June 4, 2023


Moving Forward

13 Highs, Lows, And Key Insights From My Years As A Freelance Writer On Travel And Other Themes

I’ll by no means forget about the Oct afternoon I picked up the cellular phone to listen to the attributes editor of Glamour Journal telling me she needed to buy my posting, “The Joy of Managing.” For $750! Yikes! I stopped respiration for a minute, I was so stunned.

The math couldn’t have been far more stylish — only 2 months earlier, the initially post I at any time wrote, about a trip my then-boyfriend and I took to England, experienced offered for $75.

Unfortunately, the heady days in the ‘70s of $750 for an write-up are extensive gone (until you are Margaret Atwood), but it’s even now attainable to make revenue from composing. I attribute my deeply satisfying freelance career to the following successes (and a several errors!).

1. I Identified The Sweet Place Amongst My Passions And The Wants Of The Current market

Since I liked both running and producing, they ended up a normal match. And the timing was fantastic — my posting would hardly ever have offered 10 yrs afterwards, since by then, the culture had been there and accomplished that.

Other subjects had been also a very good match. In 1980, after dropping 20 kilos with no heading on a eating plan, I started writing articles on excess weight reduction. “Self-Esteem: The Ideal Diet plan Capsule There is” marketed to Body weight Watchers Magazine, “Build A Far better Overall body Image” to now-extinct McCall’s, and other article content on related themes to wellbeing, mom and dad, religious, and worldwide magazines. I also tweaked the similar topic for unique publications, such as the self-esteem post I sold to the evangelist Norman Vincent Peale, who built it obtainable to his considerably-flung congregation.

Later on, I wrote about own and professional interaction. My article, “Are You A Light-weight?” sold to New Girl for a now-unheard-of $1,000. (I cringe at the judgmental title. Neither the editors nor I would be at ease with it now).

2. I Sold Reprints

Just after an report had appeared in a magazine, I despatched it to other markets. My reprints have been revealed within the U.S., as effectively as in Canada, Britain, Australia, South Africa, and Brazil.

3. I Straddled Composing And Education

In my working experience, it’s less difficult to make a dwelling by major seminars than by composing, so I did both. In the late ‘70s and ‘80s, when living in Seattle and Bellingham, I grew to become a body weight-decline specialist. 

Afterwards, that progressed into organization education. When my spouse Barry and I moved to Palo Alto, California, I employed my involvement in Toastmasters (a community talking club) and an post I wrote on presentation abilities for Entrepreneur to enable me land my initially gig in Silicon Valley. A corporation hired me to be their presentation competencies coach, a position that presented me a important gateway into many higher-tech providers.

Following my write-up on women’s communication expertise arrived out in New Woman, a Hewlett-Packard supervisor browse it and hired me to direct in-property seminars, which eventually led to my conducting international seminars for HP in India and Israel.

This parallel monitor of freelance writing and main seminars became a effective sample I utilised all through my functioning daily life. The harmony also assisted because my temperament isn’t suited to writing solely. I’m an extrovert and require to have interaction with individuals. 

4. I Explored Distinct Formats

Despite the fact that my preferred style is the own essay (which happily, the editors of TravelAwaits have authorized me to compose), I also like how-to posts, profiles, and interviews. Mainly because I enjoy understanding about people’s interests, I’ve written about places I know nothing about, such as regional heritage, citizen science, and botany.

5. I Seemed For Unique Funnels Of Profits Inside of The Same Website

Barry and I divide our lives in between Guanajuato, the UNESCO Earth Heritage city in central Mexico, and Eureka on California’s North Coastline. A couple several years in the past, I had coffee with another Guanajuato expat, one of the editors of a magazine/website referred to as Global Residing. It turned out that the web-site had 4 other editors, every with their individual location of responsibility and budget. As shortly as I got residence, I fired off a pitch to the “Postcard” editor, the outcome of which was an posting named “Like to Cook? Help Your Wallet — and Your Waistline — by Cooking in Airbnbs.” (I was paid out $100. Oh properly!) In a month, I was composing for all 4 editors.

6. I At times Wrote Professional Bono

While I like to get paid, occasionally it’s value it to write for totally free. For case in point, a couple of many years back, I wrote about my observations about Mexicans, their houses, and their belongings for a website called Get Abundant Slowly but surely. I shared the publish with a buddy, who belonged to a national affiliation devoted to doing the job with hoarders. As a consequence, I was invited to be a keynote speaker at their yearly convention, whose theme was “Cultures of Use,” for which I was paid $1,000 additionally fees. Not negative for a guest web site submit!

7. I Discovered To Negotiate

I have created content and offered seminars on negotiation — an location that gals typically avoid, to our detriment. We’re well known for accepting what is provided, only to locate out later that our male peers are earning extra. Not me!

Lately, Forbes/MarketWatch available me $400 for an short article about the money classes I realized from my mother and father. Undoubtedly Forbes, of all spots, can spend more, I thought. So I questioned, of system. My editor afterwards instructed me she was startled, but decided it was great practice for her, far too. In the conclusion, they compensated me $500.

8. I Followed The Axiom “Personal Leads To Profitable”

I heard this motto early in my profession and it’s established accurate for me. Producing heat relationships with editors and purchasers by displaying desire in their lives has led to achievement. The nearer and extra trusting the partnership, the higher opportunity of repeat company. For example, I’ve recognized an Australian editor because the ‘80s. Not once have we met, but she has assigned me a lot of article content above the years.

9. I Requested For Aid From Mentors

I identified a property for my posting on managing via a individual connection. Although visiting my sister shortly just after the excursion to England in the ‘70s, I satisfied a friend of hers, an editor at Glamour. When I explained to Janice I needed to compose about my excursion, she presented to evaluate my article. Following reading through my sprawling, wordy 4,000-term piece, she tactfully said, “You have a story within just a story,” (which was only about 20 per cent of the original!). I followed her guidance specifically — and sold the piece to a British Columbian airline magazine.

Janice generously presented to read other product I’d published. Two months afterwards, she shared my functioning piece with the editorial team at Glamour and the rest is heritage.

However, I did not generally just take edge of mentors. Instead of inquiring for advice, as one particular of my colleagues did, I required to give the perception that I already understood almost everything there was to know. Ha! What a miscalculation, valuing moi over education and learning.

Gradually I overcame my fears and uncovered how to marketplace — and even grew to appreciate it. I supplied seminars at neighborhood faculties throughout the Bay Place on journey producing, along with a workshop identified as “From Own to Publishable” (working with one’s very own practical experience as content for obtaining released). Wherever I taught, I’d speak to the regional newspaper and invite a reporter to interview me.

A columnist at the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat released an write-up about me, which was syndicated in the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, including The Chicago Tribune and The Phoenix Republic. The media coverage landed me my very first of several out-of-point out gigs. 

11. I Uncovered My Tribe

In Palo Alto, I joined a team referred to as “Monday Writers.” At initial, I was skeptical, imagining I experienced nothing to learn from folks who wrote fiction and poetry. Improper! The critiquing they provided was the most effective I have at any time gained.

12. But… I Wasn’t Often Inclined To Play The Video game

At times, for case in point, I did not feel like finding quotes from psychological industry experts all around the country on some insight or theory that appeared flawlessly apparent to me. The whole plan irritated me. This was what editors anticipated, although, and they’d sometimes eliminate my short article for the reason that I was unwilling to do the grunt work. Had I been a lot less stubborn, much more of my posts would have been published in glossy countrywide magazines

13. I Was As Interested In Acquiring Pleasurable As I Was Earning Cash

I’ve generally been inspired to focus since the much more described your market, the additional simply identifiable and effective you are. But for greater or even worse, I favor to emphasis on a wide variety of subjects, from journey and expat lifestyle, to bodily, psychological, and religious wellness. Cash was never my only target.

Seeking back, I believe my power was not self-assurance, but enthusiasm. I was overjoyed that I could make a existence doing what I beloved. The ‘80s vintage, Do What You Really like And The Revenue Will Comply with was in a lot of approaches obscure and impractical, but for me, it was accurate: I did do what I cherished, and the cash did in truth follow.