Feature Writers and Columnists: Make Your Writing Shine

Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality FeaturesAs feature writers and columnists, keep these tips uppermost in your mind.

1) If you don’t know what to write about, look around you, go out and do something, and observe. Drive past something–a business or an organization, and write about it.

2) Always have an inquiring mind before and during the time you’re writing.

3) Make sure your statements aren’t ambiguous or need clarification. Get your facts right.

4) Make your writing not only clear and effective, but graceful–not long and choppy.

5) Anything that gets between you and your readers, such as misspellings, sloppy punctuation, or bad word choice is a barrier to communication.

6) Don’t insult or offend anyone.

7) Practice, practice, practice. The more you write, the easier it gets.

8) Be committed to revising everything you write.

9) Once you’ve gotten published in a particular publication, don’t wait for the editor to assign you something else. Query the editor and follow up by phone.

10) Be reliable with editors. Meet your deadlines.

Remember that writing liberates you. You are free to be creative in your work. If you need more ideas, read my books that have been Featured Selections of Writer’s Digest Book Club. They are “Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features” and “You Can Be A Columnist.”

Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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