I relate to Bill Murray’s character, Bob Wiley, from the movie What About
Bob? Bob is afraid of everything. When it comes to writing, so am I. So
when I finally decided to be a writer, I used Bob’s psychiatrist’s advice
– I took baby steps.
First, I visited the library and read Writers Market. Then, I enrolled in
Journalism classes and read every writing book I could. Two years later,
when our local paper solicited feedback about changes they’d made, I
finally took my next step by submitting a comment. The publisher thanked
me and asked me to visit.
When I visited, they asked me to proofread. I did and then came back the
next week. I kept proofreading until I had the courage to take my next
step and ask if I could write. I was told I could interview someone in our
community so I interviewed my librarian. The editor liked my article,
published it and encouraged me to keep writing. Hesitantly, I proposed
covering a small fundraising event. The editor agreed and accepted my
article. A few weeks later, when one of his freelancers was unable to
cover a local pageant, he asked if I’d be interested. I accepted.
Today, I have a number of published articles from that paper. Plus, that
editor referred me to another, larger paper in the area that gave me a
project writing advertorials. They, in turn, plan to use me again and,
through them, I met a financial planner who wants me to ghostwrite a book
The bottom line? If you need credits and experience, contact your local
paper. They may be short-staffed and might shower you with attention,
appreciation and assignments. Work hard, take risks, and soon, your baby
steps will become running leaps.
Rebecca Jens is a freelance writer/photographer who lives in Fort
Mill, SC. She studied Journalism through the Institute of Childrens
Literature and Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana and hopes to
soon break free of the corporate world.