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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Off the Page...

The Good News
by Tama Westman

What is the good news when it comes to your writing career? Complimentary copy! Not complimentary copy—meaning you write for free. But, writing that translates to promotional and marketing material found in advertising, advertorials (feature length ads), publicity pieces such as press releases, brochures and flyers, and company newsletters.

The good news? Writing nice things about people, their companies and services, how hard is that?

The great news? As a professional word-wielder, you get paid handsomely for this type of writing.

A little background
Many of you know my story; I started at the local paper with a tiny community interest column every other week. It paid $25 per submission, and it generally took me at least ten days to write it. (Beginning writers should NEVER factor in their time to the pay scale—it's too depressing!)

Satisfied with my little Cuppa Thoughts column, the editor eventually asked me to broaden the ink in the my writer's pen. I began writing feature stories, profiles, book reviews and news articles. I even covered county commissioner and city council meetings. A starving writer like most, whenever my editor asked me to do anything, my answer was a resounding, "Yes!"

Changing gears
A couple of years ago, the head of advertising at the newspaper called me into the office to see if I would like to broaden my scope even farther. They needed a writer who could interview advertising clients and write feature-length articles that highlighted their business history, benefits and services. Plus, I'd have to shoot the photos for the page. "Can you do that, Tama?" he asked. Well, you know my answer, "Yes!"

Writing complimentary copy has been the easiest task of all my writing ventures, and the most lucrative. Writing advertorials was a great segue into more promotional work. Satisfied with their Featured Business of the Week story, many of these same clients approached me to write press releases, promotional flyers, brochures, Web site copy and corporate summaries.

Say "yes" for success
Recently, I accepted a freelance position to write "the good news" for an inner-city outreach program in the Latino community. Though most of my high school Spanish has failed me, when asked if I would be willing to work for twenty times my normal rate, my answer was, "Si!"

End notes
Able to command a sweet price per article now, you may wonder if I continue writing $25 columns. Unwilling to disengage my loyalty from editors who first gave me a chance; the answer is, "Yes!"

As a professional writer, there are some things you write because you are paid to do so—among my other somewhat-illustrious writing efforts, I can also count articles on composting and waste treatment centers.

But, there are those projects that stem from your passion—fiction, novels and lifeworks—writing that matters to you. It's not the money that motivates me to write my columns, simply the joy of sharing my thoughts with others and the hope that my experience, good or bad, might be helpful to another along the way.

Tama Westman writes the Off the Page column for Write From Home. As a correspondent and columnist, she publishes news articles, feature stories and her column, Cuppa Thoughts, regularly with her local paper, the Chaska Herald. She has served as the editor of the award-winning literary magazine, Haute Dish. Her articles appear in several local newspapers and, nationally in The Gathering and Light & Life Magazine.

She teaches creative writing and poetry classes with the AHEAD program (Achieving Higher Education and Dreams) at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, mentors high school journalism students, and teaches beginning and intermediate writers at conferences throughout the country. Married with two grown children, she keeps her balance with a cup of tea taken in the afternoon in her English garden. Further samples of her writing can be viewed on her Web site, http://www.tamawestman.com feel free to e-mail comments to tama@tamawestman.com









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