Killing It

I consider myself a lucky freelancer, one who doesn't have to do a whole lot of pitching to get steady work. The bills are getting paid, travel plans are being made, and I'm excited about the work that I'm doing.

So it was a really big deal a few months ago when an editor that I had never worked with (had never met, in fact) at a national magazine for which I'd never written gave me the green light on a health story that I am quite passionate about. I was pleased that, rather than rely on previous contacts and friends for work, I had made a new professional connection, one that held the promise of future collaborations.

But, as is the case in journalism these days, the magazine laid off a handful of editors, including the one who I was now working for, and my story fell into editorial limbo.

This was new professional terrain for me. With the magazine under new leadership, I suspected that my story was likely to be part of the house-cleaning, and I was right. My piece was shelved and I was bought out.

The kill fee.

I had heard so much about it, but this was my first time having a commissioned story canned. I was excited about the story, and it had involved a great deal of research and reporting, of which I was proud. And I had been pretty excited to see my byline in this particular magazine that I had been an avid reader of for years.

But I get paid, the story could see the light of day elsewhere, and I may yet work my byline into this magazine. So, really, everything's fine. I've had my first taste of something that all freelancers experience at some point and there's only one answer to it.

Keep on pitching.