How Do You Spell Success? By Polly Tafrate

Segueing from teaching into freelance writing, I’ve had but one goal … to get published in ëThe Big Ones,’ those glossy national magazines that pay $1.00 or more per word. In pursuit of this, I’ve joined writer’s groups, taken classes, attended conferences, and read tons of books and magazines.

My first article was on a bathroom renovation. I sent out a blitz of queries to well known magazines and one small local one. The editor of HOME, a monthly newspaper supplement, wrote back within an hour with an enthusiastic yes. I accepted her offer, not waiting to hear from the others.

My writer’s ego was elevated, so I wrote more articles. The editor accepted every one. The pay was small, but immediate, and I was accumulating by-lined clips. Was I satisfied? NOPE. I continued to pitch ideas to the Nationals. They’d either ignore me or send a ëDear Author’ letter.

I started getting assignments from the HOME editor. Would I visit a local Waldorf School, attend a luncheon, participate in cooking classes, review books? I accepted them all. In turn, I became comfortable enough to informally pitch her new ideas, which explains how I became an election inspector, worked with a personal trainer, and trained as a national BBQ judge. Additionally, I found I could turn most calamities into humorous articles.

While interviewing a former Marine about being a combat writer/photographer we began chatting about our common bond. He was amazed at all the people I’d met, adventures I’d had, and information I’d collected in pursuit of a good story.

That night, I awoke in the middle of the night with a thought that wouldn’t leave me alone. So what if I haven’t gotten my articles into the National magazines yet? So what if I haven’t made four figures for a story yet? Those goals I’ll never give up, but while I’m waiting for that to happen, I’m making “pin money”. Although not rich in dollars now, I am in new experiences and friends. When I look at it that way, I’m a successful freelance writer!

Polly Tafrate has authored about one hundred bylined articles in local papers and regionals throughout the United States. In addition she sells some of these as reprints for a monthly column. Some of her favorite articles are: “So You’re Going to be a Grandmother, Then You’ll Need a Sock,” “My HATE Affair with my GPS,” “Helicopter Parent? Not Me!”, and “August…The Could-a, Would-a, Should-a Month”. Polly doesn’t have a website, nor a blog, but she can be reached at


Writing for Trade Magazines
If you are tired of waiting for a response to your query because a thousand other writers are ahead in line, if you are looking for new and different stories and broader contacts, if you want to start getting paid for what you write today, you need to read this book!