The Water in the Wild (a short story)

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I began writing this short story a month or so after moving to Montreal in August 2013, so it is my most recent one as I have been occupied with writing a novel, poetry, and a lot of freelance work since then. I think this may be my best one yet, although I have not found a place for it. One editor did give me a personalized note, however. In it he said, “It’s obvious you’re a professional writer.” He also gave me some useful feedback that helped me improve the story to its current state which I’m now posting below. Please read, enjoy, and comment. Read the rest of this entry »

To Hell With Literary Journals! There Are Better Ways To Get Noticed

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I have been trying for two years now to get at least one of my short stories published in a literary journal. They say this is the way to start building a reputation as an author. It’s how, in the past at least, pretty much every author we know started their careers.

The reality of today’s marketplace, however, has made it virtually impossible to get your work in one of those highly prized literary journals unless you graduated from an MFA course and know the editors or publishers. It seems to me that simply having good work isn’t enough. Many publications accept a ridiculously low portion of the manuscripts they receive, especially the really well known ones. Some accept as little as 1 per cent, or even less, of the work they get. Those are some pretty long odds. As such, I have had nothing but rejection after rejection after rejection and am now on the verge of giving up with these journals altogether. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lean Years Are Starting To Pay Off

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Freelance writing is one of the most difficult ways to make a living, but somehow I have persevered. There have been many times when I wanted to give up completely, when I swore that I was getting out of this business for good, when the stress was overwhelming, when I thought I was going nowhere. I told everyone I was going to quit. I posted rants of Facebook. I lamented the disintegration of the publishing and print journalism industries. I applied for full time jobs and attended interviews. I even came close to being hired a few times. I bitched. I griped. I kvetched.

But always I knew that until I got hired somewhere it would have to be business as usual with my freelancing work. I couldn’t give it up until a worthy replacement arrived. But on the other hand I knew that if i could just secure more steady gigs, with better pay rates, I could still be content to freelance. The only problem was money. My only motive for returning to the normal 9-to-5 working world was a steady paycheque and benefits package. If I could make just as much freelancing, or even more, shouldn’t I be happy to continue as I am? Doesn’t freelancing come with it’s own set of benefits?

Read the rest of this entry »

Another Front Page Story in The Financial Post

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Photo by Peter J. Thompson / National Post

For the second time in my career I have been published on the front page of the Financial Post! The first time was last summer with a story about entrepreneurship for immigrants, and now I have done it again with a story on, a real estate listings website with a twist.

Buyers who purchase a home listed on the site receive a 1% cash back rebate. This rebate is funded by the agent’s commission. You might think they wouldn’t be cool with that, but RFS provides them with a steady supply of free leads and takes care of all the paperwork, so all the agents really have to do is show the home. It’s a pretty sweet deal for both parties involved.

The website has made such a splash in the industry that it has already attracted investors looking for a 50% stake in the company. Did I mention that it just launched in June 2014? Not bad for such a young start up. RFS is a disruptor, and the future is looking bright.

Read the story on The Financial Post.

The Plan To Conquer LinkedIn

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In the sciences, when a procedure doesn’t work you change the method. I am now applying this basic rule to my freelancing business. Let me tell you what I mean.

I have always tried to find new clients and publications by pitching story ideas to the editors directly and following up with them. I have had some success with getting into newspapers and websites like this, but magazines have proven to be nearly impossible, and making a living via freelance journalism alone is equally impossible unless you have tons of industry connections and 10+ years of experience on your CV. Copywriting for businesses is where the money is, so where do you find those clients?

You certainly won’t find them through Craigslist or internet job boards. Those outlets are a colossal waste of time. I have sent upwards of 120+ responses to job ads and only recieved maybe 4 or 5 replies. Not a good hit rate at all. What’s more is the clients I have found can never afford my rates, so I don’t want to write for them anyway. I can’t make a living on 2 cents a word. Read the rest of this entry »