From as far back as I can remember I have had two goals in my life: to become a mother and to become a writer. I’ve finally fulfilled both wishes and am ecstatic at being able to fulfill both roles simultaneously.
Becoming a mother is what actually led me to becoming a freelance writer. Once you have a baby, you have endless material. I’d query every parenting publication I could find, hoping one would give me a chance. I was finally successful with a regional monthly parenting magazine. My first piece with them led to several others, including many travel articles that allow me to take my family along on these working vacations.
Before long I was writing for some of the publisher’s other parenting magazines, writing features on travel, entertainment, pets and shopping for an area newspaper and working on columns for specialty publications and trade magazines that were related to my occupation or my husband’s (I’ve worked as an administrative assistant and my husband is a firefighter.)
Like any writer, I received countless rejections before I finally was published. In this business, perseverance is a big factor. A rejection from a publication doesn’t mean that you’ll never be writing for them. Sometimes a different angle is all it takes to convince an editor that your topic is worthy reading material. Or you may need to have enough patience to wait for a new editor to come on board. What doesn’t fit for one editor, may work for another.
Once I did get my first piece published, I considered myself a “writer” and was sure to advertise the fact that I was an “experienced” freelance writer in my queries. Having just one clip can make a big difference.
In the past two years, I’ve published well over 100 articles, authored a local historical book and have another book in the works. I’ve since had a third child and I just keep writing at naptime and after the children are in bed. I’ve found that you don’t have to be an expert on something to write about it, you just need to have the motivation to do adequate research and have some enthusiasm about the topic. If I’m offered an assignment for something I know nothing about and am not interest in, I don’t take it because I realize that my lack of interest may taint the piece. If it’s an unfamiliar area, but it sparks my interest, I go for it. Who’d have thought that just over two years after publishing my first article, I’d have the freedom and to be turning down assignments? I now have the two things I’ve always dreamed about – I see the name Mommy on notes from my little angels and I see my full name in print every week.
Carrie Steinweg is the author of Images of America: Lansing, Illinois. Available from Arcadia Publishing, www.arcadiapublishing.com and online bookstores, including amazon.com. She is a correspondent and columnist for the Times Newspapers of Northwest Indiana, specializing in entertainment, travel and shopping. Past articles can be viewed at thetimesonline.com. She has written on parenting issues and health related issues. Some past travel and museum articles can be viewed at chicagoparent.com. Works have also been published in Firehouse, Firehouse.com, the School Administrator, Senior Life, Healthy Child, Chicago Baby, Auto & RV, 9-1-1 Magazine, Springfield Parent. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org