Tools of the Trade

In days gone by a writer could get by with a stack of parchment paper and finely sharpened quill pens to create and market his craft. Today a handwritten manuscript would immediately be tossed in the trash by any editor or publisher. If you want to be taken seriously in the art of writing, you must have the proper tools.

The most important tool of the modern day writer is the computer. Along with Microsoft Word, it is the paper and pen of the industry.

Internet access is a must. It can give you immediate and up to date information about publishing companies when you look on their websites for submission guidelines. You can also find valuable resources and archive files that would be too far away to travel to. Once you start getting your work published, you will need a blog and/or a website to attract readers.

Since a writer is a crafter of words, we sometimes need help finding creative alternatives in order not to sound repetitious. A good thesaurus is a must on your bookshelf. Some other helpful books for writing may include William Strunk, Jr.’s “Elements of Style”, along with “Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript,” by Cynthia Laufenberg.

Don’t forget to get a Writer’s Market Guide. It contains a wealth of information, especially the names and contact information of publishers who might be interested in your work.

Once you have your words down on paper, you will need a good printer. I prefer a laser printer since the pages come out sharp and clean.

These tools are a must to any writer. But in order to be successful in this industry, you must have the creativity it takes to tell your story, the determination to do your homework in order to research your stories and the company you wish to submit to, and the perseverance to keep at it even when the rejection letters keep piling in.

Writing is not just about telling a good story. You need to use the tools of the trade that will get you noticed and lead you to that time when an editor will finally say, “We want it!”

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