Equipping Writers for Success
The Writing Life
The Writing Life
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Welcome to Writing-World.com! Who are we, and what will you find here?
First, a little history... Writing-World.com was born in 2000. It arose from the ashes of a greater site: Inkspot, the leading writing site of the day. I worked for Inkspot for several years, but after it was acquired by another company (that shall remain nameless), I knew my time with it was ending. Writing-World.com began when my husband asked, "Well, if Inkspot is #1, who's #2?" So I set about trying to build a site that might aspire to, at least, that #2 slot!
Then, to the astonishment and dismay of the online writing community, that "other company" decided almost overnight to shut Inkspot down. In the blink of an electron (or as long as it takes to unplug a server), it was gone. And because its writers, and readers, had nowhere else (comparable) to go, Writing-World.com came to be...
That was (as I write this) over 15 years ago. Since then we've grown steadily; we now feature nearly 1000 articles and columns, and attract over a million visitors every year! I won't say that we've really changed much over the years, however, because we've had a single, steadfast purpose. Our mission, though for years we never actually put it into words, was simple:
That's our mission statement. It breaks down into three parts. Let's start with the middle, because that's you:
Writers. Like our predecessor, Inkspot, Writing-World.com has never aimed at a single, specific type of writer or branch of writing. While it's never possible to be all things to all people, our goal was to be as encompassing as possible in the definition of "writer." We didn't want to be a site just for fiction writers, or nonfiction writers, or poetry writers, or business writers, or... whatever. And while we have a strong section on "getting started," we didn't want to be just for "beginners" -- or just for seasoned pros. We know that writers are rarely confined to a single interest or goal -- a newspaper freelancer by day may be a poetry writer by night. So the site has evolved with the goal of being as useful as possible to as broad a spectrum of writers as possible.
We also wanted to address the internationanl scope of writing. (I find myself using the imperial "we" here for no particular reason other than the fact that I don't like saying "I, I, I" all the time.) When Writing-World.com began, we (and here I mean "all us writers together") were moving into a new era of international communication. The Internet was bringing together writers from around the world -- and also making it possible and even relatively easy for writers to submit to publications outside their own country. Inkspot had begun reaching out to the global writing community with its newsletter Global Writers' Ink, and our international section incorporates much of that content. Hence our name: Writing-world.com!
Equipping. When I decided we needed a "mission statement," I toyed with a lot of verbs: Inspiring, Empowering, Encouraging, Helping... But somehow "Equipping" leapt into my head as the term that most accurately describes our goal.
"Equipping" is defined as "to furnish or provide whatever is needed for use or for any undertaking;" and "to furnish with intellectual or emotional resources; prepare." (Dictionary.com) Synonyms include "provide, furnish, supply, issue, stock, provision, arm, endow, rig, prepare, qualify, suit, train, ready."
When you are properly equipped, you can take on tasks that you might otherwise be unprepared to handle. If you are ill-equipped, you're much more likely to fail. And writing is a task that does require "equipping." The physical equipment of the writer has changed dramatically over the last two decades; I can still remember when some writers still complained about editors requiring that manuscripts be typed! Today, I suspect most of us don't even own a typewriter, while many writers are shifting from desktop and laptop computers to tablets and phones.
While the physical equipment we use may be changing, however, the skill set that is required to become a successful writer has remained virtually unchanged for, literally, centuries. (I do mean literally - you can read advice to writers in Victorian magazines that is almost word-for-word what editors try to tell writers today!) Our goal of "equipping" is to provide the tools writers need to learn the skills and techniques that will help them achieve their goals.
Information has always been the most important tool for writers, their most vital resource -- and information is what we seek to provide. We have set high standards for the quality of our "tools," insisting that our contributors be experts in their respective fields. Put simply, we've never been willing to accept an article from a writer on "how to do something" if that writer hasn't successfully done it himself.
Success. Now, that's a tricky word. When I say that our goal is "Equipping Writers for Success," one thing I don't intend to do is try to define what success actually means. That's the part of the phrase that you have to define for yourself.
It's an important step. Quite often, if someone asks us, "Are you a successful writer?" we aren't sure how to answer. We know that the outside world often defines success in very different terms from those we might use. The "obvious" forms of success that most non-writers understand are bestseller status and lots of money (e.g., "Stephen King is a successful writer.") For those of us who aren't Stephen King, the definition can have infinite variations. It's also a term we are constantly redefining as we progress through our writing careers -- and it's one that may have different meanings for different aspects of our writing lives.
For some, "success" may mean a specific type of publication. For one person it might be publication in a noteworthy literary journal, while another may have his or her heart set upon breaking into journalism. One person may define success by getting a book into print; another may define it by the number of sales or getting an advance. For some, success may be focused more upon earning a living from writing than on the creative aspect. And for many, "success" means that first sale, that first publication, seeing one's name in print for the first time -- or even simply completing one's first piece.
While our definitions of success may vary, and may change over time, it is helpful to actually have a definition. If you can define what would mean "success" to you, it becomes much easier to determine what tools and "equipment" you'll need to get there. (In fact, we have a whole category in the "Writing Life" section on ways to define success as a writer.)
So here at Writing-World.com, we won't try to define "success," or come up with a definitive statement of what makes a "successful" writer. Rather, we'll leave that step to you -- and then do our best to be there with the tools and resources you need to make your definition a reality. That's why we're here!
Who "We" Are
Right now, Writing-World.com is a "party of one." We've had several newsletter editors over time, but at the moment, the site is run entirely by its founder, Moira Allen (the I/we of the statements above).
Since bios are generally supposed to be written in third person, let's try this: "Author, book-lover, world-traveler, and collector of Victorian ephemera, Moira Allen knows how to make her life sound a lot more exciting than it actually is!" Author: Allen has been writing for more than 30 years, and is the author of several hundred articles and columns and several books, both traditionally and self-published. Book-lover: Perhaps a more accurate term would be "compulsive book buyer" - The Allens' first consideration in looking at a potential home is "will it hold all our bookcases?" A friend once asked, with a look of bewilderment, "Do you actually read all those?" Allen was tempted to reply, "No, we just use them as insulation..." World-traveler: Well, yes, actually... The Allens have lived in England and Germany, and visited quite a few other countries, which perhaps explains why Moira has more than 60,000 digital photos on her computer... Besides being a compulsive book-buyer and photographer, Allen is also a collector of Victorian ephemera, and hosts a website archiving thousands of articles from Victorian magazines. She's also a cat-lover, fledgling weaver, crafter, and (given there isn't much time left in the day) a pretty much indifferent housekeeper. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer's cat.
In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts several other intriguing websites that are packed with fascinating information for the writer and reseacher: