How I became a published writer
Updated: Dec 8, 2018
Whilst you can`t quite see me in the pic #Blackpool is the place I call home.
I`m drawn to water and whilst I`ve tried numerous times I can`t seem to escape living here #bytheseaside and yet strangely, whilst living no more than 500 yards away from the waters edge, like a great many who live here I rarely go down to the sea.
Whether happy to be here or not it is the place which provided the opportunity and inspiration for my first ever published piece more than twenty years ago. Both the subject and the publisher were within just a few miles of me.
I had wanted to write for much of my adult life but wasn`t sure how to go about getting that all important first published piece. How do you do that when you have no previously published material or a reputation as a writer? The answer will probably be very different for us all but this is how I managed it.
Just down the road from that world famous #BlackpoolTower - yes, the home of #BBCStrictly come dancing for a one week each year, lies the fishing port of #Fleetwood the home of the another name known all around the world. No, it`s not #AlfieBoe but Fishermans Friend, the No 1 lozenge #Fishermans_UK The business was founded by local woman Doreen Lofthouse who is known to be a relatively private person so there was little reason to think she might offer me the opportunity to interview her. I needed an in, an edge of some sort. I needed an editor somewhere who would love to have an article about Mrs Lofthouse.
This is the point at which I believe divine inspiration took over. I called the editor of Lancashire Life magazine #Lancashirelife who back then was Tony Skinner. Tony went on to edit Lancashire Magazine when his boss, the notorious owner of Blackpool Football Club #OwenOyston sold the magazine and went on to start up in direct competition with it.
I was fortunate to get through to speak directly with the editor and went on to tell him that I was a local writer and I had been granted an audience with Doreen Lofthouse and wondered whether he`d be interested in it for the magazine. He was immediately interested and asked me to let him see an outline of what the piece would cover.
Now, this was in 1995 and before computers and email had really taken hold and I was still working on an old portable typewriter. However, I managed to get a few sheets of professional looking letter-headed paper printed bearing my name and title, #FreelanceWriter . I put the proposal together and faxed it to Mr Skinner. I left it a day or two and then called him again.
I could hardly believe it when he said he liked it and would take it for the magazine. As I had never sold an article before I was a bit unsure of what to say next, but I knew that if I was to be taken seriously as professional writer the subject of money needed to be dealt with. I therefore simply asked what he would pay for the 1500 words he had requested. Two hundred and fifty pounds he said. That was almost a weeks wage for most people in the UK in 1995 and it would probably take me a day or two at most to complete.
My next task was somewhat more challenging. I needed to get Doreen Lofthouse to agree to allow me to interview her. I knew that a request from little ole` me was not likely to entice her. There was only one way this had a chance of working. I called Doreen`s office and informed them that Lancashire Life magazine had commissioned me to write a feature about her and wondered if she could spare me a little of her valuable time.
I then went on to use that one single article to build a career as a full time freelance writer. Just a few years later I was earning just short of £70K PA from my writing life and having the time of my life!
If you want to know more about how I used that piece to develop my career just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org