Day 345. A Byline

My friend, Marilyn, is probably the only person, outside of myself, who knows what I’m about to tell you.  Not that there’s any reason for it to be a deep, dark secret.journalist  It’s just something I’ve never talked about, before.

Have no idea why, either.

And the only reason I’m mentioning it now is, because of a recent WordPress Daily Prompt:  “If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?”

I don’t even have to think about it.

You all know I’ve spent my career in advertising.  As a copywriter and creative director.  It’s what I always wanted to do, from the time I was a very young girl.  I’ve worked for some of the largest agencies in the world, on some of the best brands.  And I’ve had a fabulous career.

No complaints.

But outside of the industry, I’ve not been taken seriously, as a writer.  None of us are.  It’s not really a reflection of whether we’re good, or not.  It’s just that journalists and authors tend to pooh-pooh what we do.  Dismiss it.  They think we’re hacks.  Nothing more than salesmen, being paid (overpaid) to hawk the wares of our clients.

How déclassé!

Not worth angsting over.  But it is mildly frustrating.

Especially as now, after decades of writing copy, I’d like to expand my horizons.  Not that I want to give up the business entirely.  I don’t.  But I’d like to add to my repertoire.

Many years ago, while I was still in Montreal, the fashion editor of the Montreal Gazette liked my writing style.  We had worked together, briefly, at a fashion trade magazine;  and later, when I worked with Leo Chevalier, a top Canadian fashion designer, I was always sending her press releases.  So she occasionally asked me to write an article for her.  Which I loved.  When I worked at BBDO I was asked, by one of our industry publications (Strategy) to write a monthly column.  Loved that, too.  And a few years later, when I was a partner at tattoo, Marketing (another industry journal) asked me to write several pieces for them.  Also loved that.

So I know the difference between writing an ad and writing a story.  And I can do both.  And then some.

But generally, if I approached the editor of most newspapers or magazines and pitched a story, I’d get nowhere.  Even though I’ve probably been writing longer than they have.  On more subjects.  They’d dismiss all my years of experience, saying it’s not relevant.  I’m not a journalist.

Technically speaking, they’re right.  I’m not.  But I am a writer.  And I do know how to tell a story.  And engage readers.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post.  To the question asked in the WordPress prompt.  Here’s my response:

What I’d like to have happen, as a result of my writing this blog, is to be taken more seriously as a writer.  To at least be given a chance to see some of my stories or articles or opinions in print.

Personally I think I’d be a pretty good Op-Ed columnist.  God knows I have opinions on just about everything and don’t mind sharing them.  And I think I can put together a pretty good argument to support my theories.  Whether the readers would agree with me, or not, is another story.  But that’s the point of Op-Ed, I think.  Not everyone has to agree.  It’s there to spark debate, to make people think.

Being given assignments would also make me happy.  I love being challenged.  Send me out to cover a story, or interview someone.  Something else I’d love to do is travel writing.  I already have an idea for a regular column I’d like to do on that subject.

So now the cat’s out of the bag.  I’d like a byline.  At least eventually I’d like a byline.  For now I’d be thrilled if I could sell an idea or an article.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know what you’re gonna tell me.  “Get off your ass, Fransi.  Go for it.  Submit something.”

Recently I bought two books.  One is Canadian, the other covers the U.S.  They list every publication you can think of, with their submission guidelines.  I have been going through them.  But you’re right.  It’s probably enough already with the research.  It’s time to start ‘doing’.  It’s time to bite the bullet and take a chance.

What’s the worst that can happen?  I’ll be rejected.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  And it probably wouldn’t be the last, either.

On a more positive note, I could also end up in print.

35 thoughts on “Day 345. A Byline

  1. Weinstein publications is proud to announce from next week Weinstein press will be on sale pick a copy up at your local newsagents – has a nice ring Fransi don’t you think so?

  2. OK, I’ll bite: “Get off your ass, Fransi. Go for it. Submit something.” 🙂 Don’t you know that being pooh-poohed is a sure sign that you are already on your way to success? Just about every successful person I’ve met or read about will tell you they were rejected, criticized negatively and told they couldn’t do what they were working toward. You’re on your way!

  3. Absolutely go for it. For a while especially after I did serious business writing, I was very interested in ed-op work. Now my problem is that I rarely like to be serious enough. Dave Barry is my new idol.

    • Okay… I’ll try to be quick about it. BTW a friend of yours commented (to you) on the super team blog post. It was just a few minutes ago. Check ut out.

  4. Think about e-zines. Everyone will tell you e-publishing is the wave of tomorrow. Printed publication are having a terrible time; have you noticed how much thinner
    they are from the way they used to look? This is a hard time to try to break into a published paper.

  5. I applaud your ambition, and you certainly can write one helluva blog. But I’m wondering —I know you’re writing a book about your mother. But what kind of stories are you thinking of writing – short fiction? creative non-fiction? news items?
    Also, if it’s fiction you’re interested in, I suggest subscribing to Poets & Writers. They have great articles and a huge database of publishers of fiction, poetry, and novels.
    Good luck — I’m sure whatever you do, you’ll have great success!

    • Thank you! I’m interested in several genres — definitely creative nonfiction and news. I am also interesting in writing Op-Ed. I will definitely subscribe to Poets & Writers. That’s a great suggestion. Thanks.

  6. Have a question for you. When I do a search of Leo Chevalier. Order of Canada site says he passed on June 16 2000 at the age of 65. Another Alzheimer’s article says 2002 at the age of 65. Yet another states June 20, 2000 at 65 years of age. All articles state he was born in 1934.
    Could you please tell me the actual date and year we lost Mr. Chevalier?
    Thank you very much. I guess we can’t always believe what we read. Sometimes it just doesn’t “add up”

    • It was 2000. I saw it on a newspaper headline as I was walking to pick up a coffee. It’s a moment I will never forget.

      • Holy cow!!! I looked and looked and looked at your name and thought to myself, “It can’t be. But it is!!” How are you? What have you been up to all these years? Still married?

      • Yes. Still married. 33 years this August 16th do you believe? An old stick in the mud. Have a 29 year old son. Life is good. In between the drama that is… Lol. Same old same old. The more I open my mouth the more trouble I get myself into!!!

      • WOW! Good for you. 33 years. You know, I remember when you got pregnant. Yeah, the more I open my mouth the more trouble I get into, too. Some things never change, do they? How the hell did you ever find my blog???? I am SO glad you did. It is great to reconnect. Do you still live in Montreal?

      • Yes. We bought a house in Kirkland in 80 just before we married. We still live in the same house.

        Actually, when I did a Leo search a few months ago, your blog comes up as well! You two will be forever connected!

        I bumped into Monica a few times before she moved back into town from the West Island and she would bring me up-to-date on your doings when we met. But I have lost track of both Monica and time…can’t believe it must be 9 or 10 years since I last saw her.
        That’s why it was such a bonus to find your blog!!!

      • I just recently lost touch with Monica. I must call her and tell her this. She will be as stunned as I am. I do come to Montreal from time to time to see my aunt and uncle and other assorted family. Have no idea when my text trip will be but I’ll let you know. It would be so good to see you, even for a coffee. In the meantime please keep in touch. I will send you an email so you have my email address.

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