While several of my pitches indeed became published pieces, many of them did not. At the beginning, this was gutting but I started to learn that rejection and failure are part of the process. In fact, I began to understand that a lot of the time you learn by doing. Each time I wrote a pitch, I was honing my craft and bettering my practice. The more pitches I sent off, the better I got at writing them.
Once, I posted in a Facebook group about an idea I had for an essay but I didn’t know how to break it down into a digestible narrative. As well, I had no idea where to place it. People commented and told me that the narrative actually made sense and listed off publications I could pitch it to. I sent off an email to The Cut and a month later, an editor commissioned the story for $800 USD. I was shocked.
Once the article was published, I shared it far and wide. I received a wonderful response. People emailed me to tell me that my story was moving and let them know they weren’t alone. Someone asked if I was writing a memoir, something I had never considered but once the idea crossed my mind, I saw a whole new world of possibility open up. Three years later, in 2020, five months after applying right before the deadline, I received a surprising email from an arts council. I had won a grant to write my book.
Looking back on the last six years of my writing career, I can see just how far I’ve come. I went on to be nominated for a National Magazine Award for my first cover story. When we allow others and ourselves to convince us that pursuing our dreams is not possible, it closes the door on opportunities to do what we love. The truth is: anything is possible. This is not to say that freelance writing is easy. In fact, it is often not for the faint of heart.