Perseverance Is a Tricky Thing

Perseverance is a tricky thing. It means sticking with something you believe in, even if your goal isn’t in sight. It means having faith in what you’re doing and trusting that good will come of your efforts. It’s easy to celebrate in retrospect, but can be tough to stick with in the midst of a challenge.

 

A few years ago, I heard about a magazine called Verily, whose mission aligned with what I was trying to do with my fiction, that is, create content in mainstream media that is backed by solid values without being preachy.

 

I subscribed right away. I was bummed when, three issues in, they had to go to online-only. Still, I signed up for the daily email and read the articles consistently. I looked up the submission guidelines until I had them memorized. Finally I got the courage to submit a piece.

 

Prior to this, I had little experience with magazine publishing. With the guidance of a friend who did, and with confidence that the piece I pitched mattered, I sent in my article. There was a dance party in the kitchen (the best place in the house for such an event) when it was accepted!

 

In the following months, I continued to pitch. Not everything was accepted, but I got a good response from what was.

 

One night, I was talking with my husband, wondering how it was that some of the writers contributed so much more frequently than I was managing. I looked again at the site’s job board, but I’d never seen a posting for a staff writer or anything like that.

 

It was about this time that I committed myself to publishing two pieces per month with Verily. Two weeks later, I got a message from the editor who published my very first piece. She wanted to know if I would be interested in contributing regularly.

 

Would I?!

 

I waited thirty seconds before responding, as not to seem overeager.

 

In the three months since, I have learned so much about pitching, writing, editing, collaborating, and what works online versus in print. I am grateful to have an editor who is interested in helping me grow as a writer.

 

I have tried to make myself read the things I thought I should be reading, the places I thought I should want my work to get published. What they say is true, and the best fit for my work was what I was already reading. It took courage, confidence, and resilience to bounce back when I was rejected, but ultimately, I’ve found a great place to contribute my work and build some great relationships along the way.

 

Is there somewhere you’ve been dreaming of submitting your work? What’s stopping you? What steps could you take today, this week, this month to give it a shot?

 

P.S. Check out my pieces at Verily here.

Why Comp Titles Are Important

I love books. I love food. I love books about food—reading them, writing them, and, it turns out, writing about them.

One of the fun things about striving for publication is researching and reading comparable titles for an understanding of the marketplace. In my case, that means “foodie fiction,” books in which the characters or plot are heavily influenced by cooking, baking, or the restaurant industry. These are books I would read just because I enjoy them, but because I’m working towards publishing my novel, I get to call them “work.”

After my latest read, I thought I might give a submission to my favorite online magazine, Verily, a go. I’ve been dreaming of writing for Verily for a long time now, but hadn’t come up with quite the right piece. The submissions page for their culture section said they were open to round-ups of books, movies, or other media, which was just what I had in mind. This article was one I’d already happily done the research for, and writing it was just plain fun.

I’m thrilled to share the link to my first published piece outside of a blog: http://www.verilymag.com/grammys-2015-kanye-west-fifty-shades-of-grey-jon-stewart-kingsman/. Check out Verily’s weekly post, “While You Were Out,” posted this past Friday, February 13, and scroll down for “Foodie Fiction for Your February” by yours truly.

Every little bit is one step closer!

Now back to the rewrite . . .