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Skills & technique

Outdoor Writer?

I am a Jr. in high school that enjoys hunting and fishing so much I got enrolled I an internet home schooling program where I teach myself, so I have more time to hunt and fish. Having said that, I have little guidance, and have no idea where to begin in my career interest of becoming a Outdoor Writer. So this is me reaching out for advice.

thanks

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from Uncle John wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Real quick here, I'll show you how to be an outdoor writer, at www.foremosthunting.com It is not about a PHD, or what the editor thinks, its about if you are interesting to the reader and you know what you are talking about. First come on the forum and say HI, you can contact me there. Then we will have a look at your work and work on improvements, when your ready we wil publish you. This really looks good to a high school English teacher, so I'll have a talk with the teacher too. I see it this way if you want it bad enough lets do it, I'm not giving advice here I'm going to show you how, then its up to you.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Powderhound, I have a degree in Journalism from a nationally accredited university. With that said, I have left the world of journalism. I am currently an officer in the US Army, but I still have a keen interest in outdoor writing. Suffice it to say that I have tried to publish some of my pieces, and it is not an easy market to breach.
I worked for a local paper upon graduating college and found myself bored and frustrated for most of my time there. In today's market, with many printed publications diminishing, I would encourage you to follow your passion by posting your work on online writer's forums.
Look at outdoor writing as your passion. There is the possibility that you could make a little money writing, but it is not a stable career on which you would want to rely.
I wish you the best with your writing. The only advice I can offer to you is grow thick skin. Professors and editors will not always sing your praise, but they will make you better.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishbgone wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Pick up a copy of Writer's Digest, it has a ton of good information on where and how to get your work published.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gretchensteele wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Another thought is to learn how to use a camera skillfully. I find that I have much better luck selling photographs when I have an interesting article to accompany them and vice versa. If you can provide photos and/or video along with your written work it's an even more valuable package.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jacy1515 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Read the classics such as "Death in the long Grass" you have to be able to put the reader in the moment.Have blood running from their wounds as they sit there in comfort reading your articles,being able to feel the pull of the world record tuna.There has to be passion

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from powderhound wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Brain, Thank you for the reply. Your advice seems solid and evidently comes from wisdom far greater than most. I will assure you that I am keeping up with all state standards, and recently have been seeking help trough my old English teacher to guide me in a Writing intensive direction. Your words will be remembered an cherished (as they are currently the best I have to reference). I am going to just as you said and start contacting editors, writers, and our local newspapers. I would like to talk more about your knowledge of this matter and maybe get some ideas from you. Please shoot me an e-mail at powderhound158@yahoo.com if you ever read my this lol. THANKS!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Lynn wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Here are my thoughts:

Enjoy the outdoors, but stay in school or make sure your writing and other academic skills are keeping up with mainstream society's standards.

Trust me on this: the best outdoor writers aren't always outdoorsmen; they're just good writers. And the best outdoorsmen usually don't know how to write. It's a small market so if you can do both, you're way ahead of the game. I've been the Senior Editor at ESPNOutdoors.com and here at Outdoor Life and have worked with just about everyone in the business.

Stay abreast of technological advancements on the internet. That's where it's all going. If you can get on writing outdoor columns or reports for the local paper, do it. It's good practice and will give you something to put on your resume. However, you might have better luck online. Newspapers will be dead in 5-10 years.

Continue your education and focus on English, Journalism, PR, etc. Not only will it make you a better writer, it gives you something to fall back on if/when outdoor writing doesn't work out. It's tough to make a living as an outdoor writer and it's only getting harder with rate cuts, layoffs, shifting advertising markets, etc. While it is tough, outdoor writing can always provide a nice supplemental income to another full-time job; giving you a nice fat bump in disposable income, as well as some of the perks that come with the job.

Start putting together story ideas and include sidebars, online components, etc. Write out some query letters and get them into the hands of editors. Check the masthead in the front of magazines to find out who does what and address a letter to them and/or figure out their email and shoot them a note. I don't think I'd tell them your age; let you ideas and ability carry you. An editor doesn't care about your age if your idea is good, but if it could subconsciously bias them against you.

Above all, stay in school or make damn sure you're keeping up or ahead of kids your age in school!

Good luck!

Brian

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I'm with Charlie Elk on the importance of practice. Expressing yourself well in written form is a skill acquired. If you look at many successful writers their early careers involved plenty of communicating with people on paper or on line. They could be teachers, business people or newspaper men, their work required them to express themselves in a clear and readable manner on a day to day basis. When this kind of thing is done on a regular basis it is like a building block approach to a task that is otherwise formidable. I applaud your desire and enthusiasm, sounds like you have a handle on the content or subject matter which should be a good time. The writing part will take some discipline because you need to find interesting ways to practice your writing. Perhaps you could contribute to this forum or keep a daily journal that details the events of the day and any thoughts might be of interest. If you get up the nerve, find a local paper or even the school you use to attend and commit to a weekly article or commentary. Lots of people would want to hear what home schooling is all about, the good stuff and the bad. You see what I'm saying, write about this that and everything and you will only get better at writing about your hunting experiences.
You will have to be your own critic and here is a tip. Look back at your early entries in your journal or to this forum. If you see that you can write that entry better today then you are getting better. Skills acquired young man, good luck!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

As with any serious endeavor practice and more practice. Forums like this where you can get feed back from readers with + & -, thumbs up and down on your posts and comments are good for learning what readers are interested in. Or how you write it to draw the reader in.
Don't give away any of your really great story ideas online as most forums consider anything posted as their property. This is important to realize if you plan to earn money writing.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from powderhound wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Thanks I do try and spend 8 or so hours a day at least 4 days a week on our property duck hunting, coyote hunting, deer hunting, hiking, etc... I keep a journal about my experiences and I am trying to get some entries published online, but we will see...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from www.dropjhook.com wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I'm not a writer my self but find my self writing alot :). I think a outdoors writer needs to know about the outdoors the most so spend as much time as you can out there evreything else falls into place I would imagine with a little hard work. But wish the best for you and hope to be reading you print soon!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Reply (200 characters or less)

from Brian Lynn wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Here are my thoughts:

Enjoy the outdoors, but stay in school or make sure your writing and other academic skills are keeping up with mainstream society's standards.

Trust me on this: the best outdoor writers aren't always outdoorsmen; they're just good writers. And the best outdoorsmen usually don't know how to write. It's a small market so if you can do both, you're way ahead of the game. I've been the Senior Editor at ESPNOutdoors.com and here at Outdoor Life and have worked with just about everyone in the business.

Stay abreast of technological advancements on the internet. That's where it's all going. If you can get on writing outdoor columns or reports for the local paper, do it. It's good practice and will give you something to put on your resume. However, you might have better luck online. Newspapers will be dead in 5-10 years.

Continue your education and focus on English, Journalism, PR, etc. Not only will it make you a better writer, it gives you something to fall back on if/when outdoor writing doesn't work out. It's tough to make a living as an outdoor writer and it's only getting harder with rate cuts, layoffs, shifting advertising markets, etc. While it is tough, outdoor writing can always provide a nice supplemental income to another full-time job; giving you a nice fat bump in disposable income, as well as some of the perks that come with the job.

Start putting together story ideas and include sidebars, online components, etc. Write out some query letters and get them into the hands of editors. Check the masthead in the front of magazines to find out who does what and address a letter to them and/or figure out their email and shoot them a note. I don't think I'd tell them your age; let you ideas and ability carry you. An editor doesn't care about your age if your idea is good, but if it could subconsciously bias them against you.

Above all, stay in school or make damn sure you're keeping up or ahead of kids your age in school!

Good luck!

Brian

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from www.dropjhook.com wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I'm not a writer my self but find my self writing alot :). I think a outdoors writer needs to know about the outdoors the most so spend as much time as you can out there evreything else falls into place I would imagine with a little hard work. But wish the best for you and hope to be reading you print soon!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from powderhound wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Thanks I do try and spend 8 or so hours a day at least 4 days a week on our property duck hunting, coyote hunting, deer hunting, hiking, etc... I keep a journal about my experiences and I am trying to get some entries published online, but we will see...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I'm with Charlie Elk on the importance of practice. Expressing yourself well in written form is a skill acquired. If you look at many successful writers their early careers involved plenty of communicating with people on paper or on line. They could be teachers, business people or newspaper men, their work required them to express themselves in a clear and readable manner on a day to day basis. When this kind of thing is done on a regular basis it is like a building block approach to a task that is otherwise formidable. I applaud your desire and enthusiasm, sounds like you have a handle on the content or subject matter which should be a good time. The writing part will take some discipline because you need to find interesting ways to practice your writing. Perhaps you could contribute to this forum or keep a daily journal that details the events of the day and any thoughts might be of interest. If you get up the nerve, find a local paper or even the school you use to attend and commit to a weekly article or commentary. Lots of people would want to hear what home schooling is all about, the good stuff and the bad. You see what I'm saying, write about this that and everything and you will only get better at writing about your hunting experiences.
You will have to be your own critic and here is a tip. Look back at your early entries in your journal or to this forum. If you see that you can write that entry better today then you are getting better. Skills acquired young man, good luck!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

As with any serious endeavor practice and more practice. Forums like this where you can get feed back from readers with + & -, thumbs up and down on your posts and comments are good for learning what readers are interested in. Or how you write it to draw the reader in.
Don't give away any of your really great story ideas online as most forums consider anything posted as their property. This is important to realize if you plan to earn money writing.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from powderhound wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Brain, Thank you for the reply. Your advice seems solid and evidently comes from wisdom far greater than most. I will assure you that I am keeping up with all state standards, and recently have been seeking help trough my old English teacher to guide me in a Writing intensive direction. Your words will be remembered an cherished (as they are currently the best I have to reference). I am going to just as you said and start contacting editors, writers, and our local newspapers. I would like to talk more about your knowledge of this matter and maybe get some ideas from you. Please shoot me an e-mail at powderhound158@yahoo.com if you ever read my this lol. THANKS!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jacy1515 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Read the classics such as "Death in the long Grass" you have to be able to put the reader in the moment.Have blood running from their wounds as they sit there in comfort reading your articles,being able to feel the pull of the world record tuna.There has to be passion

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gretchensteele wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Another thought is to learn how to use a camera skillfully. I find that I have much better luck selling photographs when I have an interesting article to accompany them and vice versa. If you can provide photos and/or video along with your written work it's an even more valuable package.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishbgone wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Pick up a copy of Writer's Digest, it has a ton of good information on where and how to get your work published.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Powderhound, I have a degree in Journalism from a nationally accredited university. With that said, I have left the world of journalism. I am currently an officer in the US Army, but I still have a keen interest in outdoor writing. Suffice it to say that I have tried to publish some of my pieces, and it is not an easy market to breach.
I worked for a local paper upon graduating college and found myself bored and frustrated for most of my time there. In today's market, with many printed publications diminishing, I would encourage you to follow your passion by posting your work on online writer's forums.
Look at outdoor writing as your passion. There is the possibility that you could make a little money writing, but it is not a stable career on which you would want to rely.
I wish you the best with your writing. The only advice I can offer to you is grow thick skin. Professors and editors will not always sing your praise, but they will make you better.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Uncle John wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Real quick here, I'll show you how to be an outdoor writer, at www.foremosthunting.com It is not about a PHD, or what the editor thinks, its about if you are interesting to the reader and you know what you are talking about. First come on the forum and say HI, you can contact me there. Then we will have a look at your work and work on improvements, when your ready we wil publish you. This really looks good to a high school English teacher, so I'll have a talk with the teacher too. I see it this way if you want it bad enough lets do it, I'm not giving advice here I'm going to show you how, then its up to you.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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