Thursday, October 25, 2007

If You Want to Write...

The latest in our weekly blog series of small tips for bigger results in this writing life.

The How-to of How-Tos, Mini Edition

A how-to article is just that: an article which tells you how to (or how NOT to) do something. These are extremely useful to write, because there is a need. Remember that it is easier to get published in nonfiction than in fiction. Fiction is by no means impossible; nonfiction is just easier. There is a huge demand for nonfiction articles.

The drawback for WriTeens in writing how-to articles is we barely have our high school diplomas, let alone any kind of PhD in a field that qualifies us to write about garter snake management. Our expertise, then, can only be what we've experienced. Did you have a huge garter snake problem in your garden? How did you deal with it? Were there one or three solutions? Can you remember them?

When I was in school, I had several awful experiences with substitute teachers. These people did not know how to sub, how to handle a room full of teenagers or how to speak to them. I just sold an article about two weeks ago to a teaching resources website on the DON'Ts of high school substitutes. Am I an expert? No. Have I experienced these things? You bet.

We'll talk later in detail about how-to articles, and also how to use your "inexperience" as an edge to get published. For now, think about the challenges you've faced in school, at home or with friends, and freewrite about how you solved them. Is there an article in there?

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