Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Jeanette Got Her Writing Gig - Virtual Luncheon - Part 2

Jeanette scoops salad onto her plate and pauses. "I went to the editor of our local  paper with three or four column samples. I asked if I could do a regular feature and call it, 'God is Bigger.' My son, an artist, drew an Eiffel Tower held in God's hand for the logo. Since I'd done several letters to the editor, one which had been re-published in Country Magazine, they knew my writing.

"I told them I would do the column for free in exchange for a blurb at the end of each column advertising our church. The editor agreed. That was almost 11 years ago. I've received many speaking engagements and opportunities to share my faith as a result of that column. It's opened a lot of doors for my writing career, since it serves as a  plank to my platform.

"And I love it when people tell me I make them laugh! I grab the paper and say, 'let me read that. I need to laugh myself!"

Engrossed in her account, I haven't touched my salad yet. "Jen, I love the idea of the Eiffel Tower held in God's hand, but why did you choose that logo?"

She reaches for a breadstick and passes the basket to me. "Paris is the name of my town, so it was the perfect choice to catch readers' attention."

Rhonda and I exchange glances and smile. Getting readers to stay with an article challenges every writer.

The server brings our lunch, and we suspend our conversation until we're settled. "Okay, Rhonda, it's your turn. Don't leave out any of the details."

...to be continued.

Questions for the Reader: Have you thought about writing a column? What steps have you taken to make that dream come true?


26 comments:

Marja said...

For the last 4 years I have had a monthly column in a national Christian magazine in Holland. I enjoy writing it, it helps me with writing (say what you want to say in approx. 600 words or less) and to deal with dead lines :)
I remember I just presented them with an idea for a few columns, they liked it and I was in! It is a great way to get some exposure and build a platform, although that will take years!
Thanks Susan, awaiting the rest of your story!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Marja: I love your name, and your spunk! My motto is, "It doesn't hurt to ask. The worst that can happen is they say 'no,' and I've heard that word before."

Sometimes I feel embarassed that I receive no monetary compensation for the column, but the Lord has opened many doors of ministry because of it, so that's my reward. To share His grace with others is the best kind of joy.

Suze: I'm glad you chose Olive Garden, dear. My husband doesn't like it, so we never go there!

Hugs,
Jen

Rhonda Schrock said...

Jeanette, you crack me up! "Let me read that. I need to laugh myself." Ha, ha, and ha!

It's interesting to hear how others got their columns published. Thanks, Marja, for sharing that.

Karen Lange said...

Love this series! It's fun getting to know you all a little better.

I have considered doing a column. Was offered a position with a homeschool magazine until they decided they didn't have any room for the column. Would like to seek out new options for 2011.

Blessings,
Karen

Jan Cline said...

I have thought of doing a column but am wondering what topic I would chose! But Im thinking of writing some articles about the conference Im directing - maybe that will be a good foot in the door.

Carol J. Alexander said...

I just landed a monthly column with our local weekly paper. It starts in January. I'm quite excited. This was something on my goals list although I didn't think it would happen so soon. Can't wait for the next part. Thanks for sharing Jeanette and Susan!

Maria I. Morgan said...

Sounds like you two had a delightful time! I hadn't thought about writing for a newspaper. Currently, I write for a local monthly publication, Around About Cumming. It's been pleasantly surprising having those around town stop me to let me know they enjoy my articles. A column could be fun...

Thoroughly enjoy reading both of your blogs, Jen and Susan!! Have an amazing week! God bless! :)

Jody Hedlund said...

My first thought was that I was jealous that you all got to go out to lunch together! :-) Guess I have jealousy on the mind from my post! :-) Loved getting to hear how Jen got started with her column! As the Lord has opened doors already, he will continue to do so!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Wow! How inspiring! Isn't it amazing how great things happen when we follow a prompting?

quietspirit said...

Susan & Jeanette:
I had the idea of seeking out the newspaper in a neighboring town. But, I put that on the back burner. I would have to find a topic that would appeal to the readers in a small town. And the newspaper is one of three that are under a publishing umbrella. But I could add that to my goals for 2011.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marja -

I know how hard it is to write tight. Approaching the newspaper and offering to write seems like the way to go.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

I've done a number of freebies over the years. It's a good way to get started.

Does your hubby dislike Italian food or just the Olive Garden?

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I thought that was a funny line, too. Both of you are laugh-out-loud hilarious. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

With your experience homeschooling and teaching, I think you'd have an excellent chance of landing a column. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jan -

If you have a small regional paper, they might find the subject a great human interest story.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carol -

I remember you mentioning the column on your blog. What an exciting way to start off 2011!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Maria -

A monthly column counts!

We had some interesting emails flying back and forth during this virtual lunch. If I'd included everything, I would have had enough posts for three months.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jody -

No need to be jealous. It was a virtual lunch via email. Jen and I are hoping to meet next August for real. :)

Sorry I've been AWOL. Mom was in the hospital with a mild heart attack and mini-stroke. (She's home now and doing okay.)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathi -

So true. I loved doing this interview. I hope you'll watch for upcoming installments (Wednesdays).

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

It would be a great way to broaden your platform. More readers make publishers sit up and take notice. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Marja said...

By the way Susan, you are the winner of my book giveaway!!!

Jill Kemerer said...

What a fun post! I've never considered writing a column, but Jen is a natural at it. Her posts always touch me in some way!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marja -

Woohoo! Thank you. I'll be over to see you in a bit.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

I agree. Personally, I think Jen and Rhonda should have their own talk show. Now, THAT would be side-splitting fun!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Patti Lacy said...

Isn't Jeanette AMAZING? I really love her and think her writing ZINGS!!!

So glad y'all made this happen, Susan.
Patti

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

I totally agree! When Jeanette and Rhonda agreed to this virtual lunch, I was thrilled.

Blessings,
Susan :)