From Writer to Writer: Melissa Breau on Getting Started

Meet Melissa Breau

My name is Melissa Breau. I’m a freelance writer, editor and a cheesy romantic who likes long walks on the beach and arguing about comma placement.

I specialize in helping business owners put their passion into words. I write freelance for several magazines, including as a columnist at Pet Business and edit ebooks for self-published authors.

Melissa’s Tips for Getting Started in the Writing Biz

The best thing I ever did for my own writing was learn how to read someone else’s writing critically. Find a really good story–what was done right? Find a really bad story–what was done wrong? Keep that part of your brain switched to “on” whenever you’re reading.

Realize that writing is not one of those things you can ever truly perfect; that’s part of its charm. Because of this, you should ALWAYS be working to become better.

Know that everyone gets nervous when pitching. Proofread your pitches; maybe even let them sit overnight. But be sure to send them out, because if you don’t you definitely won’t land the assignment.

Learn how to dissect a publication; can you tell which style guide they use? What about their voice? Identify these things before you pitch; then check for them in your final piece. The closer you manage to match the publication’s tone, the more your editor will love you.

Finally, there is an amazing group of writers and editors available on social media. Introduce yourself and then listen. They share some excellent tips… (if necessary, resort to flattery).

Connect With Melissa

Jargon Writer | Twitter


About Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author specifically for Emily Suess and Suess's Pieces. If you would like to pitch a guest post, contact Emily.
  • http://twitter.com/NataliaSylv Natalia Sylvester

    I love that you included “But be sure to send them out, because if you don’t you definitely won’t land the assignment.” Sounds like obvious advice but I know where you’re coming from. I’ve helped several freelancers with pitches, and then followed up to see how it went only to find out they never sent it! I can understand trying to be prepared but sometimes the readiness comes from just doing. 

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    “The best thing I ever did for my own writing was learn how to read someone else’s writing critically.” This is superb advice, I believe. 

    I also love your reference to finding partners in the social media; the amount of help one can get from socializing online is absolutely incredible. 

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