If the writer I talked to at the Ed workshop last night is right, one of the main things you need to become a successful (I'm talking full-time, steady work, don't-need-a-"real"-job) feature writer: courage. No, more than courage. Guts. Nerve. Kahunas, balls...you name it, I need it. And quick.
Because in four days I - yes me, who breaks out in a cold sweat when I hit that 'send' button on a mere pitch email - will be cold calling an editor about the pitch I'm going to write and email today. Aaach!
Sounds like self-torture, right? Believe me, if I thought I could get Eric's results without subjecting myself to annoyed editors and a swamp of sweat, I would. But according to Eric, who led the workshop and has broken into Glamour, Men's Fitness, ESPN.com (the list goes on), this is the most effective way to sell an article. I believe it. Not just because Eric's made a living off his freelance work, but because it's HARD. And it seems everything having to do with getting published is hard. But enough whining.
This writer, god love him, actually gave us specific details on how to make effective pitches. I'm talking word-for-word what to say to editors on the phone, how many days to wait until I follow up with a call, what to put in the subject line of my pitch emails.
So, do I know what I'm going to pitch today? Not yet. Do I know who I'm going to email it to? Nope. But now I know how to do it, and that's half the work already done. The other hard part is the actual call.
One thing Eric said that really hit home was about what he called the Two RE's, Rejection and Regret. I scribbled it down so I wouldn't forget: "Rejection lasts for a moment, but regret lasts for the rest of your life." If that isn't enough to get my reluctant you-know-what on the phone, I don't know what is.