Building up a writing resumé

Suddenly, I’m feeling like a teenager again. Alas, not physically, but mentally. At least when it comes to building up a writing resumé.

Remember back when you applied to colleges and you had to fill out a whole application explaining why you were such an outstanding 18–year-old and why the college should select you over thousands of others? What about those first after-school/summer job applications? Remember hoping they’d be impressed by your babysitting experience and the fact that old Mrs. Jones would say what a responsible young teenager you were because you shoveled her driveway?

Many, many years have passed since that stage in my life. And yet, in some ways, I feel I’m repeating it … thankfully, minus the braces and the teenage angst.

I want to start contacting agents soon and pitching my novel, but I hate the idea of a blank paragraph in the query letter about my fiction writing experience. How can an aspiring author start building up a writing resumé to help diminish that hated white space on the ‘job application’?

Luckily, writers today have fantastic on-line resources at their fingertips, often provided by other aspiring writers. Rebecca, aka Novel Girl, recently published a great post on submitting to literary magazines friendly toward new and emerging writers .

Contests are another option. There are usually small entry fees, but they also offer prizes and, in most cases, the publication of your story on-line and/or in anthologies. These contests can provide positive feedback on your writing, the chance to get your work seen by a wider audience and the deadlines  some of us – ahem! – may need to push us to complete our projects. Two contest web sites I like are The Book Trust site and Funds for Writers .

Writers out there, any other tips or recommended sites for aspiring authors hoping to bolster their writing resumés?


  1. Novel Girl on May 4, 2012 at 6:27 am

    What a nice post. Good to share your thoughts in the writing community. 🙂 I shared this link on Twitter. Happy writing!

  2. kimberlysullivan on May 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Thanks to you for the helpful post about literary magazines seeking work from new writers. It’s been a nice discovery for me to learn just how supportive the online writing community is. Happy writing to you, too!

  3. Melinda Dozier on May 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Excellent post as it is something I am struggling with. I haven’t had time to enter any contests or make myself ‘known.’ Great resources and insight!

  4. kimberlysullivan on May 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Melinda! I’m a neophypte to contests, too. But I’ve been enjoying it so far and the deadlines are helpful!

  5. Chantel Rhondeau on May 5, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Even though I am self-publishing, I’ve been wondering about entering writing contests and such. It could never hurt to have that extra experience, right? Great post, Kimberly! I’m saving this one so I can follow all your links. Thanks!

  6. kimberlysullivan on May 7, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Hi Chantel! Be sure to take a look at the links; they’re updated regularly with new contests. And yes, I think it’s always good practice and exposure… even if you’re self-publishing. Good luck!

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