This is an entry I made to my private blog from January 25, 2005. It is in reference to the very first paid article assignment I ever queried … and got! I found it as a listing for a new magazine on Writer’s Weekly. Actually it was a re-release of the old Iron Horse Magazine with a new format and new owner.
I queried the editor to do an expose’ on a high-end custom bike shop in my town (Chopper Works). I added the shop’s website link to the query. The editor liked what he saw and gave me the go ahead. Throughout the article process he coached me in what he was looking for in the article and came up with a few questions I had not considered. It was an invaluable experience. The editor was blunt, but a straight shooter and very patient.
I did the interview with the guys at Chopper Works. It was great.
At first I was really nervous … no actually I was scared shit-less. You know stage fright scared, the kind of fear people have when they have to give a public speech. I was looking for any excuse not to go and do the interview. I often get this sort of fear when I try anything new. I’ve found that if I push through the fear and do it anyway, it turns out to be a good experience.
My nervousness disappeared as soon as I entered the shop. The brothers are about my age and we had a lot in common. They gave me the grand tour of the show room and the shop operations. They let me take all the pictures I wanted. All very cool. They had me sit on one of their $65K bikes, and a bike they built for Sully Erna (the lead singer of Godsmack). If it had been spring, they would have let me take one their choppers for a ride…bummer.
As soon as I got home I reviewed my notes and played back the interview tapes. I created an outline of the article with the more interesting points I want to highlight in the article. Now I need to flesh out the article with the information I gathered, do some follow up for questions I’m sure to have, then put it away for a few days. I will then go back review it, re-write it, and polish it until it shines. Only then I will send it to the editor of the magazine. I’m working on this article as a lynchpin to many other articles – hoping some of them involve travel.