Monday, September 12, 2011

Out of Practice

Along with the triumphs and struggles of my current novel, I have also decided to take on the task of getting back into freelance writing. My current job (the one that actually pays me on a regular basis) is connected to this field, but the last real article I wrote for money was published at the beginning of this year. And if I remember correctly, it was about three sentences long. Time to dust off the old keyboard and get back to work. However, it's been a little harder than I thought.

My original idea was to do an interview/profile on someone interesting and who I admired. Easy enough, right? Until you realize that you first have to find a publication that's interested in it. But even before that, you have to come up with multiple angles that the article can veer towards. This is important when you're shopping it around to publications that all have a different focus for their readers.

After all that research is done, it's time to write the query letter. That's not really difficult if you have a good example to follow, except when you get to the last paragraph. It is supposed to be about your credentials and qualifications for writing the article. Um... yeah. I've been writing for years and I still don't have much in the way of published work I'm proud to admit to writing. Some of my best writing was sold as full rights, no byline. How young and naive I was then.

Even evading that paragraph in the query letter, you have to next move on to actually getting the interview. This is where fear of rejection really takes over. I'm not too concerned about the editor of a publication rejecting my ideas--I don't know them from Adam. But the thought of asking for an interview and getting rejected, no matter how politely? Oh, I'm not sure I can handle that. My previous (in-person) interviews have consisted of exactly one audiologist and one biologist. Not a rousing bunch but I had interesting conversations with both. Of course at this point in my career, phone and email interviews should be out of the question unless absolutely necessary. I never really liked those, but I have done them often due to various situations on my end.

And this, my friends, is why I never finished my journalism degree. Three whole years of study and I bailed. Crippling fear apparently. It was, as I recall, a journalism event I was attending where I had my very first panic attack.

At least I still have that all-important English degree that can technically get my foot in the door of both worlds. I know how to write well; it's the hunting and gathering of information that gives me trouble.

But no worries--I'm sure that I'll either get over the fear or maybe put this idea to the side until I can work up to it. I might start with a smaller, research-only article. Baby steps. I need to think in baby steps.


Avery Smithkin said...

I saw your lines, "Some of my best writing was sold as full rights, no byline. How young and naive I was then."

Maybe it was your best writing at the time.

Maybe it was your best writing up until now.

That doesn't mean it was your best writing ever.

Keep trying and keep writing. That's all you have to do.

I think it will work out for you.

Good Luck,

A. Smithkin

mycouponbasket said...

Great job boss, Keep it up. And all the best for your future adventures.