Writing muscles

As of Sunday, I will officially be a free lance writer. A story I wrote about a ground breaking event Mother’s Day weekend for a Habitat for Humanity home is slated to run Sunday, provided no news breaks at the last minute.

The story was around 550 words. I was worried it would be too short, so the first comment I asked editor Jamie Quagliata when I visited the office yesterday, was how many inches it was.

Her answer: 19.

For those of you who don’t think in newspaper inches, that’s a long story, especially for a freelancer. Typical stories run between 10 and 12. Maybe 15 on occasion.

What got me was it didn’t feel like I’d written a long story. I have many a painful memory of sitting in front of my computer screen when I used to work at the Journal and struggling to even start a 12 inch story, let alone finish one within an hour.

This story took me twenty minutes to write. If you count the time it took to transcribe the interviews, then 40 minutes. That’s a lot faster than before. I hope this means I’m improving as a writer.

2 thoughts on “Writing muscles

  1. Hi Sarah–I’m so glad you visited my blog and left your website, so I could check out yours. And then when I get here, you are writing about a subject near and dear to my heart–newspaper writing. 🙂 I remember the first time that my editor told me she needed a 12 to 15 inch story, and I was like, “WHAT??? HOW MANY WORDS IS THAT?” So, I soon devised this little formula, which I have no idea if it is correct or not, but it seems close. 1 inch in a newspaper is about 35 words (depending on quotes, etc.) Anyway, I love writing for newspapers, and congrats on your story. But it is totally different than any other writing, in my opinion. 🙂


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