Listen, Learn and Publish By Lisa Tiffin

About a year ago, I sold my used book business, hung out the proverbial shingle, and embarked upon my lifelong dream of becoming a paid writer. I started with essays on homeschooling and parenting and quickly sold two to e-zines. A good start, I thought, but the fact was I longed for the day I would see my byline in soy ink and pulp.

I realized I needed to learn more and began to scour the web in search of helps, hints and markets. Several bits of advice stuck out to me as important. The first was for new writers to explore the jobs and hobbies of family members, friends and acquaintances for article fodder. Another tip was to explore the markets and craft an article based on a magazine’s needs. But one of the best discoveries I made was the website with its writer helps and fresh market listings each week.

Using the site, I came across a listing for Grit Magazine, which needed articles for its Cook of the Month feature. Remembering that my brother, a soon-to-be culinary school graduate, had mentioned how he was able to use several of our family’s traditional Lebanese recipes, I quickly obtained a copy of Grit to learn the format and style of their articles.

After interviewing my brother, writing an article that was tailored to the needs and style of the magazine, compiling and editing his recipes and snapping a few photos, I sent off my submission. I’m happy to report all my hard work and attention to the advice of more experienced writers paid off. The day my submission arrived at Grit’s office, the editor emailed me to accept it for publication. My piece, “Sharing a Tradition of Family Food,” is in the March issue and I will finally see my byline in a print magazine.

Lisa Tiffin is a freelance writer based in Upstate New York. Her nonfiction has appeared in Eclectic Homeschool Online and The Homeschooling Helper. She has another articles forthcoming in Homeschooling Today. On the fiction front, she has been published in Characters Magazine and has just completed her first juvenile novel. She can be reached at acbooks (AT)