The Art of Persistence By Alyssa Kagel

For most of my adult life, I’ve felt pulled in two career directions: renewable energy and freelance writing. Though my 9-to-5 job took me into the renewable energy world, I never gave up on my other passion. I sent pitches and articles all over town. On the good days, I received personal rejection notes. These, at least, were better than the generic “this isn’t quite right for us” or – even more prevalent – “no response” responses.

One weekend, I wrote a personal essay tailored to an environmental magazine’s monthly column. After two months of no response, I emailed the editor. She wrote back one of those personal rejection notes I’d actually come to celebrate.

I pitched again a few weeks later, suggesting I cover a local green event for their website. This time the editor told me to go for it. I was ecstatic. If I hadn’t sent that first essay – if the editor hadn’t reviewed my green-themed writing – she wouldn’t have given me the – green light. Without any published green articles under my belt, that essay was the only way for me to show my green-writing skills. Though the editor rejected my essay for publication, she didn’t reject my writing.

After the green event article was published, I pitched again – this time on a renewable energy topic. I played up my contacts and expertise in the renewable energy field. Again, the editor gave me the go-ahead.

A few weeks later, I received an unsolicited email from the editor: she asked if I’d be interested in responding to an “ask the experts” question about renewable energy (a regular, paying gig). I said yes, of course. Months later, I’m still writing for the publication.

So now I know: when I want to write for a certain publication, I keep pitching interesting ideas