Jump Start Your Writing Career With This Little Secret By Sheron Donahue

I devoured every page of my favorite magazine–the one I dreamed of seeing my byline in. Since divorcing and entering a new, sizzling relationship, even the Dear Amy column intrigued me.

A reader asked, “How can I get my boyfriend to stop kissing me in public?”

The answer I read would change my writing career.

“Tell your lover to squash his affection in public.” First shocked, then hopping mad, I dashed off a rebuttal letter

Shortly afterward, the postman delivered a letter from the editor suggesting I might like to turn my thoughts into an article. Might? Darn tootin’ I might! The editor wrote specific instructions, which I followed to the minutest detail. Then, I shot the article back.

Soon, I received the words we all long to hear: Your article, Public Passion, has been accepted for publication. Energized, I wrote a second article in honor of my parents’ 50th Anniversary, which appeared in another national magazine. When it came out in print, I sent the clip along with a query for another idea to the first editor. She said no to the query, but asked for the reprint rights to the second article. After cashing three checks, I proudly pasted the articles in my scrapbook.

That led to assignments for columns in singles’ magazines–a subject I was somewhat of an expert on. Soon, my scrapbook burst at the seams with twenty published works. However, after scrimping to pay bills, I made the difficult decision to abandon my fledgling freelance business.

After retiring recently, I dove back into writing. Starting over seemed an insurmountable task, but after a few months, I received an acceptance for a new article that shall be proudly placed in my dilapidated scrapbook. I have even submitted articles to that first, endearing editor. (Yep, she’s still there. Nope, no acceptance yet.) And while writing and circulating my new articles, I’m still searching for another gem that makes me hopping mad, so I can again shoot off a rebuttal.

By connecting with a commentary that contradicts your consciousness, the one that makes your adrenaline boil, you could jumpstart your career, too. It is possible to see your precious prose in print, even snag a byline in (and a paycheck from) that publication you’ve been admiring from afar. For now, keep writing, keep submitting and keep an eye out for the one morsel that sends you flat-out running to the keyboard. Then, send it. I know I will.

Sheron Donahue has been a freelance magazine writer since 1981. She has more than twenty published articles, appearing in Woman, Complete Woman, Chicago Connections, Contact, Singles, Yesterday’s, P.W.P. Single Parent, Solo and Real Estate Today. After taking time off to raise a family, she returned to writing full time recently and subsequently acquired an acceptance for her article, “Is This the Right Time to Write?” appearing in The Working Writer, September-October 2009 issue.


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