I’ve wanted to be a professional writer for decades. When I was young, I wrote poetry and song lyrics and dreamed of being a photojournalist. I even wrote about becoming and being a writer in this earlier blog post.
Long-time student that I’ve been, I’ve written many term papers and research reports, and was even included as a contributor to a research study published in Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine.
As a ghost writer, I’ve helped individual authors publish their experiences. I’ve compiled and edited newsletters for for Caterpillar and a doctoral dissertation for a friend who was a Doctor of Ministry candidate — a thankless project that took nine months of my life.
Aside from my blogs, I had never published under my name in print that could be seen by the public, nor anything online. Recently, one of my own pieces was, at long last, published in my name on a major website!
Entrepreneur Magazine’s online site published my article “5 Questions Struggling Entrepreneurs Must Ask Before Taking a Job“. It was a thrilling accomplishment for me. A milestone of a sort! The real excitement leading to that day, however, began one month earlier.
I had just “graduated” from a professional (non-academic) four-week writing & publishing class called From Ripple to Waves, by author/speaker/coach co-facilitators Dixie Gillaspie and Kimanzi Constable. Ripples to Waves was, from my perspective, a live operations manual for writers who wanted to publish, carefully crafted with love and passion! Sounds hot, right?! It was!
While I had plenty of confidence in my ability to write, I had no knowledge of how to get an article published on a big site prior to this class. Dixie and Kimanzi, each an accomplished author with many articles already published in addition to their books, generously walked us through the process of article publishing with no holds barred. Outside of class, in our private group on Facebook, they answered more questions for the students, guiding each of us toward success.
I wrote and edited my article, and edited some more. Dixie patiently coached me through the first edit, and Kimanzi gave me clues on how to find the right email address of where to send my pitch. Classmate Barbara Abramson, an author and coach in her own right, coached me through the final edits — and my related anxiety — with impressive pedagogy, compassion, and empathy. We were satisfied with our real-time collaborative effort.
My pitch was cordial and brief, and ready! On Friday, October 17th, 2014, with sweaty palms and an accelerated heart rate, I hit “send”…
…and waited patiently. I knew full well it was highly unlikely an employee of this site would respond to email over the weekend! It seemed forever, but it was only 4 days.
On October 21, I received a response from an editor at Entrepreneur. Short and simple:
Can you cut this down to around 700 words? I’ll also need your headshot and social media account links.
Gulp. “Was that a conditional acceptance? I think it was!” I exclaimed aloud, though nobody was near me to hear.
Back to editing, but this time, I was able to strip it down myself. I have spent enough time editing academic papers to know how to cut down the fluff when held to a word limit. No problem. Done and re-submitted, complete with headshot, the very next day.
The response from the editor just one day later, October 23
I appreciate the quick turnaround on this, Lisa. I have added this article to our review queue. It may take up to four weeks to process this piece.
I know exactly where I was when I read this email. Where I was sitting, what I was eating, what I was wearing, time of day…
Wait a minute. “Review queue”?
I forwarded the message to Dixie to ask her what this meant.
Dixie was gentle in telling me it was yet another conditional acceptance. The review editors could reject it or approve it. I would know in four weeks.
Three weeks later, on November 18, I received this:
Thanks for contributing to Entrepreneur.com. To make posting content to the site faster and easier, we’ve given you access to our Content Management System (CMS). If you’re familiar with WordPress or similar web publishing tools, you’ll feel comfortable posting here.
You’ll also have complete access to your bio, social handles and contact information that appears on the site with your posts.
Setting up your account takes just a few minutes…
“Contributing”. That means yes!! The review editors accepted my article!
My article was published the next day, November 19, 2014. I’m sure I didn’t get anything accomplished that day besides promoting it and enjoying the social engagement it created. My article made the top 100 on the site, and as high as #22. I was even listed as a featured contributor for this article!
Although engagement continues sporadically,the excitement died down in a few days. It was fun. Exciting. A wonderful learning experience!
Time to do it, again. And often!