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

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Using the Internet to Write From Home
by Dana Mitchells

The Internet has revolutionized the career of a working writer. In more ways than one, writers can take advantage of the many tools available without ever leaving the confines of their home. By using these tools, the Web helps writers of all ages and stages keep their careers afloat and their work current.

E-mail Accounts
There are various ways you can use the Internet to stay a working writer. One way is to have a current e-mail account. Use this for business purposes only, thereby making it easier to keep track of queries and submissions. However, be wary of e-mail accounts in which very old e-mail can be deleted. Always keep a copy of e-mail queries and submissions in the event your old e-mail expires or is deleted.

Electronic Queries
As for submitting electronic queries, there are several magazines and Web zines available. To find them, type “electronic queries” or “submission guidelines” into a search engine box and you can read their guidelines for such submissions. Bear in mind, not all magazines will accept e-queries; if they neglect to state if they do, it’s better to send a query by regular mail instead. Additionally, Web sites such as WritingforDOLLARS!.com  and WritersWrite.com list whether a magazine will accept electronic queries.

Finding Guidelines on the Web
While finding out which magazines accept electronic queries, you will also find out what their guidelines are. A very good source for guidelines of paying markets is a Web site called WritersWeekly.com, a free marketing e-mag for writers featuring new freelance jobs and paying markets every Wednesday. Other Web sites where you can find magazine guidelines are Freelancing4Money.com, which provides writers with a free and paid edition of their markets' newsletters, and WritingEtc.com, where you can receive the free e-book, Power Queries, by subscribing today.

Conducting Research
You can also use search engines to help you conduct research on your topic. Just type in anything that relates to your topic and soon you will have a variety of Web sites at your disposal. It is amazing how many Web sites are created to cover a single topic, no matter how strange or common. While conducting research for my novel, for example, I found a Web site solely for the name “Melissa,” as well as a Web site covering ancient torture devices.

There are also particular Web sites geared towards helping writers find experts on topics. Two that have been very helpful to me are Pitsco’s AskAnExpert and AuthorsandExperts.

There are also electronic encyclopedic and dictionary Web sites available for research. Just click on the “Research & Reference” link under “Resources” in the right sidebar and there are a variety of encyclopedia and dictionary links to choose from.

Web Sites for Writers
The National Writers Union  is an organization devoted to supporting writers. While membership is not mandatory for general assistance, becoming a member not only entitles you to certain advantages such as legal assistance in the event of plagiarism, but it also provides you with a plethora of information available through their Web site. Please note that the services which the NWU can offer to you as a working writer are granted only to members; they do not provide technical or legal services to non-members. There are also other Web sites for writers, such as the National Association of Women Writers and The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Finally, writing magazines are available on the Internet as well. Some valuable ones are ByLine Magazine, Writer’s Digest  and Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Internet has provided a whole new meaning to the term “work-from-home.” If you use it well in the short bursts of time you have free, you can continue to be a freelance writer or even the author of an e-book.

Dana Mitchells is the Internet pen name of the writer Dawn Colclasure. She is a former weekly writer for the former e-zine, Griper, and she has a poetry chapbook, Take My Hand, available from Amazon.com. Her work can also be found on Ten Thousand Monkeys and E-Fido . She is currently seeking a literary agent for her novels. She lives with her husband, Jason Wilson, and daughter in California.









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