Jessica Strawser, editor of Writer’s Digest discussed how to write and pitch your freelance articles to popular publications. Jessica also shared tips on how to approach an editor, what you need to know before submitting your article for review, and how to secure a long-term freelance position with Writer’s Digest.
Jessica provided a wealth of information for writers in this interview and has graciously offered a FREE 12 Month Subscription to one of our listeners! Sign up for our newsletter to be entered to win. Winners will be announced on our Facebook Page.
You can listen to the entire conversation on Vividlife.me Radio or scroll down to the bottom of this post and press play on the embedded player. Enjoy a few of our after the show question and answers below.
After The Show Q&A
Were there any false starts in your writing career?
I’ve encountered a LOT of writers over the years in my work at Writer’s Digest, and I’m really not sure there is such a thing as a writing career without a false start. The key is to learn from every experience, and to stay with it, even when (especially when?) you feel a bit like a glutton for punishment. I had a novel that went out on submission but never sold; I parted ways with my first agent. I had years of rejections and self-doubt before finding my stride with the right project, the right agent, and the right publisher.
How did you handle rejection when you began writing and what advice can you offer for new writers wishing to begin their writing career?
This was the deal I made with myself: Every time I get a rejection, I get a reward—some really good chocolate, a shared bottle of wine on a random Tuesday, dinner out, whatever. You’re putting yourself out there, so go ahead and celebrate your own small acts of courage. Be kind to yourself, and have faith that every no is getting you closer to your eventual yes.
With your new book, how long did it take to write and work your way through the process of securing an agent and getting to the publishing date?
I spent something like six years, on and off, writing and rewriting my first novel—which found an agent but never sold. While it was out on submission, ALMOST MISSED YOU flowed out of me in about eight months—it was so liberating to be doing something different, the creative energy really fuelled me. But it turned out my agent didn’t share my vision for the new project, and I then spent about seven months wrestling with what to do next. Submit elsewhere? Revise again? Set it on fire and start something new? Ultimately I signed with a new agent and had the book preempted in a two-book deal in a surreal, head-spinning span of about two weeks.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Treat your writing like a relationship. I was interviewing Patricia Cornwell for Writer’s Digest, and she shared this great philosophy about “checking in” with your writing, the way you’d call your significant other before bed if you were away, even if you don’t produce a set amount of words (or any words at all) every day. I’d always been kind of all-or-nothing about my writing discipline, and something clicked for me when she said that.
Thank you Jessica!
Jessica Strawser is the chief editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. Her own debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press in April 2017.
Listen to the interview below:
Crystal-Lee Quibell is the host of Literary Speaking, a weekly podcast dedicated to helping writers learn from best-selling authors, literary agents, and publishers. Founder of The Magical Writers Group, a private teaching forum for writers specifically focused on memoir.She is a champion for the written word, student of publishing and an obsessive book collector with a serious case of wanderlust. A self-described mermaid and witchy woman for life, she believes that life is better with books, chocolate, and the occasional cheese board. Her upcoming essay is to be featured in the forthcoming book, The Magic Of Memoir: Inspiration for the Writer’s Journey.