Column Writing Class

This summer I’m taking a column writing class at an excellent literary center, just down the street, called Writers and Books. If you’re driving down University Ave, you can’t miss it – they have a giant pencil sitting out front. The premise of this class is to identify a topic and title for your column, help you write (and critique) it, a find a newspaper, magazine, or journal to send it to. The whole process is very interesting and they’re very accepting of ‘bloggers’ joining the class. Both Julia and I have gone in order to learn how to ‘blog better’. Most of the rules that apply to column writing apply to writing in a blog, also – except for a few.

  • There is no editor pouring over your entries and critiquing how you write.
  • You get to directly interact with you audience (in the form of comments, as opposed to by snail-mail).
  • You write much more often then for an actual paper – most columns are every couple weeks to once a month, while bloggers generally shoot for at least once a day.
  • The barrier to entry is much lower. It takes nothing to setup and run your own web log – however, having to jump through all the hoops necessary to get an column published in a paper is very intimdating.
  • The pay structure is very different. Most entry-level independent columnist only make a couple dollars per column, while more experience ones will make a couple hundred dollars. Making money with blogs is completely dependent on your audience and you’re ability to attract people to click on the advertisements (if you have any).

Even with all the differences, having a constructive writing class is very good for me – I hope to be able to publish much more over the course of the upcoming months and maybe even maintain my daily post schedule that I’m working on right now.

Posted: July 14th, 2005

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