Wed, Jan 30 2008 12:00 am |
There are a lot of people out there who envy our jobs here at Ride. And why wouldn’t they? We get to travel the world hanging out with bike riders, doing something we are truly passionate about… Well, some of those people who envy us have set a goal of turning that envy into a job one day. We recently got two emails from high school students who want to write for Ride, so we helped them out by giving our advice to people aspiring to write for our magazine.
Aspiring BMX Writer…
“Im interested in maybe one day writing for your magazing or for one bmx magazine. Are there any pointers you would be able to give me or to help me out with something? I was thinking maybe doing interviews? I just need to know where to start, i graduate from high school in june.”
- Charly Porter, firstname.lastname@example.org
I Second That…
“Hello, my name is Jake Wasko, I’m sixteen years old and a sophomore in high school. I’ve been riding for roughly three years now and am having a great time with it. I also enjoy reading your magazine very much. I happen to be a writer, I write for my school newspaper and will be taking AP English next year. I am writing to inquire what the guidelines are to get in to your line of work. I am curious as to what I should be doing now, in reference to course selection and college major, in order to up my chances of writing for ridebmx. I am mostly looking for a way to get a headstart early on. Any information or help would be highly appreciated.”
- Jake Wasko, email@example.com
First, I’ll commend both of you for taking action so early on. You are already ahead of most by knowing what you want to do and trying to figure out the steps to achieve your goals.
Of the staff writers/photographers here at Ride, only half of us graduated college. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go to college—I would definitely encourage you to—but in many instances, especially in creative fields, a college degree isn’t as important as the work you can produce. For a lot of people though, college will give you the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to produce that good work we look for. And as cliché as it sounds, practice always makes you better. If you want to write, any kind of writing class will always make you better because you’ll be practicing. In addition to traditional schooling, classes, and practice, I think reading and studying other types of writing can be very helpful. For instance, if I read a book and I am particularly drawn in, I’ll take a step back and try to figure out why I’m so drawn to the book. Maybe it’s a technique I can use to make my writing more effective…
What a lot of people may not realize about Ride is that we are always open to contributions. That is, we will accept any work from any person as long as it is good and has a place in the magazine. We won’t run a “good” article about razor scooters, and we won’t run a “good article” that is just like an article another magazine already ran. We have other “criteria” that isn’t written in stone, but I think if you are a loyal reader of our magazine, you get the idea… Coming up with new story or article ideas for a BMX magazine after more than fifteen years in print can prove to be very difficult. The difficult nature of the business deters a lot of people from contributing to our magazine. Another important thing to remember is that we don’t run a story without amazing photos. Ride has always put pride in the quality photos in the magazine and we would never compromise that reputation, no matter how good a piece of writing may be. With that said, if you don’t shoot photos yourself and don’t intend to learn how to, maybe you could team up with a photographer to come up with a concept for a story and photos to accompany your article. Then, on top of all of that, there is neveer any guarantee that a piece will make it to print—the magazine just isn’t big enough to hold everything. With no guarantee that an article will get used, it is hard to find people who are talented enough to do the work, and motivated enough to do it without that guarantee.
A couple of last points, and they are very general to anyone looking for advice in just about any field… When you want something, take the steps necessary to get there. Charly and Jake are both very smart in asking the experts in their field of interest for advice. Just like I’m giving them advice, there are people in every field imaginable willing to give you free advice, so take advantage of that. Also, be as dialed as possible in whatever you do. You will always fair better if you strive to be as professional as possible. That means if you are asking for advice about being a writer, try to send a letter that sounds and looks like you know how to write, spell, punctuate, etc. Making a good first impression goes a really long way. Good luck, and don’t just follow your dreams…make them into your reality!
- Fat, Online Editor