I’ve been freelancing for eight years, following retirement at age 65. It was difficult getting started even though I had accumulated some clips through involvement with the PTA and entering a couple of contests. I had also served as editor for a community newsletter, and edited a book on Arizona pioneers.
My husband and I wanted to travel so my first sales were about places we visited. One was about the 100th anniversary of Jello and another was about an almost-ghost town with a remarkable group of man-made lakes. I found dog-friendly vacation spots to write about for DogGone, and a small collection of antique dolls at the Lowell Thomas Museum in Victor, Colorado became an article for Dolls Magazine. I wrote about fishing at Ute Lake in Logan, New Mexico – our hometown – for Rocky Mountain Game & Fish and Dance Spirit bought my story about the 75-year tradition of winding the Maypole at Portales High School.
I thought it might be neat to be a newspaper stringer and wrote for the Quay County Sun for one winter when we were home. When we followed the sun to south Texas, I worked as Staff Writer for the Brackett News in Brackettville.
Early in the years of striking out as a freelance writer, I landed an assignment with Enchantment, the New Mexico Electric Coop magazine. Though it was almost two years from the time I sent my first query until my article was published, I’ve since written for Enchantment every year, covering people and places in New Mexico.
I’ve had my share of rejection slips, and spent a lot of time writing a local guidebook that didn’t quite suit the publisher. I’m comfortable now calling myself a writer and constantly look for good stories to tell. If you want to write, don’t let fear of failure stand in your way. Who knows, you might get lucky and interview someone like Randy Travis. I did!
Florence Dean is based in Logan, New Mexico but can also be found typing away at Tierra Amarilla, NM in the summer and at Fort Clark Springs, Brackettville, Texas in the winter. She has three children, six grandchildren, a “passel” of greats, all of whom are sometimes fodder for her stories. Her husband says she stays glued to the computer but she takes time out for cooking, camping, a fast game of dominoes, selling on eBay and is ALWAYS reading at least three books at once. She can be reached at nmflod (at) yahoo.com.