I know I went on a bit (well a lot actually, sorry!) about the problem I had with the editor of a non-paying community magazine. And I know I said I wouldn't submit work to him again. But, (sighs heavily) I have now decided that I will. Now before people start jumping up and down, I have method in my madness. I figured that as I had worked so hard gathering the information and taking the photos, interviewing people for it, it would be a shame not to have it published. So I have submitted it for the people who contributed really. If I turn round now and tell them the article won't be in it would disappoint them as well; as denting my credibility as a serious writer.
But there has been good to come out of the experience as well. I have learned a hell of a lot by getting out there and interviewing people, taking photos, and my confidence has been boosted as a result. I've even got to know my own community better which can only be a bonus. I have also got a feature off the back of my research for the community magazine in to the Shropshire Star (local daily paper), as well as a letter about my experiences in Writing Magazine! I also have plenty more articles in the pipeline from it too - which I hope to get into the paying market.
As I have said before, I still believe that writing letters to magazines and newspapers, and articles to local community magazines - whether you get paid for your work or not - is a good place to start your writing career. It can, and does lead on to other writing opportunities you can get paid for. It allows you to practice your writing skills, plus it gives you a few cuttings for your portfolio to show other editors, and gets your name out there. It gives you the confidence to pitch your article ideas to other outlets, (In my case a Writing magazine and a local paper.)
Today I have pitched an idea for a feature to The Lady Magazine on a subject I researched for the community magazine about my local area. I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that a few months ago! I wouldn't have dared have the nerve! Of course, if it all goes pear shaped I'll blame Simon Whaley! No, not really, if it wasn't for him and the rest of my lovely writing group,and the support in Blog Land, I wouldn't have got half as far as I have. Thank you all.
So don't be afraid to pitch ideas to your chosen markets. And don't just stop at the local mags, why not have a bash at the nationals? I did and had an article accepted by Writers' Forum. I have, of course, had a lot of proposals rejected by magazines such as People's Friend, Essentials, Prima, The New Writer, Writing Magazine, Writers' Forum ... the list goes on! But I still keep chugging away. In this game it really is a case of, "try, try, try again." Or should that be, "I'll sthcream and sthcream until I'm sthick!" It's the only way.
If an editor says, "No thank you," to one of your article proposals, read the magazine and several back copies again, have a rethink and pitch another idea, then another, and another until one sthicks - sorry, I mean sticks, (My daughter has a slight lisp at the moment and I seem to get one when I'm a bit stressed or tired!)
Let me know if you get something published or rejected - it's all character building and good for all writers to hear about other writer's successes and failures - it's how we learn and move on. I used to get really jealous and down hearted when I heard other writers in Blog Land saying they'd got this, that and the other published and it used to put me off writing. But not any more! I see it as a challenge - if they can do it, so can I! And so can you. Try not to think of other writers as a threat or competition - use them as a springboard to gain a bit of their enthusiasm and success and apply it to your own writing. Who knows where it might take you.