Tuesday, September 1, 2009
FIRST PUBLISHED ARTICLE
It's funny how hard times force you to think out of the box. I would never have answered an ad on Craigs List for a copywriter, had I not been caught in the jaws of the current recession and forced to look inside my soul for any positives I could find. I knew I could write ... but other than my journal and real estate contracts, I really hadn't tried anything else. So I answered this ad for a copywriter and to my complete surprise, the editor himself answered my query. He asked for a sample of my writing. Ha! I guess I could send him the last contract I drafted ... or tear out a page of my journal. Then I thought, why not write about the experience I had just had attending the Mesa Arizona Temple that morning. So I wrote the article you see posted in my blog, in one setting, and sent it in.
A few days later I get another email from the editor asking me for "ideas" I might have to contribute to his newly started magazine, "Eat Fresh AZ." He sent me to the website www.eatfreshaz.com for a look at the first printing and to get an idea of the type of writing style it required. He asked if I had ever interviewed anyone before and if I had ever submitted any photography. Of course I said no to all of the above and then I heard nothing for a couple of weeks. I then decided to send him some article ideas, most of which were already being considered.
I happened to mention that I was headed to Yuma to do a construction draw inspection on a hotel for an out of state bank and I wondered if he had any ideas for an article in Yuma. That struck a chord ... as he grew up in Yuma and had wanted to do an article on Yuma Lettuce Days. I said I would drive out to Yuma, interview the sponsoring entity and write an article with photos. Talk about walking in the dark.
So I went to Yuma, found the sponsoring entity, interviewed them, took a few shots of lettuce fields ... and headed home. My daughter in law Jackie Malone is a photography stud-ette and she came over to assist in a raw lettuce "photo shoot."
I wrote the article, added the interviews, and photos of the lettuce close-up, taken in our kitchen and sent it in. A few days later, the editor emailed me with a few style suggestions and asked me to tighten it up a bit. I'm still learning the lingo here. So I still don't know, at this point, if he was going to use the article or not, until the magazine proof goes to the printer. It contains on the front page of the Winter edition ... OUR PHOTO and the cover article on Yuma Lettuce Days. Only they changed the title from "Lettuce Entertain You" (which I thought was way superior) to "A Head of the Curve" (???huh?). Anyway, editor rules.
I couldn't download the article onto this post (still learning how to open a PDF file and download it) so you'll have to go to the magazine website to see the article in all its color and photography, which, for the most part I got from the Yuma Lettuce Days archives... other than the cover photo, of course.
Other than the editor stiffed me when I tried to collect my promised $0.25 cents per word fee ... it was a great experience. The fact that I didn't get paid for my work and that the editor proved to be a flake, doesn't take away the fact that I did accomplish another FIRST in a string of other FIRSTS... like running a marathon (a story for another post). Whether or not I will pursue a second attempt at finding a legitimate opportunity, remains to be seen. But the thrill of not only being published but having your photography on the cover ... the very FIRST attempt, is way cool. Of course I have since sent some articles into the Ensign Magazine, only to receive my FIRST rejection letter. Ok, so they don't know who I am at the Ensign ... I used my writing name "WritRat." HaHa... I will have to direct them to my published article in the "Eat Fresh AZ" magazine. I would send them one but I couldn't even find out where the magazine is being distributed, to obtain a copy. I had to print a copy off the website for my own file. Is this a funny ending ... or the beginning of a fun hobby? I guess time will tell one or the other.