This 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.
For 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).
I 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.
If 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 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.