first_imgThe America’s Future Foundation Writing Fellows Program offers valuable training for editorial writers, but the skills it teaches can be helpful for writers of all kinds. If you are a long-form storyteller or aspiring novelist looking to improve your writing and spread your ideas to the world, the Writing Fellows Program can help you achieve success.When I applied to the program in the summer of 2018, I had written a few long essays and one unsold, full-length novel. I found short writing so difficult that it had taken me nearly a month to whittle down my first 600-word op-ed for the Detroit News.By the end of six weeks with the Writing Fellows Program, I had the confidence and tools I needed to successfully publish timely op-eds. My byline found new homes. Most importantly, my writing skills had improved.Here are seven reasons why people from any writing background can benefit from the AFF Writing Fellows Program.1. Learn the RulesLearning the ropes of any writing style is important. The Writing Fellows Program teaches the importance of following protocol for pitching and writing op-eds, which is key for any new writer who wants to appear professional and get published.Being able to adhere to pitching guidelines in the op-ed world is great training for the uphill climb of writing long-form pitches, query letters, or book proposals, which are similarly constraining.2. Accumulate New SkillsAfter the program ends, one-off training sessions teach additional helpful lessons.A session I found particularly valuable delved into the basics of being interviewed on TV or radio. Our speaker conducted mock interviews with each class member and delivered personalized feedback to help us improve.These are skills I hope to use on some far-off-future national book tour, but I’m also certain to use them as a result of my opinion writing. With Twitter, you never know when a piece will net you the attention of someone in the media. (In fact, after my third op-ed, a local DJ’s Twitter direct message netted me two radio spots in one week.)3. Further Your GoalsThe process of writing novels, short stories, or lengthy essays (and let’s face it, many 9-5 jobs) can be isolating. In the short term, opinion writing can provide a respite from the grind, and a valuable escape if writer’s block hits during a long-term project. In the long term, using shorter projects to establish your voice among like-minded thinkers and develop an audience that respects your opinion can be a feather in your cap when seeking an agent or further publishing opportunities.4. Explore the PossibilitiesBefore the Writing Fellows Program I believed I could write about military veterans, the war in Afghanistan, and the eternal need to study the Holocaust.The program showed me that the only limitation to what I could write was in what I wanted to take the time to understand. In the last year, I’ve had almost 50 bylines covering my areas of expertise as well as the BDS movement, the southern border, media-driven hatred, the nation’s opioid epidemic, the First and Second Amendments, the Green New Deal, the Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax, and even how and why to ditch Nike.It was a tremendous relief to join the nation’s tense political conversation rather than languish unheard and angry on the sidelines.5. Practice StorytellingThe most compelling opinion pieces do not merely regurgitate dry policy facts, but tell stories about the human experience, interwoven with data and evidence. Storytellers may find they are skilled in moving audiences through opinion writing. This can be a fantastic way to practice your art in a new setting.6. Build CommunityWriting for well-respected publications, you may be able to work with amazing people to shine a spotlight on their work. If you keep at it, you may be the party being sought out for assistance.Connections made through writing are a meaningful reminder that words and thoughts have an impact. They may lead to other tangibles, like real friendships, leads on breaking stories, assistance with future projects, or introductions to new audiences.7. Improve Your WritingThe ability to write tighter, better, and more quickly was my greatest takeaway from the Writing Fellows Program. I still love long-form storytelling, but I now have the skills to make a moving case in 600 to 1,500 words.If you learn to write compelling and persuasive content in 600 words, imagine what you can do with 3,000…. or 100,000.Six weeks with the AFF Writing Program changed my writing, and my life, but don’t just take my word for it. Apply now, and see for yourself how the program impacts your writing career.last_img