Sunday, August 1, 2010

My first hesitant steps into the world of Journalism

Once I had made up my mind to write a newspaper column, the next step was to figure out where to start. I began by combing through San Francisco and Bay Area newspapers. A few featured cooking and special occasion menus, but none addressed the specific theme of feeding a family, nutritiously, on a limited budget. I gave myself a mental high-five; I was beginning to feel more confidant about this insane idea I'd hatched.

Second question: Where should I try to sell my column? I was way too intimidated to approach the larger San Francisco newspapers, but there was a local network of about twelve to fourteen newspapers that published weekly issues on the San Francisco Peninsula, as well as in my current home town of San Jose. This group might provide me with better odds for making a sale.

Titling my column, PENNY PINCHERS, I wrote three sample articles, including contrived letters purporting to be from enthusiastic readers which I -- in all my housewifely wisdom -- went on to answer. Composing a short cover letter explaining why I felt I was qualified to write such a column, I crossed my fingers and submitted them to the newspapers' headquarters. To my astonishment, an editor got back to me requesting I send him three or four more sample columns to demonstrate that I could sustain the weekly flow of ideas. Shortly after I'd submitted the additional pieces, I was hired! The pay he offered me was pathetic, but the important thing was that I had taken the first step toward my goal: I was a professional writer!

(Wednesday: I write my first PENNY PINCHERS columns)


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