by Kim Arnott
Through the years I’ve gathered an invaluable amount of inspiration, encouragement and practical advice from my PWAC colleagues. I’m always awed by the generosity of our group, with people taking the time to share everything from technology tips and market suggestions to simple advice about managing to be a freelance writer and a sane person all in the same day.
I hope that this space will further that tradition of sharing and networking. And if you have any doubts about the value of such interactions, I offer you the following story.
A number of years ago, I was talking with a former Montreal PWAC member about stories we’d recently had published. She said she’d had success in pitching a story about the city’s great greasy spoon restaurants (“A Dozen Delicious Dives”) to a city mag. When I told her it was a fabulous idea, she urged me to pitch it to a Hamilton magazine, which I eventually did.
I’d never written for the magazine before that, and in the end, they never took that story. But as is so often the case in this profession, the editor called with a different assignment. And then, a few assignments later, she called with an odd question. Did I know anything about trade magazines? Or even home building? The truth?… of course I didn’t. The answer? … I’m a quick learner.
It turns out that her publisher also owned some trade magazines and needed a freelance editor for one of them. I landed what turned out to be a well-paying gig that lasted for several years, offered a great experience and opened some other doors. And I could trace it directly back to my conversation with Julia.
Often our interactions inspire us. But they can also enrich us. The story idea is now yours to pitch, and may it bring you as much success as it brought me. Just be sure to bring your stories back to help inspire us all.
Kim Arnott has been a freelance writer and editor since 1994, writing on a variety of topics for newspapers, magazines and digital media. She is PWAC’s current Regional Director for Ontario.