“You’ll never know if your writing is good or not until you try it.”

Roy StevensonQ: What’s your current occupation?

A: Travel writer

Q: What’s your former occupation?

A: Instructor in exercise science at Lake Washington Technical College, Seattle, for 19 years. I trained personal trainers to work in health clubs.

Q: Best piece of advice for new Barefoot Writers?

A: I would say that getting out there and pitching stories to magazines would be the foremost reason for my prolific success. Most newbies, I suspect, are afraid to even try pitching their stories because (1) they’re afraid of rejection, (2) they’re afraid that if they get a story idea accepted by a magazine editor, they’d have to actually write an article, (3) they’re afraid of success. These comments sound harsh, but I have encountered them time after time.

Let me deal with these issues, if I may.

  1. Every freelance writer gets rejections daily. It’s no big deal, and in fact it’s part of the process of being a freelance writer.
  2. Having to write an article brings an aspiring writer face to face with the reality that their writing ability may or may not be up to scratch. They think, “What if an editor rejects my story after I submit it?” Well, you’ll never know if your writing is good or not until you try it.And I have found that my writing has improved tremendously in quality and “readability” in the four years I’ve been in the game. I cringe when I look back at some of my first articles, and could rewrite large tracts of them. However, at the time they were good enough to be published, so I guess that they can’t have been too bad. Like any other occupation, you’ll find yourself growing into writing as you become more experienced.
  3. When you start having your story ideas accepted in large numbers, you have to be productive to make a living at it. But to me, it beats lecturing to a class of 40 students, and grading papers, any day. My commute is 10 paces from my bedroom to my office. No traffic. No political hassles at work. Just me, my pen, and my ideas.