Freelance tip #23

Think big. Don’t pitch to your local weekly first — pitch to the New Yorker, then work your way down to a podunk weekly.

The New Yorker turns you down. Then you pitch to New York Magazine. They turn you down. Then you pitch to the Village Voice, etc.

They all turn you down, and you sell your awesome story for $50 to a regional weekly that misspells your name and edits errors into your copy.

But you tried, and meanwhile maybe someone at one of those big magazines remembers your name and gives a later pitch a deeper look.

Time to organize

Every time I need to find a phone number I hastily jotted at the end of an interview, I have to dig through a stack of unlabeled notebooks.

I’m thinking about archiving my notes — or at least going through them and cataloging important information that could be useful later, like numbers and e-mails of local politicians.

I know many reporters trash their notes when they’re done with them — partly in the rare case they’re subpoenaed, and partly to reduce clutter.

What do you do? Do you hold onto notebooks and audio files of interviews, or do you dump them?