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Do you have suggestions on how I can start a professional writing career?

Tuesday August 19, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I was inspired and intrigued by your recent LinkedIn update regarding writing. I recently have felt a growing desire to write professionally. Any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated.

Intrigued by Writing

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Intrigued by Writing,

I have been a writer for many years but recently updated my LinkedIn profile triggering LinkedIn to send a notice to all my connections that I had a new job as writer at my own company. It is amazing the response I have received from that. If it inspired and intrigued you to start writing, I am thrilled.

I once was convinced that I had no ability to write but taught myself to do it through self-study, practice and observation. Read about how I started writing and how you can develop the writer in you (“Develop the writer in you,” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Writer). In essence my advice is start writing, study the craft and look for opportunities.

Get into the habit of writing, whether it’s journaling; blogging; or writing articles, essays or letters to the editor.

Studying the craft includes reading books on writing for publication (see my recommended reading list at the end of “Develop the writer in you”); studying the flow and form of articles in publications and websites for which you wish to write; and taking writing classes or getting a writing coach. Look for opportunities by submitting articles to local newspapers, nursing publications and websites (including general health websites).

You can find the guidelines for submission to Nurse.com at http://www.nurse.com/news/writersguide.html.

Most publications and websites post similar guidelines. It’s always best to follow the guidelines when submitting an article or sending a query letter.

“Anatomy of Writing for Publication for Nurses,” 2nd edition, by Cynthia Saver, MS, RN, is a great book to read. In my opinion, it’s the most comprehensive book on the subject available today.

Just get started, one step at a time, and see where the road leads you. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I look forward to seeing your name in print.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.