Writing Books/English help



I like English, and it has always been my best subject. I'm trying to find which area of writing I am most talented in. I feel that I can write punchy, short prose well. Do you have any tips for how I can find the type of writing that suits me? Would I be better taking lots of short learning courses? Reading books? Any help you could give would be very helpful.


I don’t know your age, but if you’re still in school, I’ll assume you are under thirty, and with that thought in mind, I can only tell you what I did with my life and see if it works for you. I loved writing from the time I was young, so I took every creative writing class I had the opportunity to take, in high school, college, from arts institutes, or at continuing learning centers. I majored in journalism, in college, because it was the only writing path available to me back in the 1960s, but I didn’t think I would be a journalist. I thought I would be great at writing advertising copy, so I wrote some spec ads to create a portfolio and took them to several ad agencies. To my surprise I garnered some freelance work, which led to my being able to build a real portfolio of published works. Ad copy was fun to write, but I wanted more, so I volunteered to write articles for the newsletters and magazines that nonprofit organizations produced, and when those articles were published, I added them to my portfolio and went out to find assignments from trade magazines as well as consumer magazines. You get my drift; I never settled into one area.

Eventually I had tried out—and usually enjoyed—just about every kind of writing a person can do to make a living, including ad copy, press releases, brochure copy, business reports, proposals, news articles, personality profile articles, magazine articles, radio commercials, resumes, business profiles, and you name it. With a motto of “I’ll write anything for money,” I launched a career in writing and editing that has carried me for more almost four decades, now, and I am doing what I love and making a good living at it.

If I were you, then, I would try everything, and you will find what best suits you. If you find you can do it all, then why specialize? Write! Enjoy! Count your blessings that you’re able to do what you love and make money doing it.  

By the way, I'm sorry to be slow responding; somehow the e-mail got lost, but AllExperts.com notified me of your question pending. I'm usually much faster responding.

I hope you'll sign up for my free newsletter, The Writers Network News. It's full of tips and markets and more. Go to www.zebraeditor.com and click on Free Newsletter.

Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.