Frustration, Humble Pie, and Freelance Success For Two By Joe Wallace

I remember the night I took the call from my future writing partner, Catherine Tully. What she told me was the first step on a long journey of failure, frustration and eventually, freelance writing success. Catherine had called to share her excitement in having an article accepted for publication in Boys’ Life. It was her first query and she had made four hundred dollars. From that moment on I saw dollar signs.

Six months later we began our writing partnership, which is essentially a system of checks and balances. In the early days, I needed a lot of both. “Forget the small markets,” I said, full of brash ideas, “Let’s go for Wired or Reader’s Digest.” Catherine’s experience won over my eagerness. Her mantra in those days was “Let’s keep it simple.” Our very first sale was a simple business article, a how-to on effective organization for home offices – not quite the big sale I was hoping for. It paid fifty dollars, and a serving of humble pie.

After a few smaller articles, we spent many months capitalizing on our individual areas of expertise. It paid off well, resulting in our first major piece together: an article on marketing for American Fitness Magazine. We had finally hit triple digit pay, the kind of money I foolishly thought we could make right off the bat. A major factor in our partnership is getting past frustration and failure while supporting and learning from each other. That support includes a healthy respect for the need to work as an individual as well as a team; we both have had terrific individual writing successes. Our acceptances seem to come at just the right moment; the mail always seems to contain just enough money to pay the bills. It took us a while to get here, but now we work smoothly together-and apart. That query to Reader’s Digest just might be brewing!

Joe Wallace and Catherine L. Tully have been partners for over a year. In addition to their joint efforts, Joe has been published in Korean Quarterly, Backroads Magazine and Factsheet Five. Catherine has had her work accepted by IDEA Health and Fitness Source, Dance Teacher Magazine, Classical Singer and Boys’ Life. Their next joint project is an interview and photo shoot at the House of Blues in Chicago. Read more at: