Learn How to be a Columnist - Writer's Digest

Learn How to be a Columnist

You Can Write a Column is the only book of its kind that offers an insider''s perspective on this special field, blending practical writing instruction with savvy marketing advice to help you create successful columns for everything from neighborhood newspapers to high profile magazines. Click below for exercises to use whether you already write column or aspire to do so.
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Maureen Dowd. William Safire. Ed Anger. Columnists all. You Can Write A Column by Monica McCabe Cardoza offers straightforward advice for the novice or the pro: from deciding what type of column you''d like to write to staying sharp as a working columnist to collecting your printed columns into book form.

Here are some exercises for you to use whether you already write a column or aspire to do so.

1. Next time you''re reading a magazine unrelated to your column''s subject, skim the article for words related to your area of expertise. For example, if you write a column on woodworking, train your eyes to find words related to that subject. You just might see a profile of U.S. senator in the political magazine George that mentions his love of woodworking. Consider using an interview with the senator as a topic for your column.

2. Generate three column topics based on article in a magazine unrelated to your column''s subject.

3. Try writing a controversial column. You won''t necessarily submit it to an editor, but it will give you a feel for whether you have a knack for handling this area of writing. Consider your audience and whether it would be put off by your writing or entertained by it. If you''d rather not write a controversial column or feel your audience wouldn''t tolerate it, try writing a column about a controversial topic. Approach it as a neutral observer and offer both sides of the controversy.

4. Read two or three of your columns and judge whether they sound the way you sound when you''re speaking in a comfortable setting. Oftentimes, a writerespecially one working under a tight deadline-will come off as stiff and authoritative rather than relaxed and confident.

Learn more about You Can Write A Column ($12.99).

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