By: Marilyn L. Davis
So Many Literary Opportunities
“Don’t be too stereotyped, be ready to explore new opportunities.”― Sunday Adelaja
A writer can explore so many careers to find their literary happy place. Not all of them will put you on the front page or mean that you’ve become a household name, but you’ll still get to do what you love – write and be creative. Here are a few of the avenues you can explore to use your love of the written word:
- Blog content writer
- Book reviewer
- Content writer with a focus on advertising and marketing
- Copy editor
- Curriculum developer
- Literary agent
- Medical writer
- Social media manager
- Technical writer
Finding Your Niche
We typically think of a niche in writing as the writer’s topic, subject, or interest, and while that’s appropriate, expand on your working definition of the niche.
It’s the place you belong because you do it so well.
And doing anything well gives us a sense of accomplishment, pride, and belonging. These feelings can help you find your position in the literary world and begin your day in your happy place.
Create the Platform – They Will Come
When Scott Biddulph and I would lament the lack of platforms for emerging writers, we knew we wanted to encourage new writers and the seasoned and established writers to take a chance on Two Drops of Ink and send a guest submission.
Each of us had followings on social media, and initially, we reached out to the writers we knew on those sites. It worked. We got writers and authors with credibility, who, in turn, gave us authority and solidified our belief in collaboration.
Unsure of my writing and editing abilities, I opted to take on the role of image consultant – no, not to doctor the guest writer’s bio photo, but to enhance their writing. I’ve written about my family’s artistic talents and how I was jealous. Now, I could put my creative urges to good use and find what I hoped was both an appropriate and interesting image for the post. No, boring coffee-computer-pen-ink-stock photos here. I’d scour Pixabay, Usplash, and yes, Google and Bing to find something that represented both the words and the writer.
I also thought that quotes grounded the post, giving readers an inkling of intent, so finding the best quote was another task I enjoyed. Small confession on the quotes, though. I started using them on my posts to add credibility as I was insecure in my writing.
Then an interesting thing happened, other writers asked me to find an appropriate quote for their submissions, so I knew this mattered to the writers, and when readers commented, I continued with quotes.
The other benefit of using Google to find the topic and Goodreads to find quotes for the posts was that I got exposed to some excellent writers and authors and purchased great literature that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.
Expanding the Literary Duties
Scott was in school then and had more pressing responsibilities than I did. My job was running smoothly, so he said I would have to do more editing. I felt pressured. I’m not an educated editor unless you count Mrs. Blackmon forcing me to use Chicago style in a paper in high school. Or I was able to distinguish when to use its versus it’s.
But that forced me to start reviewing grammar sites, and I found Perdue’s Owl. Or using some free grammar checks like Grammarly, PaperRater, and others. I started seeing that I did understand more than I gave myself credit for when it came to editing.
However, that didn’t relieve my anxiety in editing the Ph.D.’s who submitted. It was with trepidation that I questioned them, but working together, we got a good post, and that was the objective all along, so it worked.
2018 – Now It’s Yours
In 2018, my family surprised me with a trip to France, which we’d all talked about for years. Unlike other family trips when the grandchildren were little, I wouldn’t have to be pack Nana, toting diaper bags, Sippies, and stray stuffed animals to keep the toddlers entertained, fed, and dry. No, they were all teenagers and could haul their stuff.
While making arrangements for the trip and discussing a three-week absence from Two Drops of Ink, Scott told me he was resigning as Editor-in-Chief to pursue his other business, and I’d take it over when I returned.
Now, beyond writing, imaging, and minor editing, I would have to shoulder all of the responsibilities of running the site. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But I knew that the monthly contributors were finally comfortable with my edits and images, and we’d continue to give the readers creative, informative, and exciting posts.
2021- Publish or Perish
Four years have passed, and I’ve published two books, Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate, a memoir, and a how-to on memoir writing, Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook. I didn’t do this by myself; it was with a lot of help from my friends; thank you, Beatles. Every book is the result of literary contributions that may escape the reader’s notice without an acknowledgment in the books. I’ve been fortunate; I had reliable resources and relationships to use when I needed other literary help.
Shahnaz Radjy and Dr. Claudia Ricci were beta readers and editors, and I trusted them because I knew them and valued their input.
Then there’s marketing those books. Again, I’ve used the services of Catherine Townsend-Lyon because Cat know where and when to market a book. Her connections to the book review and marketing sites have put the books out there.
2022 – The Year of the Tiger and Services
An idea started forming in September 2021 when I’d moved, resigned from my full-time job, and was ready to expand services at Two Drops of Ink.
Jonathan H.X. Lee, a professor at San Francisco State University, says, “If we were reading this like your horoscope, it’d be, ‘This is the year that you should be more courageous. Step outside your comfort zone,'” Lee said.
It’s one thing for an individual to step outside their comfort zone, it’s another to ask others to embark with you, but that’s what I did leading up to this year.
Scott and I wanted the collaboration with writers, poets, and authors to be inclusive of the new or seasoned writers and broaden the scope of true collaboration. While he is no longer working at Two Drops of Ink, I still rely on his sound judgment, so I ran the idea of offering services by him last October.
I was thrilled when some of the monthly contributors also saw benefit in offering services, so Literary Services launched.
I’m in My Literary Happy Place!
My literary happy place is doing everything I did when I started at Two Drops of Ink, with more resources.
I’m not an educated editor like Dr. Noelle Sterne and Dr. Claudia Ricci. I haven’t taught writing, edited a dissertation, or written a peer-reviewed entry for an academic journal. Both of these accomplished women have.
I don’t write poetry. I suffer from poet envy. How do they tell a story in rhyme? How can they condense the theme to its absolute essence in three stanzas? And what makes narrative poetry brief but full of nuance, meaning, and imagery?
I’ve realized I can go beyond “roses are red…” but it still hasn’t helped me launch into poetry like Dr. Anwer Ghani or Dr. Archan Mehta. I leave the poetry to those who’ve proven they know what they’re doing.
Writing, editing, and collaborating with other writers and authors fulfill the vision that Scott and I had for Two Drops of Ink all those years ago, sitting at Inman Perk sharing a laptop and latte.
Use the Year of the Tiger, go bold, be brave, and find your literary happy place.
I’m so glad I found mine.
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis
Marilyn is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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