Since I am in the middle of teaching a short-term workshop for writers, I decided to list here some of the many resources, including groups in this area of Florida, that aspiring writers might want to know about. Many beginning writers want to know about how to get published, and what follows might be helpful:
1. Groups: The Florida Writers Association (FWA) is a state-wide group that has an important annual convention with nationally known agents and editors as well as monthly meetings in most cities. In Orlando, the group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 at the University Club of Winter Park. For information on this group, whose motto is "writers helping writers," go to www.floridawriters.net.
2. E-mail newletters: Mary Ann de Stefano's MAD About Words conducts workshops on writing and provides editorial services; she also sends out each week a free (I think) newsletter that is very helpful: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darlyn Finch's Scribblers (email@example.com) has been sending out, as a free service to the community, a newsletter about the various workshops, readings, and literary events in central Florida. Write to her and to Mary Ann to get on their lists.
3. Books and magazines:
Although writers will spend most of their time writing, you know how important reading is in general; and in learning about becoming a professional, you need to be connected to the national writing world via publications like Poets and Writers magazine and Writer's Digest (check out contests and what editors are looking for in your area). See also Jeff Herman's annual book on editors, agents and publishers or check him out on line.
There are many good books, like the ones by Stephen King and Julia Cameron that I have quoted from, that provide guidance and inspiration. Another classic is William Zinsser, On Writing. I am not a fan of the little guide by Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, which seems out of touch with the literary world of the 21st century.
You know that there are many fine reference books, including my own co-authored GRAMMAR, ETC., which can be downloaded free or for a small fee from textbookmedia.com (you can order just the chapters you want).
Just before our summer class began, I got a note from Darlyn Finch saying that a new journal is looking for short submissions: www.theNewerYork.com. Go to the website for details. Narrative magazine is one of several quality online-only journals; it's worth checking out, even if they charge a fee for submissions. My friend Chris McClelland is one of the contributing editors.
I conclude my wishing you well as you launch yourself into the competitive world of getting published. Never be discouraged (remember how many notable writers have been repeatedly turned down) and be informed about where to send your work. My advice: do not be in a hurry to submit. Make sure your story or article or book is ready for readers. Be part of a group; let others read your work and accept honest criticism if it will help you. Revise, revise, edit, edit.
And feel free to contact me via e-mail if you have questions or want a quick free opinion. I cannot read manuscripts longer than 10 pages; beyond that, it's $10 an hour. Good luck! firstname.lastname@example.org