Freelance Blog + writers on writing

5 Q's with Maggie Marton

Maggie Marton just completed her MA in writing at Hopkins. Her recent recent article in BUST magazine caught my eye, but she has also written for NationalGeographic.com and NicoleWilliams.com. All this while keeping a day job, too! Gotta admire those multi-taking skills.

Urban Muse: What clip are you most proud of? Why?
Maggie:
I wrote an article for BUST called “The Lazy Environmentalist.” I’m incredibly proud of this one because I loved the magazine for years, so it was an honor to write for them. Plus I was excited to have the opportunity to research and write about sustainability from the angle of small changes that anyone can take to be a little greener. It was the perfect intersection of a magazine I love and a topic I care about.

UM: Any tips on juggling freelance writing and a full time job?
M:
Invest in TiVo! Or, more broadly, set clear priorities. Working eight hours a day drains a lot of my creative energy, and it’s easy to get home and sit down to watch TV. But freelance writing is what I truly love, so I make myself set aside time, and I make it official by putting it on my calendar. I had a writing teacher once say that if you have time to keep up with American Idol, then you have time to write. I try to observe that everyday by eliminating mindless distractions so that my writing becomes my number one priority. Then, on the weekend, I can reward myself for a week of hard work by catching up on my favorite shows.

UM: What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started freelancing?
M:
It’s unlike any other industry because it takes more than just time to build up a solid freelancing career. After I sold my first couple pieces I thought bigger markets would instantly open up or editors would start banging down my door. But it takes a lot of hard work to sell ideas, and it takes even more hard work and consistent service to get editors to contact you with their ideas.

UM: How do you handle rejection?
M:
I was crushed when I got my first rejection, which was, of course, for the very first query I ever sent out. I obsessed over it, read and reread the “thanks, but no thanks” email, stared at my query letter, and tried to figure out where I went wrong. That’s incredibly unproductive, and I wasted a lot of time obsessing instead of searching for other places to send the idea. So now I go into each new pitch assuming it’ll take a couple tries to find the right editor. With each new idea, I make a list of five people to send it to, assuming that it’ll get rejected at least a few times. That way, when I get a rejection, I already have the next editor lined up, and acceptance is always a pleasant surprise!

UM: Who are your favorite authors?
M:
I love to read and will try just about anything. I’m really lucky because I get to sample new authors as a reviewer for the blog Conversations with Famous Authors. Right now, though, I’m reading a lot of humor from authors like A.J. Jacobs and David Sedaris.

Thanks, Maggie!

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5 Q's with Maggie Marton + writers on writing