Careful What You Wish For!

Gayle_signing photoThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

Earlier this year I set a personal goal to increase my freelance writing endeavors. It is my desire to be a fulltime freelancer and to write and publish my own books. More freelance opportunities have come my way in the past month, and in September, I’ll be writing five more articles for another different publication. My dream is slowly become a reality.

During the past 18 months, I’ve been writing features on many Wyoming Vietnam War veterans. Each month I turn in three articles for Our Town Casper magazine and a pet column for the River Press newspaper in Montana.  For the past year, some of my children’s works have been serialized in the kids’ section of our local paper, including a 13-week stint this summer; another may be published later this year, and several times a year I write stories for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News). From that association, this year I gleaned five additional articles for another publication produced by the developers of WREN called Advancement, three in the spring and two which are due the end of this week. And, in September I’ll be working on five articles for Crossroads, an annual publication for the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Chamber of Commerce; I’ve been blessed to write for them each year for the past three years. The connections I’ve made through these various endeavors have been fruitful, and I am grateful.

Meadowlark Story_CIFor years I tried queries to various magazines, spending time reviewing the Writer’s Market Guide, crafting query letters and proposals, and waiting for responses. I was able to get a few stories in a magazine called Creation Illustrated over a three-year period, but not much else. Fortunately, once I proved deadline-oriented and writing-focused to the producers of WREN, then along came Crossroads and Advancement. And, once I started with Our Town Casper with a few free articles, they slowly gave me more assignments to where I now write steadily for them. I let one component of that publication go earlier this year due to the busyness from the other publications, which pay better. After September, however, I will likely go back to looking for additional work with better pay as well, even though it will likely mean queries again. I hope to find outlets for writing about nature, national parks, and pets. Those are my passions and I would greatly enjoy finding more opportunities to write about these topics.

That might happen without a query, at least to one magazine. A friend who has been successful in her writing career has introduced me via email to a natural resource magazine editor. I’m sending some of my writing clips her way this week with hopes that next year she’ll hire me for some assignments (the last issue of this year is full).

Sage Finds Friends circleI would also love to syndicate my pet column and see my children’s works serialized in other children’s newspaper sections and/or magazines. I believe my works for kids teach valuable lessons that many children would benefit from while enjoying an engaging pet story.

In addition to the articles, I have several manuscripts in progress. I’m finding it difficult to carve out time for my book writing, at least on a consistent basis. A few weekends ago I was able to be at the cabin and not have deadlines staring me in the face, so I put in several hours during the two days I spent at the property. That was quite helpful, but I had hoped to give at least an hour a day during this past week as well – that didn’t happen (but I did get a new cover created for my children’s story Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest!). Hopefully, this coming weekend, while visiting my parents, I’ll be able to spend a few hours at least on one of the WIPs.

IMG_5751If I didn’t have the day job… well, I’d likely be homeless (or maybe just living at my cabin without electricity or running water)! It’s hard to live in the “land between,” juggling the day job with the writing work. At times, I wonder how I can continue juggling. But, I’m just not yet ready to let go of the steady paycheck. I hope one day to take a leap of faith, fulfill my dream, and move into a life of fulltime writing. Perhaps the cards will land right next year to see the dream become a reality.

As August concludes and September dawns, as my deadlines approach and new opportunities step from the shadows, my gratitude overflows and my anticipation grows. Here’s to wishes – and dreams – coming true!

How about you? Where are you in your writing life and where do you hope to be in the near (or distant) future?

 

Gayle_CHS booktable34Gayle M. Irwin is the author of seven inspirational dog books for children and adults and she’s working on two more stories for children, this time about cats. She is also a contributing writer to six Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as to Memories from Maple Street U.S.A.: Pawprints on My Heart, released last month by Sundown Press. Gayle writes for Our Town Casper magazine, Wyoming Rural Electric News (WREN), the Casper Journal, the Casper Star Tribune, and Crossroads. She has also been published in Creation Illustrated and other other publications and continues to seek freelance opportunities because she loves to tell stories! She also enjoys helping pet rescue organizations. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

BookCoverPreview_Codys Cabin_Aug 2016.do   Sage Finds Friends_front cover   SageBigAdventureFront-small   Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Walking_FrontCover_small   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014   Pawprints Book  Chicken Soup_DogDidWhat_Cover   Spirit of America book

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This entry was posted in Creative writing, Freelance writing, unique, Writing, writing challenges, Writing for Money and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Careful What You Wish For!

  1. Neva Bodin says:

    So happy for your blossoming career as a free-lancer. And all the encouragement and sharing you do for your fellow writers. You definitely deserve all these great opportunities. And thanks for throwing an opportunity my way too, which was an answer to prayer. Here to cheer you on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris says:

    You deserve your success, and here’s to all that you want. For myself, like you, it has been a challenge to ‘fit’ it all in. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is my choice, so …*Smile*
    Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m smiling, Doris, but I’m also a bit nervous. Guess it wouldn’t be exciting without some nerve-wracking too!! 🙂 I appreciate the extra prompts you give me and also your encouragement. Here’s to your success, too, my friend!

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  3. Nancy Jardine says:

    Your hard work is paying off, Gayle- congratulations and long may you have the energy to turn in all of what you’ve got on the cards for the coming months and still find time to squeeze in more of your novel writing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nancy — novel, what novel??!! LOL These next six weeks are going to be crazy, but fortunately, with the extra hours I’ve put in this month at the 9 to 5, I’ll be getting some extra time off as well as some extra funds. So, after the articles are turned in and before the next batch are due in September, I’ll be hitting those manuscripts once again! Safe travels to you!!

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  4. Great post, Gayle. Your hard work is paying off and that’s so wonderful. One day when you are fully retired I’d be willing to bet you’ll have as much money as your job now provides because you have spent much time learning and honing your craft. I wish you all the best of luck – you deserve it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s fantastic, Gayle! In fact, I was just talking about freelance writing for magazines and trade journals yesterday with a client. He is a crime fiction writer but writes articles for various magazines, journals, and local newspapers. He started the same way, writing queries and slowly, he started getting published with local papers and eventually magazines. He said the key is to find a topic that you’re passionate about and then come up with the angle for the specific magazine or trade journal. Now he does quite well between his magazine articles and his crime fiction novels, not to mention speaking gigs he gets paid for. I see you headed in that direction, Gayle, if you’re not already there! Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Sarah — what hope you’ve given me! No one knows what’s around the bend, but I am looking forward to finding out (albeit, a tad nervous!!) Thanks for your words of encouragement and support!

      Like

  6. Travis says:

    That is wonderful Gayle,

    You’re building a set of skills that will pay off sooner than later. I’ve noticed some prolific fiction writers seem to have been journalist at one time. It built a skill of deadlines and no-nonsense distractions-mean-nothing-to-me type of productivity. Good luck and may you keep building to bigger and better things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Travis — I appreciate your words of encouragement. At times I feel my head is spinning and that I’m in a whirlwind. But, I guess that’s “the land between…” one day perhaps I’ll cross the border and not be in such a tizzy. LOL 🙂

      Like

  7. I just published a memoir about how I met and married my late husband and then cared for him after he suffered two stokes that paralyzed his left side. Check it out at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/memoir.htm . My next project will be a collection of short stories set in Wyoming. Good luck meeting all your goals, Gayle.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wranglers says:

    Gayle,I’m very proud of you..I’ve watched ss you’ve set goal after goal, and met or surpassed each one. You’re grest. I have no real goals right now in writing or painting Maybe if I stop having operations, I’ll be able to. Cher’ley

    Like

  9. Mike Staton says:

    I’ve always wondered how people get successful freelance careers going. Now I can look at you and see how. Drive, drive, drive. You have any plans to tackle fiction?

    Like

  10. Kathy Waller says:

    Talent, hard work, perseverance… progress… how can it not happen?

    Like

  11. S J Brown says:

    Although I gain income from both writing and photography I don’t trust the income completely. My hubby has suggested I quit my day job on more than one occasion. Instead I have steadily reduced my hours at my day job. I am now down to working 12-15 hours a week. So I am making progress, but I don’t think I will quit my job anytime soon. I like having a steady income that I can count on.

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