One writer writes to see his name in print, another for money, another for fame, or to do good. The professional writer writes to command a more plentiful and more lucrative market through a larger and better reputation. An important element in this dual success is the skill of “literary focusing.”
A writer who seeks money first, will get little, unless he accidentally develops unique skills and talents. The writer who seeks fame regardless of pay, will win neither fame nor money. The hopeful writer should patiently research what publications demand his writing; and what paper, magazine, or publisher has readers to appreciate what he has to say.
To such hopeful writers, do not write expecting early fame and do not write merely for money.
Write because you have something that somebody really wants to read.
Let’s say you wanted to become a public speaker. You would soon learn that it is useless to persist in talking unless people wanted to hear you. If you have an itching for getting into print, you will persist in it for years, forcing yourself upon unwilling audiences.
When a writer says that he lacks the necessary “connections” to get into print, he shows an unfortunate literary disposition. A literary audience secured through “influence of other persons” is hardly worth having at any price, certainly not at a price as the humility required to obtain it.
Some clever writers, devoid of sense or sensibility, succeed in getting into print by joining “literary” clubs, networking with distinguished literary authors, seeking introductions and letters of recommendations, and other such means. This cheap literary notoriety is no more creditable than it is praiseworthy. If these clever writers used their wits and wisdom to focus on their potential talents, they would develop real writing skills and achieve much greater financial success.
Editors are greedily hungry for every word and idea that is focused for them.
With five hundred excellent articles—some of them from really great writers—the editor claps his hands with delight when he discovers a timely article focused just right for his columns from an unknown writer.
You can always find a publication that is anxious to publish what you write, and more anxious to pay for it.
Many publications (especially digital and print newspapers) cater to the general public with broad topics, but just as many niche publications hunger for articles focused tightly on their readers’ interests.
The success of many publications, websites, and newspaper columns is due almost entirely to the skill of focus:
the editor knows, to increase his publication’s readership, he must focus on the specific wants and needs of his readers. To accomplish this task, the editor invites tightly focused articles which target his readers’ interests.
Every writer has something worth saying and knows how to say it.