Writing on, and about, an island

Writing Freelance Features

In Career, Freelance, Tasmania, Writing on January 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

Want to write a great magazine or newspaper article? What does it take to discover that one unsung idea, pitch the piece to an editor, produce the thing and see it through to published completion?

It’s a hard-to-pin-down process; when I wrote my first published article, about 13 years ago, I stumbled blindly through the whole thing. But despite having written thousands and thousands of published words since, seeing my byline in a publication still gives me a little kick.

Note: Although my focus this year is less on being the messenger (ie. documenting the achievements of others) and more on being the message (creating my own achievements), there’s no doubt that when you come across a great story about someone/something/somewhere else, it’s empowering to be able to tell it.

I’ve just finished two stories about Tasmania – one for House & Garden magazine, and one that has no home as yet (but will likely end up in a national food magazine).

One of these stories I pitched directly to the editor, the other was done ‘on spec’ – purely because my photographer, Nick Watt, and I were entranced with the story and had a couple of days free to shoot it. (Local Tasmanian stylist, Charlotte Bell, below, lent her aesthetic skills for both shoots.)

I do not take the opportunity to write these features for granted: interviewing interesting people, in beautiful locations, while working with some of the most talented people in the business… it certainly beats sitting at a desk all day!

So, I thought I’d do a few posts on the process of freelance writing for magazines, or newspapers, or websites (or whatever takes your fancy). I know instinctively how I do this, but I’ve never put it down in black and white.

I’d like to look at things such as:

  • How to unearth the untold stories around you
  • How to pitch a story to an editor (including how to find the USP – the unique selling point)
  • How to produce the story (interviewing, logistics etc)
  • How to structure and write a story
  • The business side of freelance feature writing

If there’s anything you want to know about writing freelance features, let me know!

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