Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.- A. A. Milne
For any aspiring writer who thinks that being a novelist will be a good way to earn a living, don’t quit your day job. Sure, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Karen Kingsbury, and John Grisham probably do just fine, but the vast majority of novelists rely on a day job, freelancing, or a spouse to get the bills paid. For me, I freelance, and I also happen to have a very patient husband.
When it comes to freelancing between novels, I usually write gardening and parenting articles under a pen name. Those stories pay a little bit and they bring structure to my day, but when I’m lucky, I write for a magazine.
This month I’m blessed to have an article on page 56 in the January/February Issue of Homecoming Magazine. It’s not a full-fledged feature, but it does take up one entire page and introduces SQuire Rushnell’s new Godwinks column. I hope you’ll check out his column in the magazine. He is one amazing guy.
There are two things I love about the magazine writing I do, besides getting paid (because freelancing is also a job). The first is interviewing interesting people. In the case of Homecoming, the subjects are always people active in the show business of gospel music, many I’ve grown up listening to, and their stories are fascinating. The only bad part of writing about them is that I never get to include all of the interesting stories they usually tell me during the interview.
The second thing I love about this kind of work is deadlines. You’re thinking, “Seriously?” But believe it or not, yes. When writing a book, one needs longer deadlines in order for the story to develop and then make its way to paper, but writing an article is all about communicating your subject’s story in the language of the magazine, and often with a quick turn-around, which I find refreshing.
Some of you might be wondering how you can get into freelancing, and I can tell you that while print magazines gigs are more difficult to get these days, there are still some good options out there. Online magazines are more and more prevalent, just be sure not to give all of your work away. After all, a writer has to make a living.
Here are a couple of resources to help you get started. Feel free to add more in the comments section: