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Aneya Fernando

How Community Engagement Can Help You Get Out of a Writing Rut

Ongoing-Education-ArticleAlthough freelancing can be a liberating career, it can also be a lonely and stressful one. The isolation of working by yourself and the daily grind of chasing leads can be exhausting.

In our latest Journalism Advice column, one writer shares how she reignited her creativity after being stuck in a rut. The author had three (relatively) simple goals: get involved with real-life community engagement, take up a passion project and update her social media presence. Here, the writer shares her advice for meeting new people within your community:

If you’re interested in coworking, try searching “coworking” or “shared work space,” followed by your city. In addition, there’s a global coworking movement called Jelly, which is a less formal meet-up of local freelancers at spaces of their choosing. When it comes to getting out there in the real world, the key is persistence. Great relationships don’t happen overnight. First you have to show up and then you have to keep showing up, often dozens of times, before you see the return on your investment.

For more advice, including how to get the most out of your social media accounts, read: Crafting Your Ongoing Education as a Writer.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Join Our Google+ Hangout Today for Career and Web Design Advice

careerlunch_304-300x197Mediabistro is launching a new series of Google+ Hangouts and you’re invited! The series, called Career Lunch, starts today at 1 p.m. ET and will feature media professionals sharing their best tips and tricks for staying ahead of the job curve.

Today’s Hangout will include MediaJobsDaily editor Vicki Salemi and Mediabistro’s managing editor Valerie Berrios, who will be speaking with Maurice Cherry, creative principal at design firm 3eighteen media. Cherry will give us the lowdown on all things web design, along with advice on using social media and other digital strategies to enhance your career.

Be sure to join the conversation with your questions and comments on TwitterFacebook or Google+ with the hashtag #mbhangouts.

SheKnows Needs Strong Writers Who Can ‘Command Social Shares’

She-Knows-ArticleSheKnows.com was founded in 1999 by three moms and a dad, with the hopes of creating a space on the web for a “younger, hipper mom who yearned for something more than her mother’s Good Housekeeping or Better Homes & Gardens.

The site’s target demographic is still women who are seeking modern solutions, but the platform has now added custom videos and webisodes to complement its archive of service-driven articles. SheKnows is 99 percent freelance written and editors are always on the lookout for new writers. Just be sure you have something far from run-of-the-mill to pitch:

All channels are open to freelancers. “Due to the volume of pitches we receive, it is always beneficial for a first-timer to pitch a story that is extremely original — perhaps it’s a hilarious story about a dating nightmare, an investigative story about how millennials are raising their children, an emotionally charged story about raising a child with special needs or an original recipe with stunning custom photos,” [Lauren Swanson, director of editorial operations] says. “The idea is to pitch a story that is relevant to women, jumps off the page and commands social shares.”

To hear more about the mag, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: SheKnows.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

What AARP The Magazine is Looking for in a Personal Essay

Personal-Essay-Market-Personal essays allow writers to share some of the intimate details of their life with the world, and this can be a cathartic and rewarding experience. It can also be quite lucrative, if you pitch to the right pubs.

In Part I of our newly updated Personal Essay Markets series, we’ve compiled a diverse list of 15 markets that are eager for first-person material from freelancers. Editors from each pub told us exactly they’re looking for. Here’s a sneak peek:

AARP The Magazine
The crucial ingredient in essays for AARP is that they must offer fresh insight into an aspect of life after 50. Style and emotional heft are also important.
Length: 1,200-1,500 words
Pay: $2 a word
Assigning editors: Margaret Guroff or David Dudley, FirstInitialLastName@AARP.org
Guroff’s advice: ”Originality is key. Certain life events, such as caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease, inspire many more great essays than we could ever hope to publish. We’re looking for the compelling reads and universal truths in unusual, extreme or common-but-little-discussed life experiences.”

To get similar info on publications like BUST, Elle and American Baby, read: Personal Essay Markets, Part I.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Earn $1 a Word at Culture and Foodie Mag Saveur

saveur-articleAlthough Saveur is a foodie pub with plenty of competition (names like Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and Every Day with Rachael Ray come to mind), the mag distinguishes itself with its varied content, authentic storytelling and literary writing.

The pub is 70 percent freelance written (50 percent for its online counterpart), and because of the small number of staff writers, editors are eager to recruit quality freelancers who can stick around for the long haul:

“Once we’re working with somebody, if we’ve had a good experience with them, we’re happy to have them continue to pitch us and we will even start reaching out to them,” [said executive editor Betsy Andrews]. More seasoned freelancers can score features ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 words. Biographies as well as the wine and cellar sections (500 to 1,300 words) are also within freelance reach.

To hear more about the mag, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: Saveur.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

New Jersey Monthly Seeks Stories that Exemplify the Garden State Spirit

New-Jersey-Monthly-Article

New Jersey is home to a diverse demographic of residents, and New Jersey Monthly aims to cater to just about all of them. The pub covers a wide rang of topics: politics, education, fashion, entertainment, sports, dining and more.

Freelancers don’t need to live in the Garden State to write for the pub, but their ideas should be tailored to those who do. The mag is 75 percent freelance written, and the pitching opportunities are endless. Just remember that the length of your pitch is important, so try to make it as succinct as possible:

“The pitch has to be long enough to give me some details, but not so long I have to print it out and take it home over the weekend,” editor-in-chief Ken Schlager notes. “Brevity is really important in the pitch.” To land a pitch and be on your way to “regular” status, a great place to start is the front-of-book section “Garden Variety.” Here, articles run 250 to 350 words. The department seeks “short items about events, trends and people of interest.”

For more about the mag, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: New Jersey Monthly.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Send Your Pitches on Parenting Tweens and Teens to Family Circle

Family-Circle-Article

Family Circle started in 1932 as a women’s mag distributed at grocery stores. It has evolved significantly in the past 82 years yet has stayed true to its core readership: moms.

These days, however, the Meredith-owned publication focuses mostly on the parenting of tweens and teens. So freelancers should steer clear of pitching stories on babies and new moms. Truly understanding the mag’s demo is key to getting a pitch accepted. It’s also good to know which sections are open to freelancers:

“Our Family section and our Health section are the ones that are most likely to use freelancers,” said executive editor Darcy Jacobs. Also open to writers are the Pets, Psychology and Money/Finance departments. The magazine has a regular columnist for its Technology section; however, Jacobs said, “if there’s something related to teens and technology or parenting and technology, we are open to pitches.”

To hear more about the mag, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: Family Circle.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How Fiction Writing Taught One Writer About Perseverance

from-fiction-to-nonfiction-

Transitioning from fiction writing to nonfiction freelancing is a one way to diversify and hone your writing skills.

One writer went through the transition and shared what she learned in our latest Journalism Advice column. The freelancer claims that her background in fiction gave her thick skin, helped her deal with deadlines and taught her the power of perseverance:

The action of constantly reaching, keeping multiple stories circulating in the querysphere, and never wallowing for too long was an amazing gift to my nonfiction career. Persistence as a freelancer is pitching a new idea to the editor who rejected your first idea. It’s complying with an extensive rewrite. It’s chasing down the perfect expert for an interview, no matter how elusive they are or difficult their PR agent is. It’s essential to survival.

For more, including how a background in fiction can help you generate new ideas, read: 5 Ways Fiction Writing Prepared Me for Nonfiction Freelancing.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Pitch Influential Stories on the State of Maine for Down East

Down-East-article

Down East is a magazine all about Maine. The monthly pub aims to highlight what makes the state so special. As editor-in-chief Kathleen Fleury says: “Maine is very diverse in terms of the kinds of people, the lives and places that make up the state.” The mission of the mag, she adds, is to really scour the whole state and “find the stories that communicate what Maine is and share what makes it unique.”

The pub is 50 percent freelance written and editors are looking for writers with a literary touch. Furthermore, high-quality writing and originality are a must. So what kind of content are the editors looking for? Here’s a snippet:

The “Talk of Maine” section, in which the magazine highlights a timely local issue, often with a controversial bent, is [a] spot for freelancers to target. It can be meaty, too. “If someone had a great 3,000- to 4,000-word piece that was about something important in Maine but wasn’t necessarily visual, that would be a great place for it,” Fleury said. “We’ve written articles in this section that have changed legislation in the state. We view it as an important platform.” Word counts vary. Features might range from a short service item on up to 6,000 words.

To hear more about this mag, including what mistakes to avoid when sending in your submission, read: How To Pitch: Down East.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Pitch ‘Buzzy’ Stories for Natural Health‘s Front-of-Book

natural-health-article

Natural Health aims to be the “trusted source for the latest news and trends in integrative medicine and an overall balanced life.” The pub has recently undergone a redesign, complete with a new lifestyle focus, location (offices moved from the West Coast to New York) and editorial staff.

The revamp means there are plenty of opportunities for writers who want to become fixed players in the freelance roster. Pitchable topics include integrative health, natural beauty, fitness, travel and even natural pet-care tips. So which section should freelancers pitch first? The FOB is always a good place to start:

Freelance-friendly sections include the front-of-book’s newsy health stories that highlight something buzzy in the natural-health world. “Spotlight” features a 1,200- to 1,500-word health service piece that’s based on new research or a change in traditional thinking, and there’s also a new one-page pet story that runs every month. There are typically one or two features assigned to freelancers each month (at around 1,800 words), so those are open for pitches, too.

To hear more about this pub, including submission etiquette guidelines, read: How To Pitch: Natural Health.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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