How I Started Freelance Writing
Some years ago, I left the practice of nursing. Unsure of what my future held, I embarked on a mission. Every morning I was to be dressed and at my computer by 8:30AM to read about current events.
I read lots of online newspapers and one day, there was an article in the New York Times which didn't portray an accurate picture of what was still my profession, nursing. So I wrote a letter to their editor and explained why. Several days later, I saw something similar in the Washington Post and responded in kind.
Several days later, the phone rang: Both the Times and the Post wanted permission to publish my letters. I was completely untrained other than 10th grade English. Ah, to see your name in print!
Not long afterwards, a new nursing magazine was to make it's debut. I contacted the editor to make several article suggestions (was I bold, or what?). The editor thought that I wanted to write the articles that I suggested and assigned one to me. Wow, an assigned article, but I didn't strut too much. After all, they were probably hard up for authors.
But when that first article was published and I had my own byline, there was such a sense of pride that possibly I'd found a temporary niche. Some weeks later, a check arrived in the mail! Not only wasn't I expecting payment (we had no fee agreement) but I was now on search engines. Watch out world! Local newspapers published my work and my confidence grew.
Several weeks later, after drafting another article, I pitched an idea to the editor of an established magazine. She liked my query; that was the beginning of a relationship with her and her magazine that lasted nearly 9 years. I was critiqued, it was brutal but all positive criticism. She and her staff taught the ropes and gave me all sorts of tips. During that time, I submitted articles for her magazine, for other magazines and wrote copy for another magazine. I also edited a local paper's health column.
The money I made freelancing was just enough to buy groceries or take my husband out to dinner; definitely not enough to pay the mortgage. I know of several people who have great potential to make a living at it, others who do make a living as authors. But most are like me and freelance because they have such a passion for writing. They do it out of love.
Just a few days ago, the subject material of an article that I'd written in 2004 grabbed someone's attention. It was a magazine's cover story and I was particularly proud of that article. You'll never know if something you do today will garner interest, tomorrow!