Pick up a copy of the July/August edition of Utah Life Magazine and you’ll find me, my Grandma DeeDee, and my son, Dominic.
I’ve pitched and submitted plenty of stories and pieces over the last several years. I’ve received oodles of “no thank yous” and non-responses. One evening, I sent in a pitch to this Utah Life and afterward, I thought: I should have polished that idea before submitting it. If you search the web, you’ll find lots of articles giving advice about what it takes to create a successful pitch. I know. You have to stand out in some way.
A few days later, the editor emailed me about it. He wanted it! What was my pitch? A story about the legacy of one of my grandmothers, specifically my grandmother, Edith, who is 100 years old, teaches my son piano (plus 19 other students each week), continues to work hard in her beautiful garden, and has left an impact in the lives of thousands of piano students.
Many of the work I do now as a writer is to meet somebody else’s needs. I write social media posts about finding a software development company. I write blog posts about using a VPN on the free wi-fi at the gym. I write website content for some of the projects with the LDS Church. I don’t write about things that I love, necessarily. Writing this article was daunting because I wanted to create a personal masterpiece. Talk about pressure, huh?
It took several drafts until I sent in the story. I was rejected.
But, this rejection was different. I was rejected with an offer to review things over the phone with the editor. “You bet,” I replied back. With the feedback from that phone call, I started over, working a new story. It felt a little bit like how it must be to piece together a quilt, taking sections at a time, then bringing them together, stepping back and appreciating the whole. I sent my new story in.
“You got it on this revision!”
It was a few months after submitting it until the print magazine arrived in the mail. Since then, I purchased several more copies from Barnes & Noble and found that they also carry it at grocery stories, drugstores, Costco, and Sam’s Club (in Utah). You can also order a copy from their website.
Will you read my story? Will you send a letter to the editor about it (firstname.lastname@example.org)? If you know of past student’s of my grandmother, will you tell them about it? If they send in letters to the editor and they print those up in the fall issue, I will take a copy over to her and we’ll read them together. That would be an awesome afternoon, in my opinion!