog.

WRT: Writer Response Theory is a blog on digital character art — digital art that makes use of letters. Our focus is interactive works in which users input text and receive textual responses. Our URL plays on Reader Reponse Theory – how do reader/writers change the works they encounter via textual input? We are writers responding to theory and a theory responding to writers. We read ASCII art, blog fiction, chatbots, email fiction, e-poetry, hypertext fiction, and interactive ficition (IF).

Writer Response Theory

Writing Editorials

Originally from Suite101 University, a free ecourse posted a few years ago. I’ve saved the information here because there is a lot worth keeping and I don’t know what will happen to all of it now that Suite101 is closing this area of their site.

Writing Editorials

By Jason Reeher


Welcome to the Suite University course on writing newspaper editorials. In this course, you can learn effective techniques for writing letters to the editor, then submit your opinions to everything from your local newspaper to national publications. Valuable for anyone interested in public affairs, current events, and pop-culture, this course will help the student to develop a writing interest, as well as hone argumentative and persuasive writing skills. This course is great for beginning writers, as well as those interested in scientific disciplinary writing, print journalism, editorial processes, and public policy discourse.

Writing newspaper opinions is a great way to gain expression for your writing. With relatively little time invested, you can learn to produce concise, effective and persuasive editorials on a regular basis. Perhaps the most exciting element is that YOU can choose your subject based upon public interest and current relevancy. By learning what subjects are most important to your target community, whether it’s local property taxes or “American Idol,” you become part of the public discourse when your opinion is published. This course can help you get there.

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Are Workshops Any Good?

Are Workshops Any Good? – Reprinted from the WordCraft newsletter on

If you can find the right Workshop group, it can be invaluable. These are people who care about you. They are people who want you to succeed. They are people who will honestly tell you what you have done well and what needs improvement. They will never attack you personally.

A writer’s group can provide you with the essential feedback that you need. For many years I made the trip from the Outback of Nevada to Carson City to attend Ash Canyon Poets weekly poetry workshop. There were a few rules:
1. Bring a copy of your poem for everyone in the group.
2. Read your poem aloud to the group as they follow along.
3. Comment on the poem.
4. If is your poem, listen to the comments.
5. There are no personal attacks.
6. You have the option to accept or reject the comments given.
7. Everyone has a right to be heard.

There were a few unspoken rules. Everyone is at a different stage of development, and we respect that. The youngest were in their teens and the oldest were in their 80’s. Some were published, and some were just beginning to write.

Ash Canyon Poets is a support group for poets. It is a group who encourages poetry in all venus. It respects all forms of poetry. And it does encourage writers to publish when they are ready. Ash Canyon saw me through the first years of writing. They were there and cheered for me when the first publication came. They are still there encouraging poets in Northern Nevada. That group is one of the few groups of people I sorely miss after having moved to the Midwest.

Today I quit two online groups. One group was supposedly a support group for writers. I never saw one critique but I did see a lot of publishing to the list. The other was a list I had belonged to for a number of years, but recently comments had degenerated to “it sucks” and “the poetry here is monumentally underwhelming.” Neither group was supportive. One was a ego group and the other became a group where, if you posted something that was a “work in progress” you were personally slammed and/or received nothing but negative criticism, if any.

Do I still believe in the value of workshops? Of course I do. The lessons learned at Ash Canyon Poets serve me well even today. And they are a model against which I will judge all other groups.

Will I continue to search for a group? Yes. I value the support and interaction between writers who have a common goal: becoming better writers and helping others do the same.

Do Some Writing

Reprinted from the WordCraft newsletter on BackWash.

It was late at night. I wandered into a Backwash chat. Had a good time. And I found myself saying “yes.” So, here I am, sending you a newsletter about writing, writers, books, literature, etc. And I have a difficult job to fill the shoes of she who precedes me. I hope I can do that.

What makes me think I can do this? I’ve taught writing for more years than I care to remember. I have published poetry. I read too much. I love words. I live to write.

Writing by nature is a lonely profession. No one sits with you and tells you what to write. You are alone with your thoughts. You sit alone and enter the world you are writing. And nothing frightens an artist (for that’s what you are) more than a blank sheet of paper. Whether you’re a creative writer or a writer of non-fiction, it is your goal to fill that page with words that will move people.

But there comes a time when you have to move out of your own world. You need contacts with other writers, readers who can critically look at your words. For many years not only did I spend time writing but also searched for a group of like-minded people. I was not only isolated by my passion, but by geography. I traveled the 120 miles to Carson City, Nevada, and the members of Ash Canyon Poets nurtured my growing art.

My point? Hie thee to a writers’ group. If you are in an isolated part of the country, search the Internet. There are groups of writers who will welcome you. There are fiction writers, fantasy writers, poets, mystery writers, non-fiction writers out there for you to find.

Also, read. If you are into anthropological fiction, find out what Jean Auel is writing. Who are some of her emulators and what are they writing? If you like lawyer/crime, see what John Grisham is doing now. If you like erotica, check out what is selling at this point in time.

This is enough for now. I do want to extend an invitation to anyone who has questions, suggestions or opinions to contact me. Your ideas are the ideas I build on for my columns and this newsletter.

Until next month, sharpen your pencils, file down your fingernails, and do some writing.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Connecting: This page will list those who are participating. It also allows for comments if you have an immediate need. This where we can help one another. Check this page whenever you visit – if you can help a fellow writer, hop over to their blog and offer assistance. Be watching for updates!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

via Alex J. Cavanaugh: The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

The Great Divide

I’ve been reading websites and blogs online for several years, especially blogs and sites created for writers. I couldn’t even try to look back and count how many I have read, how many I still follow or how many I find new. The numbers don’t really matter. Overall I have noticed one thing divides them all, one thing makes them have or have not. Real experience, really being published (online doing it yourself or being published with an online network just isn’t the same, it doesn’t give the same challenges).

Writers who have been published just know more, have that extra experience with the reality of writing. They have set goals, met them and moved on to new goals. Writers who have only been published online have a softer market, it’s easier to break into online writing when you can even set up your own publication and do it all yourself. Writing online, the main challenge is to find someone to read what you write. Writing in print the main challenge is to actually get written in print. To get the work finished, to get it written well by stricter standards than you will find online and to get it in print/ published. Then, you start to work on getting readers. It’s a longer haul and you don’t have the cushion of being online and being your own boss more or less.

So, this is my goal for 2012. I want to be published in print. Not a zine, I’ve done that. Not a magazine either. Although I have not done that I’m not as interested in magazine writing as a goal. I know I can write that type of content. I’ve been writing it for years online. I want more. I want to push myself, challenge myself to write a book and get it published. I’m not aiming too far over my own head. Just enough that I will be pleased with myself in the end and yet I don’t feel I’m setting myself up for a fall right from the start.

Wish me luck on crossing the great divide.

Create an Editorial Mission

From CopyBlogger: The 3-Step Cure for Boring, Useless Content

1) Create an editorial mission

Most trade journals and top-tier blogs have editorial missions. The editorial mission provides a compass, always guiding writers toward relevant subjects.
What do you stand for? What do you offer customers and readers?
Every company has unique knowledge it can share with customers. Understanding the middle ground between your company and the customer opens the door to value creation.
For more complex subject areas, develop specific topic areas. You or your writers can develop content for these “beats.”

I’ve never written out a detailed plan. I’m actually not good when it comes to things like focus, discipline, planning and details.

Do you Want to be a Movie Reviewer?

At this time of year people talk about movies and everyone has some kind of opinion. Could you write movie reviews, as an official, paid movie critic? It’s not for everyone. I’m happy on the sidelines, just offering my free advice and reviews to the general discussion.


Fab Job: Become a Movie Reviewer
Make Use of: How to Write a Movie Review Online and Earn Money Doing It
eHow: Money: How to Become a Film Critic
eHow: Money: Career as a Movie Critic
Freelance Writing: So You Want to be a Movie Critic
HubPages: How to be a Film and Movie Critic
Salary: Dream Job: Movie Critic
2BlowHards: Movie Reviewing: Job? Career? Calling?
Moviefone: Rough Cuts: How to Become a Movie Critic
The Guardian: Film Blog: What every film critic must know

Here is a movie review job. Not one I’d send anyone to apply for, they don’t sound very ethical or concerned about an honest review.

Movie Review Writers Needed: This job is always open so feel free to apply ignoring the job posting date.

We are looking for movie review writers to write reviews on various movies on regular basis. All the reviews should be positive review with critics in favour of positive points and no negative critics.

We will provide you the title and you have to write a positive review on them. The movies will be from all Genres such as Drama, Animation, Thriller, Comedy, Horror, Animation, Sci-fi etc.

Movies will include old, new and upcoming releases.

This is ongoing work. You will have to write movie reviews on regular basis.

Following are some of the terms for writing reviews

Reviews shall be in about 500 words
All reviews shall be unique and shall not be copied from any sources
All reviews shall be grammatically correct
Reviews would be our copyright so you can’t publish them in any media including Online
You have to write review with keywords stuffed in them. We will provide guidelines on which keywords to stuff in.
Ideally you should have watched the movie, if not then you will have to rewrite review based on official review release and other online reviews.