Writing for Parenting Publications

One of my favorite ezines, Writer’s Weekly, comes into my email inbox every Wednesday. In that ezine, I always find up-to-date writing information that is helpful to me as a freelancer. This week, I learned more about parenting publications in an article by Julie Engelhardt.

Anyone who wants to write for parenting magazines should like the article, “Paying Parenting Market.” Julie has been writing for magazines and newspapers for fifteen years, including national publications. Julie says that she has found it easy to work with editors of regional magazines and that writing for regional parenting magazines can be very rewarding.

Some writers find their comfort zone writing about hard-hitting news, but my home is writing about where to take family day trips and how to keep kids healthy, as well as reviewing children’s books.”

In the ezine article, Julie details information about 10 parenting magazines. You won’t get rich writing for parenting publications like these, but if that’s a niche you enjoy, don’t fail to check out her article. You can read it here.

Julie is based in central California. She has been published in Family Fun Magazine, Babyzone.com and in regional publications, The Wave, in San Jose, CA and 65 Degrees Magazine, in Monterey, CA. She can be reached at jengelha@aol.com.

Also at Writer’s Weekly you can find regular departments for Ask the Expert (the subject this week: “What Rights Did I Give Up?”) and Paying Markets and Jobs for Writers (I’ve sold a number of articles to publications I first learned about here).

In my opinion, Writer’s Weekly is an excellent resource publication for freelancers. That’s why I’ve been a long-time subscriber.

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©2009 by Laverne Daley

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Write Every Day? Take Time for Breaks, Too

It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” Gerald Brenan

Gerald Brenan and others who advocate writing every day have it right. One has to write regularly to be a writer. However, I think it equally important to take time away from writing on occasion. Taking time away may improve your writing.

That’s what I’ve been doing for a while, traveling south to spend time with family members and to enjoy again great Louisiana food. On Sunday, we experienced a particularly delightful brunch at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro in Lafayette (in the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that our oldest grandson is Executive Chef at Jolie’s). My pain perdu was so light and delicate that it fairly flew onto the fork, and I discovered in it bits of caramelized apples, pecans and andouille sausage to savor. Delicious!

Time spent with family is always precious. There’s an almost magical ability to resume from the point when we were last together, a smooth seamless continuation of our last conversations, despite the time spent apart since then.
It is grand to forget work, to focus completely on family and enjoy the company of loved ones. No telephones to interfere, no attention-demanding emails, no surfing the Internet.

But away from the computer, writers always seems to be working, even during family time or while dining in fine restaurants. I found myself thinking about work while driving along the interstate or just looking at the wetlands as we crossed the Atchafalaya Swamp. Article ideas kept popping into my head everywhere I went.

If you’re like me, you even compose sentences or whole paragraphs during times away from your everyday writing routine. I didn’t check my email while on this trip but I did pick up newspapers along the way, plus several magazines I’d not seen before.

I found two article ideas in the newspapers and magazines, another during a local radio broadcast we listened to in the car, and one germ of an idea evolved just by talking with Louisiana folks I met.

Not surprisingly, once I got back home I could hardly wait to turn on the computer and get to work. My break not only gave me priceless family time, it also gave me renewed interest in writing every day.

So except for planned breaks, I do write every day and I treasure my time at the computer. I also treasure the time when I’m not actually at the computer writing, but elsewhere generating ideas, composing sentences or paragraphs in my head or digging for needed research for articles.

And right now, I’m also treasuring the memory of that wonderful pain perdu I delighted in last week and the grandson who makes such delicious fare for us to enjoy.

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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A Query Letter Alert (about an interview with Wendy Burt-Thomas)

Today I received an email alert from Victoria Mixon about her just-posted interview with Wendy Burt-Thomas, author of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters.

In this far-reaching interview, Wendy answers just about any question you might ever have about query letters. And whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you should benefit from Wendy’s wide knowledge about query letters. If you’d like to read the complete interview, just click on this link to Victoria’s site.

You may remember Victoria — she did a guest post on “Handling Rejections” on this site just a few days ago. Thanks again, Victoria, for writing that post, and for alerting us to Wendy’s interview.

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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More Tips for Conducting Interviews

Following up on my earlier post about conducting interviews, here are more tips that you might find helpful, including a great one from a western New York freelancer, Christine L. Pollock. This was in an article about telephone interviewing in The Writer (February 2008).

In “Working The Phones,” she suggested outlining your article, even before you arrange the interview, to see where the article is going, then plug in as much information as you can from your preliminary research.

Questions will mysteriously pop into your head for the interview, saving the agony of coming up with sharp questions from a blank page,” says Pollock, who is managing editor for the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media—KIDS FIRST, in addition to being a freelance writer. “You might even find the article morphing into something completely different from your original plan.

“Before I learned this trick, I often became frustrated because I had already interviewed somebody, and as I wrote and my article took shape, I’d find myself with questions it was too late to ask.”

Great tip, don’t you agree? I plan to use that one for my next interview.

Now to other tips:

1. Do thorough preparation before approaching a source for an appointment for an interview. Sometimes a source will want to conduct the interview during that first call. That happened to me once — I was lucky because I had enough questions in mind to get through the interview, and later while writing the article I called back with more questions. But I always felt that it was a less-than-satisfactory interview and I wondered if my article might have been better had I prepared more. That experience taught me how important it is to research thoroughly ahead of time and be ready with an organized list of questions.

2. Some sources find it easier to tell stories than to answer questions. Often you can get more information, and sometimes a good anecdote, by asking something like, “Can you tell me how you happened to come up with the idea for this project?” or, “What’s it like to be involved in this event?”

3. Try to ask easy questions early in the interview, then move to any difficult questions as your source become more comfortable with you and your interviewing style.

4. Many writers like to record their interviews on electronic devices. Even though I set up my digiital recorder right in front of a source for an in-person interview, I still ask permission to record the interview so as to have that agreement documented on the device. It’s equally important to document permissions when you do telephone interviews. In both cases, you can download the interviews directly to your computer afterward.

5. Both federal and state laws govern the use of recording equipment, so it’s important to know the laws of your state and of the state where your source happens to be, as well as federal laws. Twelve states require the consent of all parties in a conversation. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have “one-party consent” statutes, including Nevada, but Nevada’s Supreme Court interprets it differently than do the other states.  The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has published a helpful list of laws about recording conversations, including a state-by-state guide. It might be wise to check out that information before you record an interview. You can find that it here.

Have you interviewing tips we could use? Please share them in the comment section.

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©2009 by Laverne Daley

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