Saturday, June 5, 2010


One of the first strategies I learned when I became a freelance writer is to leverage everything I do. One personal experience became an essay that I sold to Cottage Life magazine and then to three or four other cottaging magazines. The research I did for a newspaper article about harvesting landfill gas and burning it to create electricity led to an assignment to write about heating commercial greenhouses for Canadian Geographic and then for Greenhouse Canada, which led to yet other gigs writing about two different gas pipeline projects for the Journal of Commerce….

I call this piggybacking: using the research from one assignment to write and sell other articles, or simply re-selling the same story to more than one publication over time.

When I decided to look into how I might go about finding work overseas, I figured I might as well get paid for it, so I leveraged my efforts: I pitched the idea to the editors at Boulevard magazine. (I left out the self-serving angle.)

They liked the proposal, so I wrote an article about people of a certain age working abroad (although, alas, I haven't yet found my own job Out There).

Two of the people I interviewed for that feature, which will appear in the July issue of Boulevard, are Leah Norgrove and Ambrose Marsh, who went to Africa to help with palliative care education in Tanzania.

They had an extraordinary experience and they’re continuing their support of education for health-care providers in Tanzania with a fundraiser in Victoria in a couple of weeks. I’m putting their poster up here to give the event a ride just a little further along the information highway:

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