I’ve pitched to major publications for years, mostly here in Canada. I’ve been in The National Post and most newspapers at one time or another. Big publications are a bit of a mirage. Very few new writers are encouraged by The Atlantic, New Yorker or The New York Times. Where you really learn is with small publications, sometimes even community newspapers. I contributed to a few start-ups early in my career. It was fun and useful. Where I’ve learned the most, though, is in literary magazines like Rosebud (Wisconsin). I’ve been with them for 17 years (23 published pieces), and this led to being in an anthology of short stories (New York Writer’s Group). I learned a tremendous amount with Rod Clark (publisher of Rosebud). It led me to my first novel (based on a short story published by Rod back in 2002). I’d also say writing here on Medium has helped as well. I mentioned to another writer here that his one-hour-per-article seemed like a small amount of time (I spend about 10–12 hours on a post). I guess we all learn different ways, but I encourage anyone wanting to eventually be in The New York Times, to put in the hours—not creating a ton of articles—but creating something that really has substance, believability and originality. Otherwise we’re just repeating information—which is a shame, especially for readers.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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