This is actually a post I put up on my blog today. It’s a nice little story with a beginning, a middle, and an ending – something that if you know me, I preach about all the time.
I also included it here to show you how, as a writer, you should always be thinking about the stories you can write (and hopefully sell.)
I recently held a chicken workshop in a town where chickens are being allowed for the first time. It’s a new audience that is hungry for information. After teaching a workshop on chickens, I contacted the editor of the local newspaper outlining my credentials (with that workshop being front and center.) I pitched an article based on my workshop that would give others a general background on getting chicks.
Lesson number 1 – create stories from your area of expertise.
The editor liked the idea and assigned me the story. I wrote it that night and handed it in the next day.
Lesson number 2 – be prompt and editors will be happy to work with you.
Although I included photos, she wanted some “action” shots, so a photographer was sent my way to get pictures of our chickens. In our discussions about chickens, I told the photographer about our rescued chick; Charlie who lives in our house. He grabbed a few photos of her.
Lesson number 3 – if someone is interested, chances are other will be too and there’s probably an audience out there for your story.
When the photographer left, I pitched the story of Charlie to the Editor who thought it was another good story and I was assigned that article. What’s interesting is that the first article was a how-to piece, the second was strictly a story – it’s the subject matter that was picked up, not the style.
Lesson 4 – always, always, be open to opportunities (and while you’re at it, go ahead and create your own opportunities.)
If you want to be a writer, it means that you have to constantly find a market for your work. (yeah I know, at times it can be tiring.) This means keeping your eyes and ears open. When someone’s eyebrows shoot up upon hearing about something you’ve done – chances are you have a story there. If someone asks questions, they want more information – they are probably not alone, you’ve probably got a full-length piece there.
Sometimes the greatest skill you can have as a writer is to know when it is you have a really good story that is waiting to be heard.
A few weeks back I gave a Chickens 101 workshop in Concord for people who are planning to establish chicken flocks in their backyards.
It was an introductory class on how to get chicks and then, once you have them, how to take care of the birds until they reach egg laying age.
The second workshop (cleverly named Chickens 102) scheduled for April 30th will cover some of the problems you need to be aware of with chickens and basic chicken first aid. (It’s also going to cover basic coning but we won’t get into that right now.)
Because chickens are new to Concord – it’s a probationary program where they are letting people have 5 hens on their property – there are going to be a lot of people who will need chicken support, at least initially. For this reason, not only am I holding the workshops, but I’ve also written an article for the Concord Monitor which covers some of the chicken basics.
The Monitor sent down a photographer (Brad) to get “action shots” for the story and he and I had a lovely chat about chickens in general. Brad was intrigued with the diversity in our flock and asked all kinds of chicken questions. (See, even during a photo shoot, our birds are fowl ambassadors, sharing the chicken love.)
I told Brad about Charlie and so he also grabbed a few photos of her (she happened to be posing perfectly on a couch.)
Brad took some pictures of Charlie our house chicken, – I wrote to the Editor, feeling that I needed to tell her why there was a photo of a chicken on a couch in the set. I gave her a quick version of Charlie’s history and explained that she was our adopted, rescued chicken who now lives indoors with a human flock and a dog.
“What a crazy thing!”
But knowing a good story when she hears one, the editor asked me to write a short piece about Charlie that will run alongside the Introduction to Chickens article on April 22.
So much like our Good-Egg literary chickens, our video-character chicken, and our painting for a playground hen, we now have a new little celebrity-chick in our midst.
Our little chick, Charlie is showing others that despite hardship, despite the fact that life may not have dealt you the best hand, with the help of others, and by being a member of a flock that cares and looks out for you, you can overcome anything and succeed.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens).
Chicken stories? I’ve got a million of them.