Friday, May 28, 2010

What Was Your First Big Assignment?

I've been freelancing for regional publications (mostly business journals and the local paper) since 2003. I learned a lot from those early assignments, but the whole time, I was itching to break into magazines. Like most newbie freelancers, I didn't know the first thing about how to pitch, who to pitch, how to come up with know, the sort of things that quickly become second nature!

Once I met my friend Jodi, a full-time freelancer, at one of our first writer's group meetings, things gradually started to fall into place. She helped me navigate the murky waters of pitching editors and writing a query. I remember one of my first emails--"I really want to break into magazines but I don't have any ideas". Her response back to me? "You must be joking". Turns out, she was right. I started having some luck with the queries, which naturally kept me motivated enough to keep sending them out.

My first big (unpaid) assignment was a first-person essay for Today's Caregiver , a niche publication, back in 2007. My first paid assignment was for History magazine, a pub I've written for several times since.

I think I'm still new enough in the freelancing biz to still have every pitch acceptance be a total thrill. I hope I always have the same enthusiasm for it.

What about you? What was your first big assignment? Are you still excited by editors' acceptances, or have you been there, done that?


  1. No, an editor's acceptance is always a thrill. There's so much rejection in the writing world, no matter where you are in your career.

    Great to discover your blog. Thanks for listing mine and for the follow on Twitter.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Chantal! I've been reading your blog for the past few months--I love travel, I love writing, and you do a great job of blending both!