The Freelance Writing Waiting Game

I’m Going to Write for the New York Times: Chapter 6

Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

This is an ongoing column about my quest to write for the New York Times. If you’d like to know the background behind why I’m doing this, check out the first installment of the series.

My life has always involved a lot of waiting. Waiting in open call auditions. Waiting for auditions. Waiting to hear if I can even get an audition.

When I switched from acting to writing, I didn’t realize that waiting, in the words of Tom Petty, would still be the hardest part.

This week, I handed in a story and have no idea when it will be published or if the editor even likes it. This isn’t unusual. Editors have packed schedules and get around to articles on their own timeline. They simply don’t have time to be like the Dominos Pizza Tracker and let me know when my story is in the oven (aka, being edited).

So, while I wait to tell you more about a story I’m excited about, here are some other updates from my freelance writing week.

Officially Rejected!

Two of my stories have now been officially rejected by the New York Times! Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised they wrote me back at all. One was a form letter that told me she couldn’t give feedback (I really can’t imagine having the balls to ask for feedback on a rejected Times pitch, but obviously it happens). The other was a short rejection that encouraged me to pitch again and hoped my story found a place elsewhere.

Both emails were incredibly polite and made the rejection as light as possible.

This is why freelance rejections are kind of nice. They show that someone is actually reading your emails (sending emails into the submission blackhole of no response can get tiresome) and that they aren’t mad or annoyed by a story that doesn’t work for them. It’s just not right. My next story, will quite literally, be a different story.

Waiting on the Oscars

Last week, I pitched a story about the Oscars and didn’t hear back, so I sent a very similar pitch to another place. If they don’t want it, then Medium will get the glory of my thoughts on a moment from the 1988 Academy Awards. Spoiler: the 1988 Academy Awards happened the year of the Writer’s Strike and you can tell!

My week hasn’t been terribly exciting, but I’ve stuck to my basic goals, heard back from The New York Times, and didn’t freak out after sending in an article to an editor I haven’t worked with before. I’ll take all of that as a win.

If you want to find the masthead and pitching guidelines of the New York Times and over 240 other publications, get my free Big Guide To Paying Publications That Take Pitches. You’ll get the guide plus weekly emails about open writing jobs and freelance tips.

Writer for Thrillist, Bustle, Parade, Greatist, MTV, IFC, Snooki’s blog. Want to hear about open writing jobs? Sign up for my free newsletter at AmberPetty.com

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