Freelance Journalism Class #2

street-sign-141361_1280~2 things happened on Tuesday of this week. My new fitness studio job didn’t work out. I guess I’m not fit enough or something.

Then I had my 2nd Freelance Journalism course that night. So, as much as it hurt to be totally humiliated and all, I am still a writer and I want to move forward with that. Looking on the bright side of things, I now have time to focus on my writing and hone in on its many opportunities.

During our class, my instructor Greg Pratt discussed:

The art of interviewing
Writing stories vs. writing promotion
Finding your market : local, national, international… websites/magazines/newspapers?
and…

Writing for free?- no no no. You are worth more than that!

As you can imagine there are MANY ways in which you can apply your writing skills other than airing out your dirty laundry through blogging rants like I did yesterday about my many failures in life.

So what kind of writing do you want to do?

A lot of material I’ve researched has stated that you should always start locally, but Greg disagrees with this logic. Why would you go to local publications when you want to write about international issues?

This makes perfect sense to me as I want to be a travel writer, so approaching international magazines and websites may be a good place to start!

We talked about one very important thing when it comes to writing stories:

Emotion.

aggression-487274_1280

Greg shared a story with the class called:

Regret, divorce, compromise. It’s not all good times with the New Kids on the Block which he wrote for Monday Magazine. You can read his article here.

He had the class read the story and then he included a “fake” story to go along with it. The fake story was basically a promotion story that was really dull and listed boring questions like: “So what can Victorians expect at the show?”

“It’s going to be a good time… we can’t wait…” blah blah blah. Not engaging at all.

The purpose of this story was to show us the lack of emotion. Promotion writing is not as relatable to the audience because there are no feelings involved, just a list of facts and general information about the show.

The difference: the types of questions being asked.

Greg explained that during the interview process when you’re working as a journalist you have to ask specific questions that will engage the reader. He made a joke about his fellow journalists who roll their eyes when he asks “feeling” questions.

“Oh, Greg’s talking about feelings again…” which I found quite humorous because that’s all I ever talk about. But this does make sense.

When you ask these types of questions it goes into a deeper realm and hits certain nerves that set off a lot of emotions. As you can see in the article, Donnie Wahlberg speaks about his divorce and it really hits home for him… his true feelings are revealed. The reader can then relate to the story and really get a sense of what that artist, or whoever it may be, is feeling about life and past circumstance. It makes them more human in a way.

So whether you’re writing for a local newspaper or international magazine, you have to get all of those “feelings” involved when interviewing for an article.alive-444540_1280

Really drive those questions into the deepest part of the gut.

For example: If you were to interview me about Personal Training and ask me how I feel I would probably say something like…

“I’m done Personal Training. I don’t feel like chasing after clients anymore and I certainly do not want to work for a gym. I don’t really make any money and I’m definitely not loving that profession. I threw out all my PT business cards, smashed my PT plague, ripped up all my certificates and basically gave up… how’s that for emotion?”

No, I’m not bitter at all. That is just an “example”

Have you ever had that feeling? 😉

Happy writing! xo

~T

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