Should I write fiction? Non-fiction? Poetry? Screenplays? Or what? No matter what an aspiring writer decides to pen, there is one, often insurmountable, mountain they have to climb first - the Catch 22 of the author's existence. You can only get published if you have been published before. It's like the other Catch 22 for writers; publishers want stories that are submitted through an agent, but agents won't typically speak to you unless you have been published first. The whole thing, for some people, is often termed "sucky."
But there is a way around that. There are local markets out there that aspiring writers often forget about. Local newspapers and other publications are a boon for aspiring writers who need clips. As all wordsmiths know, clips help get your foot in the door when it comes to the glorious house of letters, or the publishing world, depending on your flourish.
At first, the topics you pick may not be your chosen subject when it comes to your writing focus, but an aspiring writer needs to focus on style and form just as much as they do the topic itself.
Anyone interested in writing should take a look at the community around them when seeking story ideas. Stories abound in towns like Williams. There are people living here that may surprise you. Authors, artists, athletes, activists and entrepreneurs are just waiting to have their stories told, as well as many more.
Writing about history is easy here. There are plenty of stories relating to the wild west of Williams, some familiar and others are still sitting around waiting to be told. We used to have brothels here, remember, and shootouts, too. That's not to mention the opium dens and bootlegging that went on.
For many newspapers, getting stories by local authors is a rare gift. Each town in America has a fair share of writers, both published and not, but very few in comparison to all those who toil away with their prose actually write for their very own hometown paper. For writers who want "clips," that cherished memento of published work (a kick-butt merit badge for any wordsmith), submitting to the local newspaper is a sure-fire way to get them. It doesn't always work. Just as there are when submitting to larger, national markets, rules apply to the process. Grammar, spelling and neatness apply just as much to the Williams-Grand Canyon News as they do for "Glimmer Train Stories." The difference, however, is that local newspapers often like to make space for someone who has taken the time to produce a quality piece of writing. The odds of seeing it in print are much better.
Sure, most writers don't envision themselves as newspaper writers; they see the big picture and the instant five-book contract from Random House. Some authors actually make it that way. Most, however, have to work and work and work at it. Like any business, there are ways to succeed and ways to fail. Writing locally is a way to succeed. It's a way to get some feedback, if anything else, a way to be seen and, for some writers, it's the on-ramp to "Rich and Famous Highway."