So you want to be a writer when you grow up. Better yet,
you want to be a writer now. The trouble is, boring lessons
keep getting in the way of your ambitions. Am I right so
far? If you're going to be a writer, you need to build up
a broad base of learning.
I was an able but lazy student and tended to zone out in
class when a topic didn't grab my attention. And I was well
into middle age before I became a full-time writer. Perhaps
if I'd shown more interest in my school work it would have
happened a lot sooner. At any rate, here are five good
reasons why you should listen to your teachers.
1) English is your favorite subject but you don't like
the assigned books. They're old-fashioned and the language
archaic. Most of all, you think Shakespeare is the most
overrated author of all time. I'm with you there. But the
Bard has one particular thing going for him: he practically
invented the English language as we know it. Visit www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented and see
how you'd manage without the old guy. You don't have to like
his plays if they're really not for you; I sympathise totally.
Perhaps you have a school magazine that would welcome a
critical piece on a Shakespeare work. After all, you need to
develop your critical faculty for your writing career.
2) Geography is full of boring facts and figures. You're
not really interested in who grows what, or what the climate
is like, or what that particular range of mountains is called.
Well, you should try cultivating an interest in the world
beyond your own little corner of it. You may want to be a
travel writer one day. A bit of background knowledge could
come in very useful in the future. So pay attention and take
another look at those maps you found so dull! Then visit this
website for the trip of a lifetime: www.moxon.net/
3) History is mostly about dead people, right? A really
good teacher can bring them to life for you, so listen
carefully. Alternatively, why not try writing about your
own dead people? By that I mean research your own family
history. Start digging for ancestors at: http://expertgenealogy.com/free/ then record their story
for future generations.
4) So science leaves you cold. But what about science
fiction? Ah, I thought that would make you sit up and take
notice. You need to know the rules of science if you're
going to bend them for fictional purposes. Pay attention
in class and ask intelligent questions if you want to write
believable science fiction. Then visit www.writesf.com/ and
5) You hate math with a passion. You get panic attacks
when confronted with a column of figures. It's a common
symptom in people who love words. Nevertheless, you'll
need to know how to work out your earnings when you become
a best-selling author. Make friends with your math teacher,
get out your calculator and practice counting those dollars!
Mary Cook is a UK-based freelance writer and editor whose
articles, poems and short stories have appeared in numerous
publications, both in print and online. She loves words but
struggles with numbers. She worked in mainstream education
for many years before taking up writing full time.
Always keep writing.
We cover elementary to college teens. Each week we
carry 12 or so opportunities for all ages. Read each
market closely. Some cover a wide range and others
address a very small age group. Always read the directions!
We need guest articles. Have you considered writing a
guest article for WritingKid? Are you a student, a parent,
a teacher? All are eligible. Just make sure the topic
touches upon writing and runs no more than 500-550 words.
Those under 16 receive the book of their choice. Those
over 16 receive $10-$20, depending on the quality of the
piece, the amount of editing required and the obvious
amount of research. Send any submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and label it SUBMISSION TO
Writers of all ages are strongly encouraged. Winners published
on the website and in the magazine. Entries must be under 900
words and written for children ages 6-11. Entries can be
written on any age appropriate subject. Deadline December
27, 2010. Winners announced in January.
JUST FOR KIDS http://just4kidsmagazine.com/writer_guidelines.html
Just For Kids Magazine is a magazine designed for families
with toddlers to teens, Just 4 Kids Magazine offers
wholesome readings that teach about God's love, His Son
Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Each issue
is built around a specific theme with material that can
be used by children in a variety of ways. Scripture
stories, fiction, poetry, prayers, art, graphics,
puzzles, and activities are included. Submitted articles
should help children experience a Christian lifestyle.
Seasonal material is appropriate. We welcome submissions
from children. Just 4 Kids Magazine is interdenominational,
and our readers include persons of many cultures and ethnic
Stories and articles: Up to 10 cents/word
Family Devotions: $10 and up
Poetry: $5 and up
Activities, games: $5 and up
Art and Drawings: $5 and up
CHRISTOPHER TOWER POETRY PRIZES http://www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize
NO ENTRY FEE
Students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write
a poem on the theme of 'Simplicity'. Launched in 2000, the Tower
Prizes are already established as among the most prestigious
literary awards for this age group. The first prize is £3,000,
with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize-winners.
In addition to individual prizes, the students' schools and
colleges also receive cash prizes. Write a poem, of no more
than 48 lines, on the theme of 'Simplicity'. Deadline March
11, 2011. Entrants must be in full or part-time education at
a school, college or other educational institution in the United
THE FRIEND http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp
Please send children's submissions to Friend Editorial,
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2430, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-
3220 in care of Our Creative Friends, Friends in the News,
Friends by Mail, or Trying to Be Like Jesus. In order for a
child's submission to be considered for publication, a written
statement by a parent or legal guardian granting permission to
publish the child's photo and submission must be included.
You can also e-mail us at email@example.com. The Friend is
a children's magazine published by The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.
RIGHT TO GOD CONTEST http://www.righttogod.com/Rules.html
NO ENTRY FEE
This month's contest is open to essays, fiction and poetry
in adult and youth categories. The topic is wide open:
everyday people and their (your) personal connection to God.
All entries will also be considered for publication in the
2011 book, Echoes of the Right to God from everyday people.
First prize is $100 for each category and publication in
Echoes of The Right to God online magazine (and possible
publication in a future print compilation). Keep it around
1,000 words. Additional prizes may be awarded, at the
discretion of the judges. Contest opens December 15, 2010.
Entry deadline is February 15, 2011.
The categories are:
Youth: 15 and under
Adult: 16 and over (note that adult category winners under
18 require parent or guardian permissions)
CHILDREN'S PRESSLINE http://www.cplmedia.org/want_to_join.html
Children's PressLine gives kids a voice and the power to use it!
We are a non-profit, media organization serving youth in New
York City, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Using journalism as
a tool, Children's PressLine taps into the natural curiosity of
young people. Children's PressLine (CPL) engages children in the
journalism process to ensure that:
children grow up as active participants and leaders in civic
adults and policymakers are provided with the information they
need to make informed decisions on issues facing today's youth.
children become life long learners.
Go online for how to get involved if you live in these areas.
You can be a child or teen, a college intern, a volunteer,
teacher or youth practitioner or support.
Cost: $10 for early birds (if submitted by January 15, 2011);
$15 standard entry fee.
THEME: In today's world, we see economic hardship and other
troubles all around us, whether in Europe, North America, or
the developing world. How has your faith grown through
difficult situations and hard times? How has God helped you
or your family with a particular great need? Judges will be
looking for well-written, heart-warming, realistic stories
that portray the importance of family, sincere Christian values,
and faith in God. Deadline March 17, 2011. Length: 1,500 to
Young Professional (17 thru 90+):
1st Prize: $600
2nd Prize: $300
Three Runner Ups: $150 each.
Two Honorable Mentions
Aspiring Writer (12 thru 16):
1st Prize: $300
2nd Prize: $200
Three Runner Ups: $100 each.
Two Honorable Mentions
English as Second Language (International):
1st Prize: $100
ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE THE NUMBER ONE http://www.OneIsNotALonelyNumber.com
The Contest begins at 11:11 PM Eastern Time on January 1,
2011, and entries must be received by 11:11 p.m. Eastern Time
on January 11, 2011. To enter, go to website and click on the
link to enter the contest. Fill out the personal information
form and type in one word to describe the number one, along
with a sentence explaining your entry. Only one entry per
person. There is no fee to submit an entry. One Originality
Winner will receive an iHome iA5 App Enhanced Alarm Clock
Speaker System For iPhone/iPod and a signed copy of One is
Not a Lonely Number. One Sweepstakes Winner will win a Vivitar
DVR410 Pocket Video Camcorder and a signed copy of One is Not
a Lonely Number.
COLOUR MATTERS SCHOOL POETRY COMPETITION http://www.colourmatters.org/mainpages/04-competitions.html
The competition is for poems on the theme of a single or
several colours. The poems should be illustrated by hand in
the French style of 'Le Pauvre Poème' in which one may be
imaginative in designing the layout and the form of the poem
on the page. The competition is open to students in both
primary and secondary schools, the rules are the same for both:
The poem will have a maximum of 12 lines illustrated by the
author - a synthesis of words and pictures. Book tokens to the
value of £15 each will be awarded to the best entries. In
addition the school that supplies the overall winning entry
will receive a copy of 'Colour Matters' by Jocelyn Simms.
Schools may submit any number of entries on behalf of their
pupils for an entry fee of £0.50 per poem. An anthology of
the poems and illustrations will be available in mid 2011.
Judges are Jocelyn and Gordon Simms.
Closing date 31 March 2011.
William Saroyan is one of the most famous personalities
to emerge from the Fresno area. Limit 2-3 pages. First
place $100, second place $75, third place $50. Prizes
awarded in each age group: Grades 1-2, grades, 3-4,
grades 5-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, college. Students
with special needs are also encouraged to participate.
Must use entry form online.
Contact WritingKid (the Business Stuff)
FundsforWriters/Writing Kid make no warranty as to the
accuracy of the contests, awards, etc. but we do try to
check them out in advance to the best of our ability.