Thursday, 07 March 2013 06:03

Getting Started in Column Writing Featured

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Getting Started in Column Writing

You’ve written many articles for Websites, newsletters and now you’ve even conquered the territory of getting published in a magazine. What’s the next step, you ask? How to I make the editor ask for my work weekly or monthly?

Enter: the column.

Before you march up to an editor’s office or send her unsolicited mail asking to write regularly for a publication, learn all there is to know about this form.

A column is written weekly, monthly or bi-monthly, and must be focused on one particular topic. You have to be consistent in what you write, maintain the same tone of voice, and stay focused on the issue at hand. If you’re writing a column for the writing parent, don’t delve into issues of parenting in general. Your readers will probably be parents who write, and they will be more interested in learning how to find time for their writing, rather than how to take care of their children.

A column can last from three to four months to ten or maybe even twenty years.

When you decide to write a column, make sure that the topic you choose is of interest to readers and will keep them coming back for more, week after week. If your topic is boring or uninteresting, chances are you’ll have no readers, and the editor will soon wrap up your column with a short goodbye note.

Make sure that you can keep the commitment. Writing a column takes more than just a bright idea and good writing. It needs dedication, discipline and the ability to meet deadlines. If you can’t meet deadlines, you’ll soon be out of a job, and out of the publication—for good. A columnist has to make sure that she provides an on-topic, interesting, timely article each week (or month), interesting enough to make the reader come back to read it.

If you decide to delve into the world of column writing, your best bet would be to start with a regional daily or weekly newspaper. Not only will this market be easier to break into, but will give you a lot of exposure. Columns for cooking, astrology, inspiration and living in the city run frequently in newspapers and are the best places for starting off. However, try to avoid topics that have been done to death. Put a unique and interesting spin to a topic, and you’re bound to get the editor’s interest.

Websites too are now beginning to open up to columns. Just like their print counterparts, Websites, e-zines and even online versions of print magazines ask for original material on a weekly or monthly basis. The biggest advantage of writing online is the short acceptance and publication period.

The best way to query an editor about writing a column is by sending clips of your work and your column topic. If the editor likes your query, you’ll be asked to send in an article, and you’ll soon be on your way to publishing glory. Keep in mind though, that column writing is not like writing an article—it’s not *your* convenience and *your* time constraints that matter. The only thing the editor wants from you is a good quality article each week, submitted on time. Do that, and you’ll have a regular income from at least one source.

Mridu Khullar is a full-time freelance writer from New Delhi, India and has written for almost 70 publications, recently including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Writer's Digest, Women's Health & Fitness, Girls' Life, Wedding Dresses and ePregnancy. Visit her at

Click here to return to the index of Articles

Read 610 times Last modified on Monday, 15 November 2021 15:40

Comments powered by CComment

Latest Posts

  • The Creative Industry Needs to Look at Things Differently Post Budget 2022
    On 29 October 2021, the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz tabled Budget 2022 in the Malaysian parliament. RM50 million has been allocated for the arts and culture industry. This comes after a year and a half after the entire industry came to an absolute standstill. With…
  • ‘The Covid Positives’ – life lessons learnt from the pandemic by Phanindra Ivatury
    After a long drawn battle with the biggest catastrophe in our living memory, global humanity is finally getting to see some quintessential ray of light at the end of the treacherous tunnel in the form of COVID-19 vaccines, currently being rolled out to all parts of the globe. A ‘COVID-19…
  • Chaos of Whole Books
    Is it possible to read several books at once? Aneeta Sundararaj finds out. When I was a child, my cousin used to boast that he could read four storybooks at a time. As an adult, when he invested in an e-Reader, he continued to boast that he could…
  • Writing for You? Or for Me?
    Writing for You? Or for Me? ‘You must always write with your reader in mind.’ This was one of the first pieces of advice that I received when I began my writing career. Honestly, I found this extremely hard to do because more often than not, I couldn’t picture my…
  • One Book That Changed My Writing Life
    My latest novel, The Age of Smiling Secrets was shortlisted for two categories in the Book Award 2020 organised by the National Library of Malaysia. When I reflected on the journey that this book has taken, I acknowledged the enormous influence of one of my all-time favourite books, Joseph Anton:…