A Poll For New Writers — Take It, AND Take $50 Off My Mentoring Service!

Carol Tice

New Writers PollHi all —

Today we take a break from our usual straight-up advice here on MALW to throw out a question: What do you want to know about the business of writing?

I ask because my writer-friend David Volk is organizing a Society of Professional Journalists conference in the early fall, and I said I’d help him shape the agenda by asking my readers what they would like to learn about at such an event.

So here’s your chance to penetrate the mysteries of writing success. Leave me a comment and tell me:

If you went to a writing conference, what topic would you most want to see a session about?

What do you find most baffling about the process of earning a good living from writing?

What writing question have I not addressed here on MALW that you’d like me to answer?

Is there something you just don’t get about the business of writing that you’d like explained?

If you were here in my home office right now, what one question would you most want to ask me?

To grease the wheels here a little, I’ll offer a $50 discount on my mentoring service to anyone who participates in the poll. If you’ve been wanting to work with a writing-business coach, now you can get your questions answered on the blog AND get a deal on personalized one-on-one coaching! Which comes with ongoing followup email support, by the way.

The discount is good only until the end of May 2010, for new mentees only. Leave your question, all!

Photo via Flickr user Matt From London


  1. Lindsay Woolman

    Carol, I would be curious to know what it was like for successful writers early in their career, like yourself. I would like to hear something uplifting that recharges me. Sometimes you see people who are ten steps ahead of you and it seems like such a long road to get there….

    I would like to be side by side you in your office in all honesty. I wonder what your schedule is like and would be curious what you do first thing in the morning. Like, do you log on to your computer and start working? Do you have a couple websites that you visit? I seem to have this problem where I get on the computer first thing in the morning and I can’t just start working right away, so I end up wasting time… What is your system? Do you have a system? I think having and creating a system is a good topic because the freelance life is so unscheduled and unstructured.

    I’d also like to know the habits that the most successful writers have created early in their careers. 🙂

  2. Lisa Ullrich

    Hi Carol,

    I am just getting my feet wet with the idea of writing. I find it completely overwhelming on where to begin. I tend to read a lot of informative websites and blogs of writer’s who seem to have it down, but I don’t get much past that point. I’ve written a few articles for a content mill, but that is it. I don’t even know if I want to write fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles, etc. There are so many different options to choose from. It would be helpful to me to know more about each option as it pertains to writing. The basics of the in’s and out’s of each form. If all my options were in one place, I think it would help me decide which direction I want to go.

    Currently, I seem to just be searching everywhere for spread out information. Sometimes the information is contradictory, which makes it even more complex. A list of websites containing reliable, good information would also be helpful. Not everything posted on websites is good information and if you don’t know any better, you don’t know when you’re getting bad information.

    I also like Lindsay’s comments.

  3. Carol Tice

    Lisa — I think that’s a common problem. The Internet is just bursting with writing-job sites and blogs and organizations you can join, and a lot of new writers get totally overwhelmed. I had one of my mentees ask me if I could give her a list of the 20 best writing sites for her to look at! My response was she needed to get it down to about three sites or she’d never get anything done.

    Ultimately, at some point would-be writers have to stop going round and round online and start writing. Send queries. Create samples. Go to networking events and meet editors and corporate execs who need Web content.

    The only way you’ll know if you want to write fiction or magazine articles is by getting out and trying some of each. My personal advice is that everyone should write articles or do some copywriting, because that’s where the immediate pay is, and that helps hone your skills and pay for that novel-writing time. But only writing experience will tell you where you fit, it’s not a question you can answer by researching on the Internet.

    Lindsay — you so don’t want to be in my office! I’m nobody’s great example of being super-disciplined. For instance, my daughter was in my bed all night flailing around last night, so I got up at 9:30 and still haven’t gotten to any of my paying clients! Stuff happens around here. But it all gets done eventually.

    But love your suggestion of writing about early days — I may do that for an upcoming blog post.

  4. James


    I have about 42 and a half questions running around in my head, but I’ll limit it to just one.

    I think I could have some success writing magazine articles if I could come up with some decent story ideas. How should new writers who don’t have tons of experience or clips come up with story ideas that are really going to get noticed (and paid!!)?



    • Carol Tice

      Hi James —

      Thanks for your question! As it happens, I have tackled this one back in the old days when my blog was still on caroltice.com…here are some tips for you!

  5. Lisa Ullrich

    Hi Carol,

    It’s so true, the information available on the web makes it all so overwhelming. I think I will take your advice and forget trying to read about it all and just start writing. I have 3 or 4 websites I really like, but reading too many sites is VERY time consuming. When I work a full-time job, there’s not much time left. Thanks!

  6. Colette Martin

    Carol, the two things I’d really like to know at a conference are:

    1. What kind of legal protection do writers need? How worried do we need to be about being sued, and how can we protect ourselves?

    2. How to find blogging jobs that pay.

  7. Carol Tice

    Just want to check back in and say that James Patterson has claimed his $50 discount on mentoring — I’ll be meeting with him later this month. Anyone else above, if you’re interested let me know!

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