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Expanding Limits

The most enticing reality of being a writer is the fact that the job can be done anywhere. And if the writer plans ahead, it can pay for itself anywhere, too. 

Writer’s marketability insurance comes in the form of learning, studying, and anticipating future needs. Planning for those needs and contingencies takes work. 


Writers learn something new everyday if they want to remain marketable. It’s part of the job’s requirements. Workshops on various pertinent aspects of writing are added periodically to the work load. 

Part of the reasoning for this continuing education is that trends in the publishing business shift from year to year and sometimes from month to month. The shift can effect the types of stories in demand–think vampires here. Some workshops deal with how not to become trapped in such trends. 

A workshop might revolve around language usage in both print and online work. It could be something as seemingly innocuous as word definitions that change from traditional to contemporary. Or, it could be a discussion of those publishing terms, phrases, etc. that have fallen out of favor, along with those replacing the old ones. 

Workshops dealing with technology and software usage have become increasingly necessary for the freelancer. Those workshops concentrated on web design and social networking are in demand. Simply learning how to develop a viable and usable platform becomes fodder for workshops. 

Reading other writers’ blogs and websites also contributes to any writer’s learning curve. Studying style, attitude, approaches, both toward writing in general and public displays, helps writers evaluate their own offerings. Personal re-evaluation is always valuable time usage. 


Workshops are necessary and valuable tools for the writer. It’s true. Additional study of writing techniques comes in more formalized classwork most of the time, though. 

Taking a course in creative non-fiction can broaden a writer’s marketability into hitherto uncharted waters. This study can carve a new niche that allows the writer to share memoir pieces that wouldn’t fit the market earlier. It allows nostalgia to break through into print where before only a rejection slip arrived in the mail box. 

Expanding into a semester of poetry class can free up the Muse and teach the writer about an entirely different personal side and encourage a creativity that hadn’t yet been tapped. Poetry teaches many things about writing, not least of which is: focus, taut descriptive expression, metaphoric and symbolic expression, and observation of the surrounding world. 

In another direction, saturating oneself in a research methodology course can open up pathways that had always intimidated the writer. Technical and scientific writing is always in high demand and pays decent returns. A writer working on only short-term projects can usually find a number of these types of projects crying out for attention and get paid well for them. 

Anticipating Future Needs 

There comes a time for many writers when writing the same old stories, novels, essays, etc. just doesn’t excite the neurons like it once did. The writer wants to change styles, pen names, genres, whatever. When that feeling of personal dissatisfaction or boredom narrows its beady little eyes and dares the writer to make it go away, the tug-of-war between known work and unknown comes into play. 

One way to prevent that tug-of-war from ensuing is to anticipate that future need. The writer can dip a toe into the waters of something totally foreign and just as demanding in its own way. This exploration can be a vacation from the known writing projects. 

For example: the children’s literature devotee can try a hand at writing travel pieces. No real travel is necessary, really,  unless absolutely desired for additional vacation flavor. Concentration on sights and events close to home can make for a wonderful travel piece for those who haven’t seen them. 

Why would a writer want to do that? you ask. Most people take vacations each year. A weekend jaunt to the nearest ski lodge in cold January, if written well to standard, can pay for that trip. Regardless of the potential sale, however, the key is the change in attitude toward that ski weekend. Surroundings look and feel different because expectations, observations, and potential needs have also changed. 

All of this new observational detail adds to the writer’s artillery when putting any project into words, whether it’s a children’s story or a quick piece for the local paper. It keeps the writer’s existing skills honed and adds to them at the same time. It also allows the writer to think differently about the use of material available to them. 

Reaping the Rewards 

Any writer takes notes–mental, written, or taped. Using those notes for projects is exhilarating and energizing. When the writer can find between five and ten viable project ideas from one set of notes, the exhilaration goes into overdrive. 

Learning to take those multiple ideas, using the market studies that are mandatory for writers, creates future work that can prove profitable in many ways. No writer has to work in multiple genres. Shifting between genres, however, can broaden the writing experience and magnify the writer’s pleasure in the craft. 

Each keyboard pounder decides where to spend time with words. Whether full-time, part-time, or hobbyist, the writer sits before a smorgasbord of possible venues in which to express the life experience. As everyone knows, it always polite to sample at least a taste of each offering from the table. 

As always, a bientot, 


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