As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), Dear Readers...
NEW for September 18, 2016:
This blog has MOVED to the Muslim Writers Club, a new website dedicated to all of your writing needs.
Here are some of the pages you will find on the new site:
Jobs and Internships for Muslim Writers – Check out the latest opportunities.
Freelance Markets for Muslim Writers – A list of magazines, newspapers, and websites that want to work with YOU, insha'Allah. Includes many paying markets.
Book Publishers of Interest to Muslim Writers – Have you written a book? Start your search for a publisher here.
Contests & Events for Muslim Writers - Competitions, courses, webinars, and more. Don't miss the fun!
Writing Activities for Muslim Children – Coming Soon!
Q&A Page - Get your questions about the art (and business) of writing answered.
Articles and Other Resources – Even more resources for Muslim writers.
Hope to see you at the new site, Insha'Allah!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
10 Ways to Serve Islam with your Writing
1. Create Content for your Mosque's Website
Does your local masjid (mosque) have a website? Is the content timely, well-written and easy to navigate? A website is a great way to connect people in the community and keep visitors informed about local prayer times, masjid lectures, and important events. But don't stop there. You can create a mega-site with information about Islam, links to local businesses, and support for community members.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Approach the masjid board, and ask if they have a budget for you to maintain the website for a year.
General: The same idea could work with any business or organization. Start local, and see where your efforts take you. You'd be surprised how many people would like to have a web presence but don't have the time or know-how to get started.
2. Write a Newsletter
If you are like many people, you might forward your favorite articles and websites about Islam to family and friends. You can do this more professionally by creating a regular newsletter (weekly or monthly, depending on the time you have available), complete with commentary, short articles/poems that you write, and links to outside material – and then inviting people to subscribe.
Tip for the Professional Writer: As your newsletter increases in popularity, charge for advertising. Also make use of affiliate links for a bit of extra revenue.
General: Newsletters can be about any topic you are passionate about and may lead to paying assignments with professional organizations and local businesses.
3. Start a Blog
Starting a blog is a great way to share information about Islam and get your creative juices flowing at the same time. It is also free (and easy) with services like Blogger and Wordpress.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Place Google ads and/or affiliate links on your site. Also use the opportunity to advertise your services.
General: Like newsletters, blogs can be about any topic. Blog on your own, or do it professionally by becoming a "pro" blogger.
4. Participate in Discussions
Use your writing skills to participate in on-line discussions about Islamic topics. Depending on your interests, you may wish to mingle with Muslims or non-Muslims, providing support and/or advice, correcting misinformation, and adding a new dimension to the dialogue. Make sure to learn the etiquette of dawah first.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Use your signature line to advertise your services or even the books you have written. Also, provided you have the requisite knowledge, participating in discussions about Islam helps place you as an expert that people may call on in the future. In short, it is an excellent tool for networking.
General: Use discussion forums in general to network and display your expertise in your chosen field, whether it is writing, traveling on a budget, or something else.
5. Start your own Group
These days, there are e-groups for everyone from Muslim writers to Muslim homeschoolers to new Muslims…and scores of others too numerous to mention. What are you passionate about? Start a group around your interest and invite like-minded people to join you. As group owner, you set the rules and determine the group's direction.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Use the group as a networking tool, and encourage others to do the same.
General: As above, there's no need to limit yourself to Islamic topics alone. Take your interest, and run with it.
6. Write for Content Sites
In most cases, content sites like BellaOnline and others (think Helium, How to do Things, etc.) may not be great money-makers, but they are valuable tools for dawah and can be enjoyable to writers who like the challenge of writing on various topics and reaching out to people at the same time.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Some content sites pay quite well. About.com, for example, offers $725 per month in base pay as well as a chunk of shared ad revenue.
General: Check these sites out regularly for new writing opportunities. Today's non-paying market may suddenly become the paying market of tomorrow (and vice versa).
7. Befriend a New or Isolated Muslim
As the world's fastest growing religion, Islam is seeing increasing numbers of people who embrace its teachings without the support of a real-life community. In fact, many of today's new Muslims have learned about Islam entirely on the Internet or at their local bookstore and need support, friendship, and basic information on everyday matters. Organizations like WhyIslam.Org have e-mail correspondence programs and need volunteers.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Add mentoring to your resume.
General: E-Mentoring in any field is a wonderful way to give back to the community and can take as little as ten minutes each day.
8. Leave Comments
We've all had the experience of reading articles that portray Islam and its teachings in an inaccurate light – either that, or the coverage of Islamic topics is often highly superficial/simplistic and even degrading to Muslims. Many newspapers now publish their articles on-line and allow readers to post comments…so don't hold back. Leaving a comment is a good opportunity to correct misconceptions, fight ignorance, and dispel stereotypes, and non-Muslim readers often express appreciation when a Muslim steps in to add his or her voice to the conversation.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Add credibility to your comments by using your real name. Go a step further by writing a letter to the editor or writing an editorial. Many newspapers pay for the latter.
General: No matter what your topic, it is important to maintain a respectful tone. Use logic and facts instead of raw emotion to get your point across. Not only will readers take you more seriously, you will also be more likely to have your comment or letter published.
9. Translate Information about Islam
If you are bi-lingual, then you can help translate articles on Islamic topics to whichever languages you write in well enough…so long as you respect the relevant copyright laws (it is essential that you gain permission from the author or publisher before performing a translation for publication, distribution, or profit). There is a lack of information about Islam in many of the world's languages, so translation is a worthwhile undertaking for those who are able to do it. See this call for translators as an example of a mass translation project that is having both impact and success.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Use your translations as clips to obtain more translation work.
General: If you've never done professional translation, visit Proz.com. This is a great place to learn the basics and find some paying gigs at the same time.
10. Write for Magazines
Need I say more? This blog contains a wealth of information for Muslim writers, including a comprehensive list of Muslim magazines, newspapers and websites in need of writers, so check out the list and decide how to best place your work.
Tip for the Professional Writer: Learn the craft and business of freelance writing by visiting this site and others dedicated to writing (see the right-hand column of this blog for suggestions).
General: If you're looking for more general markets, check out this list at BellaOnline.