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    Home Columns

    Writing Columns: an Enjoyable Career

    Writing newspaper, magazine, and online columns become an enjoyable experience for the writer. This offers you a way to express your opinion, share your knowledge, and inspire and encourage others. Once you've written a number of columns, you may want to compile them into a book.

    With the development of the Internet, a whole new world for publishing columns opens up to the writer. I began my print writing career and online writing career with column writing.

    My very first published writing was a cooking column for my hometown weekly. My first online writing consisted of a marriage column for the ezine, The Oasis.


    Types of Columns

    The types of columns you can write are endless. Simply look through newspapers, magazines, ezines, and make a list. See if there are any you're capable of writing. In other words, what knowledge that you possess can be turned into a column.

    Read and study the columns you enjoy. Try writing some to see if you can get your thoughts together in a limited number of words...around 300 - 500.

    Various types of columns: Gardening, Reminiscences, Sewing, Tax Tips, Person of the Week, Book Reviews, Local Businesses, Children's Stories & Activities, Computers, Cooking, Hiking, Puzzles, Travel Tips, Child Care, Auto Repair, Opinion, and many, many more.

    Try a slant that's a little different from the other columns you see, but not too different.


    Columns Vary in Tone

    Columns vary in tone. Some are serious, others humorous, some instructional, others factual. To start with, choose something that fits your style of writing and with which you feel comfortable and knowledgeable.

    However, if requested by an editor, don't be afraid to try something new. An editor, for whom I wrote a local history column, asked me to fill in with a gardening column when the regular columnist decided to discontinue. I'd never written one before, but was familiar with gardening at different times in my life.

    A little research gave me many ideas I could turn into columns throughout the summer. This then became a column I could offer to other publications, too.


    Print Vs Online Columns

    There's really no great difference between the two types of columns. However, online columns often tend to be shorter than those in print publications, simply because online readers become accustomed to reading something in a shorter amount of time.

    Also, online columns generally needed to be broken up with sub-headings. This is a good idea, I've discovered, with print columns, but isn't quite so necessary as with online ones.

    I shall continue my discussion on writing columns in future columns.

    I also enjoy hearing from my readers about what they'd like to know about column writing.

    Copyright © 2001 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen is a journalist, columnist, children's writer and book author. Her many publications are listed on her Web site -- http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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