So, as a Baby Boomer and a not so tech edgy Realtor and a freelance writer, I'm always looking for knowledge from the smart kids. Millennial types in Google ranking mode where blogging is king, and taking the time to actually write about your field of expertise gets you in that magic Google zone. That's when you gain credibility as, say, a St Pete Real Estate Expert. You gotta write and produce new content on the regular if you ever want an audience. So my go-to guy this week, Bobby P. from RE/MAX Metro Tech, was totally excited about the fact I was published in the Northeast Journal after I wrote about an invasion of beautiful Murals into our Northeast corridor. 'Write about writing that,' he said. 'What?' Tell them how that piece ended up on the January/February edition of the Northeast Journal? 'Nobody knows how you did that, it's interesting. You can do another boring market update along with 50 other Realtors next week.' Hmmmm. So OK, this is how it went down: I have a degree in Journalism from Colorado State University. Not exactly Columbia. Point is I've written my whole life. First ever Sports Editor of the Vail Daily. CSU Collegian Political writer. Magazines, features, restaurant reviews, professional sports (Lightning, Bucs, Rays) for the Bradenton Herald and Associated Press. You give me a by-line, I'll do my best. The NE Journal ran a small ad. Something like, 'If you think you can write and want to write for us, here's our number. We'll let you know' Eventually Janan, the editor took a chance and talked to me about all the new Murals in the Northeast Corridor. Gave me a couple of names and numbers in the St Pete art world, including established artists. Artists? FFrench-speaking goaltenders and Dominican third basemen aren't real artsy. Much less an offensive guard with a sore knee. So I start by driving around and holy crap, look at all this new stuff on 4th St and MLK. It's, like, everywhere. I take photos, leave messages for business owners with new murals, director of the St Pete Arts Alliance, and, yes artists. Start taking notes about who painted what, when, and descriptions of the amazing creativity of the pieces. Oh, and I have four closings in the next two weeks with a bunch of disjointed buyers, sellers and cranky agents. I'm in Odessa selling a horse farm thinking about 67-year old artist Tom Stovall and his genius work on the Crescent Lake Water Tower, the Tarpon on Bob Lee's wall and monstrous water treatment plants he painted by hand. He was a Broadway Ballet Dancer, Actor, Screen Actors Guild 50+ year guy and now all this magic in St Pete. I'm on a private dirt road using Waze surrounded by paddocks and the curious horses wonder who this silly city dude on his cell phone is. Also wouldn't be opposed to some carrots and apples, they snort. I've got Tums and Advil. Now I'm overwhelmed, but my deadline is still two weeks out. Return calls coming in, quotes from Art Directors, artists, business owners. Holy crap. TMI. I've only got 800 words and I have enough info to fill a horribly disorganized novel. Forget about downtown and the 500 murals. This is just the corridor, thank goodness. Sleep is fleeting. Waking up every half hour to write a few descriptive, brilliant notes for the morning. Again and again. Look at my ideas as caffeine awakens. Who wrote this jibberish? Surely not me....... I need Odessa to close........ Now I've got my notes, my lead is written, and it's time to sit in a dark room, not answer my phone and write a draft. Re-read, re-write, repeat. Coming together...... Odessa appraisal came in $30K low. Falling apart. Finally, after five re-writes and fact-checking (and closings) I submit. 'Gary, good job. Now I must tell you I've got to make some changes to meet the Journal's writing guidelines. She sends them back, knowing some writers are ticking time bombs and so sensitive to re-writes and criticism their editorial space may just sit empty. Actually, she made it better, cleaner, helped with information and I'm cool with it. Everything closed. It's published, and she wants another story. I'm all in. So, that's how it all went down............ Easy as one two three.
Why I started writing for the Northeast Journal
Posted on January 21, 2019 at 4:20 pm Gary Smith