It seems to have taken forever for me to see my articles in print. They are like buses; you never see one then you get two or three turning up at once! I've had quite a good run of them lately which I am estatic about but it wasn't always that way. It's taken me two years to get to where I am now and a lot of hard work and rejections inbetween. I started off with letters to local magazines and newspapers and after a few publications in there I progressed to national newspapers and mags: won some pens, a night in a luxury hotel for two, £50, a £50 book voucher at Amazon, £25 - it soon mounts up.
But I knew I couldn't stay purely producing letters for the rest of my writing life so I moved on to short stories and articles. The short story side of things didn't go well, resulting in one sale out of 40 odd short stories submitted. But the articles flew! I started off in the small presses, community magazines, The Link (National Association of Writers' Groups publication) where there was no payment but the work was published! After success here, I moved on to bigger publications and was delighted to see my work in print and actually get paid for it!
That's the trick with writing, you have to keep that forward momentum going. If you don't keep producing a variety of articles with different themes you may find yourself overtaken by someone who is flexible and can adapt their writing style to what the editors want. That's why I decided to take the journalism course - to enhance my writing skills and learn to do better - and it's paying off - slowly!
I used to get so frustrated that it took months to hear back from editors about your work - sometimes never - and when I got emails from magazines saying yes, once I got over the shock I was amazed how long it took from acceptance to publication! Still am. When I've finished a batch of articles I always go through a fallow period where I don't think I'll ever find anything to write about again. But then a magazine will pop through my door with my article in it and it's like magic - ideas begin to pop into my head again. There's always something to write about - you just have to open your eyes and look; be still and listen. Look and listen to what is going on around you and take notes.
I'm still on the short story road at the moment but I'm still keping my ear to the ground for nuggets I can process into articles at a later date. For instance, I went to the town centre today, primarily to get some new clothes and a desk lamp which I purchased (the clothes were purchased within 15 minutes of looking which is good going for me as I hate shopping, and if I can't see what I want within half an hour, I'm out of there!) But I was also watching the people around me, listening to their coversations: there was an Eastern European elderly gentleman with a lovely white bushy and curled moustache sitting on a chair outside busking, playing an accordian; a group of people with a stand about dosmestic violence; a whole 'street' within the town centre devoted to a college whose students were showcasing their wares - there's enough material there for at least six different articles, maybe more, for starters!
Happy being nosy and gathering material for your articles!