Do you remember how, in the old cartoons, Bugs Bunny could fly? That’s how I jumped into freelancing – ready for immediate lift-off, blithely unaware that I was “supposed” to struggle and starve for my craft.
I identified a gaping void: The local “alternative” (read: darling of the outdoors crowd) newspaper didn’t have a regular hiking column. As an avid hiker, I had the knowledge and skills to fill the void. As a writer since birth, I had the desire. Using “It never hurts to ask” as my mantra, I made a phone call and asked for the editor’s name.
A few e-mails and a writing sample later, I landed my first writing gig – a weekly column with a modest paycheck.
Somewhere along the line, another character always whispers to Bugs: “Don’t you know that rabbits can’t fly?” The amazement and awe that came up every time I explained how I got the columnist position did just that to me. I started thinking I’d had a once-in-a-lifetime lucky break, and would never get another chance like it.
Klunk. The rabbit has crash-landed.
It took three years and a lot of positive feedback for me to realize that every time an editor accepts a query, she’s taking a chance – that’s her job; my job as a writer is to show her that I am worthy of that chance. So why not stop fretting like all “good” junior writers do, and recognize my own worth?
The first query that I approached with this attitude was accepted within thirty minutes. That’s right – thirty minutes. Years later I’m still writing that hiking column, but I’ve landed another columnist position – this one’s a daily – and broadened my portfolio considerably. I know now that all I have to do is identify a void and how I can fill it, then make sure the right person gets that information.
That’s right, folks – rabbits, and writers, really can fly.
Living in Alaska is a constant source of inspiration for Lisa Maloney. She writes mostly magazine and online articles, with work forthcoming or already published in The Anchorage Press, AIM Magazine, SheKnows.com, The Dollar Stretcher, and Life Live Travel. She also writes the Writer’s Resource and Information Blog at http://writerinfo.blogspot.com.