“Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.” -J.P. Donleavy
My recent freelance success has been based on some of the worst experiences in my life. Without divorce, job loss and a number of illnesses, I wouldn’t have the successes I have experienced in my first year as a freelance writer.
My first major clip came from my husband’s run in with Barrett’s Esophagus last year. If he hadn’t had a scary EGD result, and the doctor hadn’t handed me lots of background information on the illness, I wouldn’t have had a feature article in The Erickson Tribune. Now I have a major feature on Chronic Fatigue coming out soon in Life Extension Magazine because my husband has suffered with that for almost two decades. He made me determined to find some serious remedies. My feature article, due out in the October 2007 issue of American History Magazine, is the direct result of my grandmother’s bad luck working with X-rays in the 1950s, before they knew how dangerous they really were.
Interspersed between my first medical clips, I sold a number of personal essays based on a terrible time I had a few years ago. Within just a few years I lost my husband and my job, leaving me in a very dark funk. And, of course, I had to lose my career of 25 years to even consider becoming a writer.
I have also sold a few pieces about my recent good fortune, pieces about our honeymoon and how lucky we were to find each other at age 50. But the misfortunes are certainly winning in terms of total income.
Keep this in mind when you’re considering which queries to pursue. Write what you know and what is right in front of you, even if it’s miserable!
Laura Lee Carter, M.L.S., M.A. is a freelance writer specialized in health/medical topics and midlife change. She is presently writing a book called “Fresh Start”.
For more information please see her website at: http://www.lauraleecarter.com