Monday, January 31, 2011

The Journey of a 1,000 Miles Begins With a Single Filler

There we were: me, my computer, and one hot 'n steamy Starbucks hot chocolate. With...[drumroll] one whole hour of uninterrupted time together.

Okay, it wasn't exactly enough time to write an article. But it was more writing time than I'd taken in, oh, 13 months and 12 days. After wasting precious minutes deciding how to make the most of it, I began writing a filler, which could be completed and submitted before my drink grew cold (or the next week, after obsessing about each tip and emailing it to a relative for proofreading).

It was only 125 words, but it got me back on the publication track, and may even make my wallet a bit heavier. Because rumor has it that the smaller publications pay the same for fillers as for articles. We'll see.

**Update:  fillers aren't  what they used to be. With current technology, publications don't need to fill "white space" like they used to. But there is still a need for short, freelance-written pieces in areas of a publication. You can find them on pages that list "Reader Tips" or "Bright Ideas", for example.**


Wonderalist said...

I linked into your page through WCSU. I've been enjoying reading along, but I have to confess my ignorance and ask, what's a "filler"?

Colleen said...

Hi Wonderalist,
Thanks for the nice words! I miss the MFA motivation, but not the writing crunch :) A filler's just a short piece that publications use to fill extra space. It could be a joke, a time-saving tip (for parents' magazines: "Put a vinyl tablecloth under highchairs to catch spills"), or an anecdote told in a few paragraphs. So far, mine have been under 250 words. Two articles that explain more are:

Wonderalist said...

:-) Thanks for the links. Very helpful. Keep on keepin' on.