As a writer and a parent, there’s no question that your experiences with your children will inspire your writing. But before you try peddling that essay on your amazing labor or pitching an anecdote about how incredible it is to be a parent, think again. While your twist on parenthood and child rearing may be unique, a more practical approach to the parenting market will get you those first assignments.
Consider this: There are 8-10 feature stories in a national parenting publication, dozens of shorts and tips and often only one personal essay per issue, frequently written by a regular columnist. The chance of your personal reflection on the meaning of parenthood making it to publication is slim.
Boost your odds of landing an article by using your own experience as a springboard for a service-oriented approach. Instead of spending loads of time crafting an essay about your partner’s fear of cutting the cord, try a generalized pitch entitled “How to squelch labor room fears”. Instead of a cute personal account of your child’s first potty chair success, broaden the appeal of your query with an article like “Taking a leak: A practical guide to potty training.” Use your own experience briefly as an intro to your query to establish yourself as an experienced parent, but expand the pitch to include other experts – doctors, psychologists or teachers – who will add additional credibility and make your article well rounded.
As for all those great stories and anecdotes, write them down. Essays are great for local publications, contests and your own memory books. Plus, once you’ve established yourself with a national publication, you can submit an essay or two.
Sharon Miller Cindrich is the mom of two, a columnist and author of E-Parenting: Keeping Up With Your Tech-Savvy Kids (Random House, 2007). Her next book debuts in the fall of 2009. Learn more at www.sharonmillercindrich.com.