Freelance Blog + writing

Guest Post: 4 Lessons for New Writers

By Patricia Robb

I only began writing in August, but I have very quickly learned some valuable lessons along the way:

  1. Is that your final answer? Don't submit an article to an editor until you are finished to the best of your ability. In the beginning I submitted articles and then kept changing my mind and sending the newer and improved versions to the editors with an e-mail to explain I liked this one better and could they please use it instead. I can just imagine the collective cringes of the editors as they received the multiple versions of my articles. Which one was the final version? In two instances the wrong version was actually published with incorrect information. Thankfully it was only for a local newsletter, but I got the message. Only submit when finished.
  2. May I quote you? You need permission to quote someone if you are using their material, is another lesson I had to learn. As I was frantically trying to get permission to quote for an item I used in an article that had already gone to print, it was brought home to me the importance of getting permissions early on and not during publication.
  3. Sounds like... The art of paraphrasing has become my new way of reporting a fact. I have discovered that you can still properly quote information by paraphrasing a quote and referencing where you got the information. A quote from a reliable source gives weight to your article.
  4. Consider the source. The reliability of the person or site you are quoting from is also very important. I had gone on one site in October and they had quoted 20 million and when I went back in November it had been changed to 10.5 million which would have affected my credibility as a writer if the wrong information had gone out. Check your sources to make sure they are reliable.

Yes, I have had some close calls. I think at times one of my editors must have thought I was a psycho author as I madly e-mailed my concerns to him each day before the article was printed. But I survived and now I can truly call myself a freelance writer and a published author and that has made it all worth it. The next step will be to see my article in print and I am eagerly anticipating that.

Patricia Robb is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada and writes a blog for administrative assistants. Her blog is called Laughing all the Way to Work: The Ultimate Secretarial Survival Blog

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Guest Post: 4 Lessons for New Writers + writing