Telling true stories and Perfect Storm


In this last Chapter of Telling True stories I found myself both excited and afraid of becoming a journalist. Jim Collins offered great insight on how to get started as a freelancer, that to just plunge in to freelancing is kind of risky. I also like his lessons on how to set up a proposal and a query letter. My favorite entry had to be Stewart O'nan's piece about how to write a book. The seventeen rules can be applied to almost any kind of writing, narrative non-fiction, fiction, editorials, etc. His rules weren't too complicated "Isolate yourself... Enjoy yourself, always keep your notebook with you..." all these small steps help form good habits and rituals for writing. I found Susan Orlean's final lesson to be very helpful. I think it's important to ask yourself "Why do you want to be a writer?... Do you love language?...Are you deeply curious?..." knowing these answers will help make your career a lot less work, and a lot more fun.

The piece on Mr. Junger was very interesting. I loved that he went out and started his story before he even had a contract. The man has guts, he is a mixture of Mike Rowe form "Dirtiest Jobs" mixed with the cast from "Deadliest Catch". The man picked out some real blue collar jobs and wrote about them. I love the tenacity that he has and how almost every assignment he had he started without a contract. I hope I can have half the courage that this man has as a freelancer.


I'm glad to read that I wasn't the only person a little bit frightened by this reading! Although, I think O'Nan scared me more than any of the other writers and from your post it seems like you liked his advice the best. It seems like you are more apprehensive about selling yourself to editors than you are about treating every second of your day as an opportunity to find journalism. Though I know this is true, I still can't bring myself to venture into a career where I would work that way. I'm not saying that you should be more scared of O'Nan than the other writers, I'm just saying I it's interesting that we were frightened by different parts of the reading.

I also agree with you. I was excited, but frightened a little bit by it to. I think it would be really scary to just jump into freelancing. I thought it was interesting what Jim Collins said about spending as much time pitching stories even though you will get rejected a lot to. That got me nervous, because you put your whole self into a story and then pitching that knowing it could be completely rejected is nerve-wracking, but you just have to keep plowing through and pushing yourself. I thought a lot of the advice was interesting to.

I also agree! I was a little skeptical after reading about freelancing but honestly after I thought about it, I think freelancing would be the best job ever. I wrote about this in my blog and I think it would be exhilarating not having a specific deadline to a story and really spend time with people. However, for financial purposes, might not be realistic for a journalist that is just starting out, but isn't that how most people get into the business?

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This page contains a single entry by walke600 published on April 20, 2010 2:05 PM.

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