The power of perserverance

For the past 6+ months, I've been steadily chipping away at this freelance writer thing.  I'm not going to lie--it was exhausting and difficult at first.  I didn't quite know what to do.  I lucked out in that I had established enough contacts previously that I could make it work from the start.

Most of the time, I knew someone who knew someone who worked at the publication I was interested in writing for.  I got my foot in the door by saying "Hey, I know so-and-so and they passed along your name."  I must say, it was an effective strategy.  I have become really, really good at networking.

What's harder--much harder--is getting a story placed in a Really Big Name publication and/or one where you don't have an "in."  Editors are busy.  If you want to get their time of day, you need to basically knock their socks off.  That's seriously hard.  Editors, as a species, are not easily wowed.  If they were, they would be crap editors. 

That being said, the only way to get your story published in a magazine is to propose the idea and brace yourself for the inevitable letdown.  That's not me being negative and tough on myself--that's the grim reality of the publishing business.  You will be told "no" many more times than you will be told "yes."  But I hold out for those yeses, for that validation that I can come up with good ideas and I can write well and I can be successful at my career.

After months and months of chipping away, I got that validation today.

I had pitched a story to Self magazine that the psychology editor liked but it got shot down by the other editors.  I told myself that it was my first idea, and that interesting any editor, however fleeting, was an awesome accomplishment.  I started casting my net for other potential story ideas, when I got an email.  From the Self editor.  

She said, basically, that they had more stories than writers, and although they couldn't use my idea, would I mind writing another short piece for them?


I kept chipping away, and chipping away.  And finally, after months and months and more rejections than I care to count, I finally hit the big time.

It's like recovery in that sense.  For so long, you're doing the same thing and feeling so damn dejected that none of this is working out.  It doesn't seem to be getting any better.

And then one day, it does.  Not that my success as a writer is anything near guaranteed, but I also feel that I can do this.  I can make it.  I have the chops.

Let me tell you--that feels freaking amazing.


Anonymous said...

It SHOULD feel freakin' amazing, Carrie! You have worked hard and it is paying off. So proud of you!!!

Mary Jeane

hm said...

Hell, yes, it's amazing. YOU are amazing. Congratulations. :)

Katie said...

Congratulations Carrie!

Sarah said...

Of course you have the chops! Of course you're going to make it! You're awesome! I think everyone can see that but you :) Congrats on SELF--what an accomplishment!

Cammy said...

Hey congrats!!! Freelancing is a hard thing to break into, and you seem to have totally taken off with it over the past few months, you rock!

KrisB said...

Way to go, Carrie!

My current favorite quote:
"Perseverance, secret of all triumphs." Victor Hugo

Becca said...

Endless congratulations, Carrie! Let that success just wash all over you!

Anonymous said...

Carrie, that is AMAZING! Best of luck to you - you deserve this after so many years of hard work!!

scottrecovered said...

Congratulations!!!! Anything worth having is worth working for, and you have worked so hard for this!

Way to go :)


Charlotte UK said...

I am so happy that those "No"s didn't kill you swagger, babe!

Emily said...

Carrie - that is wonderful!! You should be so proud of yourself!!

Melissa said...

Wow! Congrats!!!

KL said...

Congrats! That's awesome!

Anonymous said...

But when is your article being published?

Tubal Reversals said...

YOU are amazing
success just wash all over your previous memories
Reversal of tubal Ligation

HikerRD said...

Might you share your email for a quick, related question?

Carrie Arnold said...


Sure! It's


Tubal Ligation Reversal said...
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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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