Q: My situation is unique to me, but I'm sure not to you. I was a full-time freelance features writer in Stamford, Conn., in the late '80s. I have a pile of clippings to show for it, which is great. Then I married and had a couple of kids. While taking care of my two very little boys, I was offered a job as an assistant editor for a peer-reviewed professional society magazine (IEEE Electrical Engineering) which required a great deal of copy editing, including papers and articles from around the world. I was lucky enough to be able to work out of the house, using e-mail, Fed-Ex and the telephone for all of my duties. The job lasted four years; in that time, I lived in Connecticut, Georgia, and then the United Kingdom. I was laid off in 2003, due to lower bidding from an editing/production firm.
While all of this was happening, I was divorced, moved back to the States, and am now a single mom. I decided to return to school and currntly have a couple of loose ends to tie to finally get my BA.
I would like to re-enter the newswriting world, armed with editing experience. I'm unsure how to package myself--copy editor? Features writer? I live on Cape Cod, and have many ideas that could easily become "lite" news pieces, but don't know how to contact various editors without giving my ideas away for free!
Any help would be *treasured.*
A: It sounds like you have a movie in you. Or an episode of Desperate Housewives.
In the meantime, pursue both of your interests.
It sounds as though you enjoy both, so I'd try both. You might find that you like the variety that comes from features writing, but an editing gig like the one you had before can give you the steady income stream you need.
And, right. Only a fool would give ideas away for free. (Free advice is an entirely different matter.)