Once upon a time, there was a writer. She’d had over a hundred feature articles published in various magazines, before she heard about FundsForWriters.com. “Hey, I’m a writer! I bet I could tell other writers a thing or two, and earn fifty cool ones,” she thought. So she dashed off a submission to the editor, Hope Clark. It was rejected. She tried again. And again. She had to pitch four times before her fifth submission was finally accepted. Even then, the piece seemed so less-than-satisfactorily edited, it spawned not one but two irate editorials, back-to-back, on the importance of perfecting a pitch before submitting – making her the only writer to have “inspired” such an occurrence. Hope’s words stung her. She could’ve quit then. She could’ve packed it all in, declared this market unfit for her work, proclaimed its editor crazy and never looked back. Sour grapes? Likely. But she didn’t.
That writer was me.
Last year, a writer had five articles published with FundsForWriters.com. Meaning nearly once every couple of months, you read her name in the newsletter. She came this close to landing a “3-in-3”: three acceptances in three days. She became one of only two people to ever have two feature articles published in the newsletter in the same month, a record.
That writer was also me. This is my story.
Here’s how I went from 0 to 5 FFW credits in less than 12 months:
1. I learned to edit.
I am naturally verbose. If a thing can be said in four words, I use ten. So when asked to include voice, flavour, anecdotes and practical tips, all in under 600 words, I cursed and shook my head. “Impossible!” But then I did it. Five times. I grit my teeth, hardened my heart against my trademark lyrical prose and took a machete to the verbiage. As the word count dropped, my bank balance climbed.
2. I studied the market.
It helped to subscribe to the newsletter for several weeks, to discern a pattern to the features presented. The guidelines themselves said it best, they couldn’t have laid it out any clearer. I took note.
3. I didn’t encumber myself.
I’ve written on diverse topics from parenting to mobile-optimized websites. I drew upon my interest and experience from other fields to apply to writing. Nobody told me it couldn’t be done, so I didn’t let it stop me. I was bold. I took risks. Sure, there’s a chance of failure, but at least I won’t regret not trying.
4. I didn’t spread myself too thin, either.
I’m online social media shy. All I have is a blog to showcase my biography, and my writing itself. I keep both updated. I don’t invest time in doing things I don’t want to, or can’t. I recognize my limitations, and work to my strengths. I focus on what I want, and go after it. I considered breaking into FFW a challenge, a milestone, a personal yardstick of success. I persevered and succeeded.
5. I developed a good relationship with the editor.
Hope didn’t think much of me to begin with. Probably she didn’t think of me at all. Today she knows me as “sweet,” “awfully professional,” and “industrious.” I worked hard to earn her respect, just like she earned mine. I paid heed to her feedback. I analysed, revised and realised. We may not always be of the same opinion, but that’s alright; it would be boring to agree all the time. Now I wait for the day she calls me her “best freelancer.”
Grapes? I always liked mine sweet and juicy.
Devyani Borade writes on the humor and pathos of everyday life. Her articles on the craft, business and heart of writing have been accepted/published by nearly all writing-related publications in the USA and UK. She likes to eat chocolates, read comic books and try her husband’s patience! Visit her website Verbolatry at http://devyaniborade.blogspot.com to contact her and read her other work.