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

Increasingly, people are turning to the Internet for information about religion and spirituality. As Muslim writers, we have a role to play in correcting misinformation about Islam and working to help educate people in our own communities stay connected and informed. Keep reading for information on how to make your time on the Net beneficial and (if you choose) profitable as well.

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.

10 comments:

Waqas Ahmed said...

Great tips! If anyone is interested in any of these then please email your address and interests to info@whyislam.org or queries@icna.org

precisiontext said...

As-salamu Alaykum,
Thanks for leaving a comment. Can you be more specific about what you are offering/asking people to do?

Waqas Ahmed said...

We need help in almost everyfield. Here are some based on the above tips:

1. Create Content for our Websites
2. Manage one of the largest Newsletters in US
3. Starting and running a group Blog
4. Participate in discussions with intent to publicize outreach events
5. Write for content sites
6. Revert follow-up (mainly long distance)
7. Translate English web sites, videos, audios into a language you know
8. Design layout for Magazine

Let us know if you are interested in any of these and we will send further details.

Sadaf said...

This is a great article, Amel! Baarak Allahu Fee Ilmiki Wa Jazaakillahu Khairan.

I used to frequent FWJ too up until recently. The problem with me, in my opinion, is my location (Pakistan). I have applied to several paying markets (e.g Islamonline.net, Sisters Magazine), received a response (they asked me to send in a sample of my writing) and then...poof! No word from them again.

As you know I write at howtodthings.com and that really satisfies me, i.e seeing that my articles on Islam get published, and watching the hits increase everyday, makes me so happy that at least I am providing a trickle in the sea of Islamic knowledge out there!

What is your opinion? Most paying markets in North America or Europe send money by wire transfer, Western Union, Paypal, or cheque, and when these payments are sent to Pakistan, they cost more i.e the payment process becomes expensive for the payer. Do you think employers in the West prefer writers based there for this reason?

serendipity said...

Asalaamualaikum,
JazakAllahkhairun for this comprehensive list & tips. I have come across so many such lists that describe all possible avenues open for writers but this is the first one that caters to Muslims, alhumdullilah. Very useful. Thank you.

precisiontext said...

As-salamu Alaykum,

Waqas: Thanks for leaving additional information. I have posted your list on the main blog at:

http://muslimwriters.blogspot.com/2008/08/writers-needed-at-whyislamorg.html

Sadaf: Thank you for the positive feedback. I have addressed some of these issues in a Q&A, located at:

http://muslimwriters.blogspot.com/2008/08/q-are-writers-in-pakistan-and-other.html

Serendipity: I am so glad you found this information useful. I will, insha'Allah, strive to provide more content of this type.

Mynie said...

Assalamualaikum,
I would like to ask your permission to share this useful list on my blog.
Many thanks. May Allah reward you..

precisiontext said...

As-salamu Alaykum, Mynie, and thank you for your interest. Feel free to link to the article (but not reproduce it on your blog).

wa jazzacki Allah khair!

YUAN said...

Assalamualaikom ww everyone..
Great article. I am Norhassan from Philippines and I just opened a blog for young Muslims when I happened to come across this page. Very interesting and welcoming.
It just also sparked my mind what other things I could do as a Muslim writer. Actually, I also write concerning Muslims specially here in our place--Philippines. Just like all other places where Muslims are a minority, depiction of Muslims in media is at its worst. As such, a call for Muslim writers must be done. I now came up with the idea of organizing Muslim writers from our town and university. It's just sad that only few among those Muslim writers I know are real ones--Muslims in faith. Anyway, pls keep me updated. InshaALLAH, I will keep in touch too. MAassalam..

precisiontext said...

As-salamu Alaykum, Norhassan, and thank you for leaving a comment. It is interesting to learn about the experiences of Muslim writers from different countries.

This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.