Previously I offered you some ways to gather those first published clips. Most of them were unpaid. Although it’s ok to start that way at some point I’m sure you want to get paid for all your hard work. I have to admit I started with many of those ways because I wasn’t sure anyone would pay me. Not only did I struggle with self-esteem issues but I had been taught my entire life up until then that anything artistic was a nice hobby but to earn a living you had to get a “real job”.
My first paid writing assignment came from the depth of my passion. I had been divorced many years previously due to domestic violence and went through several years of pain before I found healing through my faith in God. When you have survived a traumatic life experience and you come out on the other side victorious you find that you can’t wait to tell others how you overcame. Not only do you want them to celebrate with you but you want to help others to overcome too. After writing for a small Christian newspaper I was ready to expand my audience and help more people and hopefully get paid for my writing.
My denomination,Church of God out of Cleveland, TN, has its own publishing company, Pathway Press. I began by calling them, not the suggested method of first contact with a magazine, but I didn’t know any better back then. Frankly I’ve done a lot of things that weren’t according to the book in my life because following the rule book tended to keep me in a place I knew I didn’t belong.
When I called the offices of Evangel Magazine, the general magazine of Pathway Press, I spoke with the person who answered the phone about the article I wanted to submit. I didn’t even know how to look up writer’s guidelines back then. We had a lengthy conversation; thankfully my employer didn’t mind. They were very interested in the article and advised me to just send the article. Soon after that my first article, “Domestic Violence, The Harsh Realities and Victorious Living” was published in October 2000 for their regular payment for feature articles. I included two sidebars, one with domestic violence statistics and one with a list of additional resources for readers. Since that time I have published several articles on a variety of subjects that includes not only domestic violence but education, parenting, summer camp and world missions.
So, if there is a subject you feel passionately about write about that. Your passion will resound to your readers if you write honestly. If there is a publication where you share a common connection, for me, my church, contact them. I still write for my church’s magazines on occasion. My pastor contacted me for my most recent article. Common connections and personal passion are great ways to break into both a subject matter and specific publications.