Brandi J. Clark

Writer and Educator

Teachers! Get Published! Here’s How!

The Lit Maven is beyond excited!

kids happy

Lit Maven…you are excited quite often.

Yes! While that is true…I think I am excited…beyond!

Tell us what happened…all of it!

Ok! So I decided at the end of June 2013 that I was going to write an article for a major magazine. I was thinking GO BIG or go home.  Here is the true story of…

My Journey to Publication

1.       Find some magazines to write for.

I wanted to write for an Educational Journal/Magazine. My top two choices were Educational Leadership and the Reading Teacher.  I subscribe to both and I am familiar with their individual styles and content. This is important to be immersed in the magazines you write for; otherwise your writing might not match their needs.

2.       Find out what topics your selected magazines are looking for.

Some magazines center their issues on themes; this is akin to an editorial calendar. Personally I love themes; they help with selecting or inspiring writing ideas. The Reading Teacher does not have themes but they have many options for writing formats.  While perusing Educational Leadership, I found two themes that called to me so early in the process I decided on this magazine to submit to.

3.         Choose a topic.  While the advice to write what you know can be debated, in this case it made sense to write what I know.  By choosing something I know I would have the action research from the classroom and the authority to express myself.  Something that I know well is persuasive writing. The Educational Leadership’s theme Writing: A Core Skill referenced argumentative writing. I presented on persuasive writing at the International Reading Association Conference in San Antonio, 2013. I used Mo Willems, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late to inspire students and educators to write their own pigeon books. My final topic for the article was to weave my experience of persuasive writing with students and with teachers.  Tie the persuasive writing to argumentative writing as an entry point and to suggest extension ideas.

4.         Read the Writing Guidelines. I read through the guidelines to find the length that was expected, in this case 1,500-2,500 words. I also made note of the type of information they were looking for and I felt my practical examples would fit their needs.

5.          Record the Deadline for submitting. The deadline for this theme was November 2013.  This gave me plenty of time. In total, it took three weeks in July to write the article and I submitted it as soon as it was complete.

6.          Write.

a)      I wrote from the top of my head first. I started with persuasive writing, why it’s important and timely. I moved on to my experiences and then to extension ideas.

b)      Next I looked for articles/books to support my ideas.  In order to fill out my presentation proposal for the IRA conference, I needed to find articles to support my application. I reread those articles and looked for more online through the public library database.  If you did not already know, with a library card membership, you have access to thousands of online articles. This is resource is invaluable to any writer.

c)       Then I wove in my supporting information. I changed the lead to include a personal anecdote.  I read my article over for clarity, voice and rhythm.  I checked it over for spelling and duplicate or missing words.  I often set up a separate document to save ideas that I cut from the main article. Sometimes I put them back in or use them for a separate future piece.

d)      My husband is my first/last reader.  He is not an educator, which is a bonus as he can tell me if my writing makes sense to someone without a professional educator background.  He also catches editing errors that I miss.

e)      Finally I make the last changes referring to the magazine writing submisson guidelines.

7.       Wait.  I had three months to wait.  A few days into November, just past the submittal deadline, I received word that I was a contender!  I read this at a traffic light. I phoned the hubby. It was exciting!

8.       Trust the publishing process.  I received word in December that there was room for my article as extra online material for the April 2014 issue. I was asked to add more information to one section of my article and send some images. I made the article additions, but needed time for the images. They graciously gave me the first two weeks of January to gather artwork for the article. 

9.       Know that the best things happen to those who wait.  In February, I was told that there was now room for my article in the print edition! I did a silent happy dance  sitting at a table of the school I was visiting.  This was an amazing moment!

10.   Believe me…UPS is the writer’s Santa Claus!  During the third week in March, the UPS man delivered five copies of the April 2014 issue. I carefully opened this precious package. There I was, my name,  in the table of contents!  I read the issue to see who was there with me…Carol Ann Tomlinson, Larry Ferrlazzo, Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher, Robert Marzano…my heroes…it went on and on.

writing a core skill

11.   Wait some more. I wanted to share the good news with my friends on Facebook and  Tribewriters but had to wait patiently for the issue to be posted online. April could not come fast enough.

12.   Start again. So here I am. As Seth Godin would say, I need to “ship” again. I am working on some new ideas thrilled that this experience has bolstered my hope that indeed I am a writer!

Wow Lit Maven…great story!

Thanks, it was the new best thing to happen to me.

Until Next Time,

Lit Maven Out!

About Brandi Clark

2 Replies

  1. This is a tοpic which іs close to my heart… Best wisheѕ!
    Where are ƴour contact details though?

    1. I have just included my contact form.