I’m a staff writer now.
So, that happened.
I don’t want to downplay how excited I am by this new development. Since I got into writing at the level that I am now (aka when grad school made me write daily), I have been dreaming about being able to write regularly for a website. In the horror world, Bloody Disgusting (BD) is the standard by which all websites are measured. And, of course, I wanted to write for them.
I sent them some pitches, but nothing ever broke through. That’s not a jab at BD. Even a niche market like horror is a highly packed area for writers. BD gets thousands of emails and pitches a day. Breaking through is luck. I’ve not been lucky so far.
But here’s the thing. I wrote everything that I pitched.
Basically, I never pitched an editorial without having it written first. I’m paranoid. I never wanted to actually get accepted and then be asked for a piece that I could not immediately produce. In my mind, I would be a better author if I could hand in the piece as soon as it was requested. And I think there is truth to that, but not everyone actually writes the pieces that they pitch to publishers.
So, I ended up with a few essays that just had no where to go. Some of them, I sent to a website where I am welcome to publish, but not able to be a staff writer.
With these pieces in tow, I started looking at lesser markets. Now, I don’t mean lesser in quality. I mean markets that have a lower readership or a less popular profile than BD. Why, you ask. Well, getting in on the ground or middle floor of a website is a great way to grow with a publication. It’s an opportunity to contribute to the next big thing. And that is cool.
I dug through the websites I visit and found some that I liked. I filled out some applications and never really pushed too hard. The goal was to dip my toe in the water and see what would happen. No real endgame here. Just an editorial or two that I couldn’t publish and still wanted to see if I could find them a home.
I ended up finding an application for a site that focuses on independent horror films. I applied, pitched one of my editorials, wrote two audition articles, and waited.
And I actually got through!
(I’m a staff writer now, please don’t contact me unless you’re VIP. Just kidding. I still don’t get paid to write so all y’all can feel free to contact me.)
It’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve produced four articles for the site and been given access to short film screeners from a film festival. I don’t get paid. That’s true. But I get the opportunity to write for an up-and-coming site that shares my interests and values. It’s amazing.
I think I may write more on this topic later. I think there is something to be said about persistence and engaging with diverse publications. There is also something to be said about being careful regarding how far you are willing to stretch yourself. It’s a balancing act.
For now, though, I’m a staff writer. That feels cool to say.