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Working Cold Stories & Old Contacts

After a late summer run of steady writing work, including assignments for Martinair’s in-flight, Sherman’s Travel, Gayot Guides, and AOL, things looked like they were starting to dry up a couple weeks ago. Pitches and queries were in editors’ inboxes (or their spam folders- who ever knows?), but replies were slow in coming. I preferred to chalk it up to holiday slump (I envisioned editors sitting at their desks, playing computer solitaire and counting the minutes until the long Thanksgiving weekend) than to take it personally.

It’s in these moments when I’m looking at the dwindling bank account and the relatively light to-write list that I get a little antsy. These are also the moments I wait for when I’ve got a stack of assignments; it’s a time I need to clear my head, set some new goals, and figure out what pieces from my pitch log might benefit from making the rounds with another editor.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the past week or so- the writer’s equivalent of cleaning house. I pulled out some old ideas for pieces that never got traction anywhere and dusted them off for a new round of pitching. I’ve expanded my reading in the past six months, so I had some fresh ideas about where those pieces might be a good fit. I reviewed a pitch about a “green” hotel in New Hampshire that I visited back in February. Nothing about the property had changed. I’ve gotten an expression of tentative interest in the piece from an environmental magazine; should get the confirmation later this week.

I also reviewed the editorial contacts I’ve made over the past year and decided to reach out to some editors I haven’t been in touch with in more than six months. I pitched an idea for a piece about Mexico City to the editor at Singapore Air’s in-flight and he replied immediately in the affirmative– a full feature.

Don’t let the cold stories and old contacts get away. Warm them up and keep them close.


9 responses »

  1. Inspiring post, Julie!

    • Glad it was inspiring, Hal. Guess I could have called it “Fall Hustle.” 😉

      Any pieces you’re gonna dust off? You did some serious traveling this year, so I’ll bet you’ve got some good material gathering dust.

  2. Seems like every time I pick up the duster, I get a new project from the ed. publishers I work for. That’s my bread ‘n’ butter, so I can’t complain, but they never leave much time for pitching. 😦

  3. great advice! and congrats on the singapore feature!

  4. Totally on point! Extremely important to clean house and reshuffle ideas as well as reaching out to old contacts. Thanks for the reminder.

    Love the “fall hustle” line 🙂

  5. Pingback: On assignment in Mexico City: Post 1 | Cuaderno Inedito

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