Write From Home
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610
E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com
by Terri Mrosko
to be a writer for as long as I can remember. After being gloriously downsized
from a business administration position after 20 years, the opportunity to
pursue a freelance writing career presented itself in the form of a hefty
severance package. I knew from various seminars and books that becoming a
freelance writer and being paid for my work would not be easy.
Following the advice from other writers, I decided to start at the bottom and
approached one of the local community newspapers, The News Sun. The
editor's face lit up when I introduced myself as a freelance writer, but the
delight quickly faded when I responded I had no experience covering city council
meetings. I handed her my resume and told her I would call. I was discouraged,
but determined to not let this one go.
A week later I contacted The News Sun editor. Once again, she downplayed
my lack of a journalism degree and newspaper experience. I persuaded her to give
me a shot, telling her she had nothing to lose. She reluctantly agreed that if I
covered a council meeting on my own, she would read my write-up. I felt this was
my big "break."
I purchased an external microphone for my new hand-held tape recorder to be sure
I got all the comments at the council meeting. I walked into the meeting and
acted as if I knew what I was doing. I introduced myself to a couple of council
members and told them I was writing a feature for the local newspaper.
During the meeting, my tape recorder ran while I furiously took notes. As the
meeting drew to a close, I suddenly looked down and realized I forgot to turn on
the microphone switch. I got nothing on tape. I was panicked and heartbroken.
Lacking the confidence to simply write from my notes, I decided to focus on just
one item from the meeting and write an article about it. I interviewed the
community center project director who presented an update to council. I simply
called and told him I was writing a story for the newspaper. This time, my
recorder was ready to go, as I tested it out at least a half dozen times before
I presented my completed piece to The New Sun editor. I sat in the chair
in her office and waited breathlessly for the verdict on my first try at
newspaper writing. The editor read the first few lines and said she would buy it
on sight for $25. I was thrilled! All I heard was "I will buy it from you
for..." but that was enough for me.
I continued to write a couple more articles for this editor, but she could not
offer me anything more than a $25 article here or there. My confidence
bolstered, I approached a second community newspaper, The West Life, and
this time landed the community beat for my city. After all, I was now an
I continued to write feature articles for The West Life while querying
other magazines and publications and successfully sold over 100 articles in my
first year as a writer. That small check for $25 may not have seemed like a lot
at the time, but it opened the door to many more opportunities.
Mrosko is a freelance business writer and communications coach, and the editor
and publisher of two Enhanced Communication newsletters. Terri is a regular
contributor to Crain's Cleveland Business and The Plain Dealer Employment Guide,
and she also helps business owners get the word out about their companies. Terri
published nearly 300 articles in just over two years as a full-time writer and
spent a year as a monthly columnist for The Writing Parent. Her work has
appeared in Writing-World.com, Inscriptions, Inkspot, Succeed Magazine, Aviation
Career, Now Hiring and many other print and online publications. Terri is
currently writing her first book on starting a freelance writing career from
scratch. Visit her website at
http://www.iwritesite.com for free subscription signup to her newsletters.
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