This is a response to fight4acure's posting, but it ran so long and speaks to more people than just her, that I thought I'd let it stand on its on two feet. I've been a freelance writer for decades now, with one four-year stint and one six-year as an entertainment writer for newspapers. Sold tons of articles, contributed to two books on entertainment and wrote and published one book, "31 Days at a Time (Daily Meditations for the Serenity Impaired)." So what can I tell you about writing for money? #1----poetry is like sex: everyone thinks they're good enough at it to impress people when they should just concentrate on pleasing themselves. Writing poetry is wonderful for the soul and good practise and discipline in the use of words. Write however much you want, but leave it at that. When it's time to share with others, you'll know it. #2----Forget about writing "clubs," "organizations" or "agencies" that charge money. Hemmingway never paid anyone to look at his stuff or to print it! (Well, he also blew his brains out with a shotgun, so maybe this isn't the best example...) In any case, you're supposed to be accepting checks from people, not filling their wallets. #3----Probably the best thing you can do, whether a writer, artist, actress, photographer, comedian, musician, etc. is to check out a copy of "The Artist's Way" at the library. The author, Judith (? or Jane?) Cameron gives you a nuts-and-bolts approach to doing spiritual work which is also necessary to access your creativity. I loaned the book to a friend and after he had finished the book, he sold an option to a screenplay! #4----Writers write. Thinking about writing or talking to people about what you're going to write may be OK, but unless you spend at least as much time actually writing, you're not really a writer. #5----If you'd like, take a writing class at the local community college. Otherwise, find one friend who will tell you the truth and ask them to go through what you write and keep telling you, "Nope, that doesn't sound like you." It takes years, but eventually you need to strip away all the fancy, lacy ornate language that no one uses and speak to the reader as only you can. And tht means using YOUR voice. #6----Don't overlook non-fiction. I began trying to be a great short-story writer and playwright, but I needed to make money. I discovered that non-fiction isn't just a way to make money, it's actually fun (and requires just as much skill as writing a self-indulgent story for a literary magazine). Once I had started on this, I told my friends, "What could be a better job? I think about something I want to know or do, then I go do it, and get paid for it?!" Sorry to go on so long, but I hope you got something out of it. If you haven't already read Laura Hillebrand's piece from "New Yorker" about her CFIDS and writing, check it out now. It's one of the few things I can think of that cannot be stopped by our disease!