For the past while I have been thinking that how you do what you do, is as important as what you do.
In terms of climate justice, I have been looking to find my way in. Throughout the past few years, I have been working on climate change, approaching it from all sorts of angles: policy, activism, research, projects, workshops, campaigns, bottom-up, top-down, big cities, remote villages, different languages etc. But sometimes I felt like I was hovering around climate justice, rather than living inside of it, and other times that I needed to leave myself at the door to “do the work.” I kept on thinking about climate writing and climate education, and also art, the best medium to compel those that don’t already care.
In many ways, this climate writing fellowship has been serendipitous. It forced me to jump into an arena that I had only been involved with peripherally, and put myself out there in a field that I had been dreaming about. As I did this opportunities began to reel in: a contributing writer role, and a regular column gig. All of a sudden this field that was just outside of my grasp, has now become part of what I do.
While the fellowship came at a time when I was busy with many other commitments, I realised along the way that I am quite alright at multi-tasking, and I have learned many things:
1) Contact everyone. And by everyone I mean editors that you have publishing crushes on. They may seem entirely elusive, but if you can pitch yourself as the most extraordinary writer in the world (see lesson learned #4), and angle your story in line with their mandate, you can make many things happen.
2) Follow-up on your article and don’t be ashamed or nervous about it. Editors are busy. They get swarms and swarms of articles a day. Yours stands out, and you know it. So don’t be afraid to follow-up by phone or email if you haven’t heard back on your gem of a piece in a few days.
3) Be transparent if you want to publish the same piece in multiple places. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but editors like exclusivity, or at least first publication.
4) Pitch your article like you are the most incredible writer since the invention of the written word. Showcase that you have created an article that shines.
5) Put some soul into the piece. Yes include facts-facts-facts. But readers also want to feel your pulse when you are writing.