Fall term, which begins on Tuesday, I teach a course on novel writing and one on essay writing. For the third consecutive term, my novel writing class is packed, while my essay class is much smaller. If you live near Lane Community College, you might consider my class. You’ll be sure to receive lots of individual help that I can’t offer in a jam packed class.
Writing Tip for Today: I don’t understand the discrepancy in enrollment, but these days everyone wants to become a published novelist it seems. A great goal, but a writer who also develops her skills in writing essays may have an edge. Here’s why:
- Stepping Stones. If you can write an informative,tight essay, you may be able to gain valuable experience and bylines. Even if the essays are nonpaying markets, the demand for well-written essays is much higher than for incomplete novels.
- Time. It takes less time and maybe fewer rewrites to produce an essay than a full-length novel.
- Waiting Well Spent. Since novel writing takes much longer than an essay, you may be able to build up your writing resume and kill time by writing essays while you finish that novel.
- Versatility. Essays are very versatile, ranging from personal, memoir-type essays to opinion pieces, travel, humor and many more. If you had to research to write your novel, you might be able to write an essay on the research topic.
- Markets. With all the changes in the book industry and in writing, period, essays are still in demand. The editorial pages of newspapers and magazines, both print and online, still call for submissions, and chicken soup-type anthologies are still being published. If you write “personal” or memoir essays about your life, you’ll have a valuable family legacy even if your essays don’t get published.