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Welcome to WordWork™ . . .

"The Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

-- Constitution of the United States (Article I, Section 8)

Many people stand prepared to help you as a writer in many ways. Some can tell you how to unleash (or, if need be, rein in) your muse. Others can hand you the secrets of drafting the cover letter or making the query call, and another contingent offers sound advice on initiating or fine-tuning whatever you write to make it more publishable. More than a few even provide suggestions on how to live the writer's life -- everything from organizing your schedule to rearranging your workspace.

These people have much to say, quite a bit of it worthwhile. I've bought their books and read their articles on these subjects, and have gained much from doing so. But, after a third of a century's free-lancing, several thousand published essays, and eight books, I don't need cures for writer's block (which I've never been able to afford), paths to my muse (who shows up dependably enough so long as I work at least five days a week), or tips on getting that first paragraph just right. What I need is sound counsel on how to make more money doing what I already do, and on how to sidestep or scare off the assorted corporate and institutional con men and muggers who infest the publishing industry and have determined to either keep me from my just recompense or else steal it from me.

In short, I don't require a spiritual guide to enable me to better lead the life of the mind. And if that's what you're after, you're in the wrong place. WordWork™ is the term I've come to use to define what I do every day when I sit down at my desk in front of my Mac, that complex activity in which I generate intellectual property, find outlets for it, license its usages, see it into print or get it out online, and transmit it to its readerships around the world. Alongside, and interwoven with, the life of the mind, I also lead the business life of the mind. Content provider, maker of intellectual property, wordsmith, scribe, call me what you will . . . but writer serves the purpose perfectly well and with only two syllables.

I'm in the word biz; it's my livelihood. And for decades I've waited for someone to talk about it as such. Few do. So I decided to start writing the manual I've long wished I could find in the bookstore, the one filled with survival strategies and tactics for the working writer. I haven't built this site for amateur or Sunday writers, hobbyists, devotees of "journaling" -- the kind of people who like to say that they're "trying their hand" at writing, or thinking of doing so. I'd just as soon have them dabble in brain surgery or nuclear physics. No one's unwelcome here, but I've designed this site with the working professional writer -- and anyone who aspires to that status -- in mind.

What do I mean by that? "A professional writer," as someone once said, "is one who finds writing more difficult than the average person." Making your living from WordWork™ -- professional writing of any kind -- requires intelligence, stamina, creativity . . . and a plan. Most writers have the first three, or they don't last long. But you can bumble along without a plan for years, even decades. I know; I did so. And then I found a clearer path: the way of WordWork™.

Here's what you'll find at WordWork™:

Essays about nuts-and-bolts writers' issues that I've written and published over the years.

Correspondence, public and private, on a wide variety of writing-related subjects -- some written for publication, as Letters to the Editor, some written for circulation among selected colleagues, and some to individual writers, editors, and publishers. Some of this material has appeared in print; much of it appears here for the first time. (When it's private, names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the culpable-but-potentially-litigious.)

Reportage on writer-related events, ranging from the American Writers Congress of 1982 (out of which the National Writers Union arose) to the recent Tasini vs. Times landmark Supreme Court case.

A unique series of WordWork™ how-to booklets providing clear, effective solutions to specific ongoing problems faced by working professional writers: cash flow, inventory organization and management, copyrighting material, and other everyday issues. They're available for you to order as printed publications or download as PDF files, for small fees.

Information about the WordWork™ workshops and seminars I teach for the National Writers Union and other institutions, including instructions on how I can make those available wherever you live and work.

Information about the WordWork™ lectures I present around the country, including instructions on how I can make those available wherever you live and work.

Information about internship opportunities for writing students and other pre-professional writers who want some first-hand experience in the business of earning a living as a writer.

A professional autobiography of sorts, built from prefaces and forewords to some of my books, in which I chronicle some of my understandings of my craft and the field in which I exercise it; and a short biographical sketch, so you'll have some sense of the experience and background on which I base my ideas and recommendations.

A WordWork™ Links page to connect you with key organizations and serious individuals who can enable you to bump your professionalism as a writer up a notch or two.

Other samples of my writing dotted variously around The Nearby Café, the larger site of which this is a subsection.

I'll post new essays and correspondence, older ones, additional links, and other material to this WordWork™ site regularly, so you'll have reason to return. If response merits it, I'll consider including such features as a chat room, and even creating some real-time chat opportunities. I'm open to suggestions. You can reach me at

/s/ A. D. Coleman


All contents © copyright 1980-2002 by A. D. Coleman except as indicated. All rights reserved. For reprint permissions contact Image/World Syndication Services, POB 040078, Staten Island, NY 10304-0002 USA;T/F (718) 447-3091,