Linda Formichelli is a freelance writer who has written for over 150 magazines and websites, including Redbook, Health, USA Weekend, Inc., and Writer’s Digest. She’s also authored and co-authored around a dozen books, and written for businesses like OnStar, Pizzeria Uno, Sprint, and Travelocity.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I had the idea to become a writer when I was five or six, but in high school I got interested in foreign languages. After I finished my master’s degree in Slavic languages and was starting my Ph.D, I realized I wanted to be a writer. So, even though I had the idea as a kid, I didn’t become a writer until 1996. When I decided to do it, I just got a book about query letters from the library and sent out messages.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced?
When I was writing in elementary school, my teachers and parents loved it so I kept doing it. Then in high school I had a story published, but when I sent stuff out to literary magazines I got rejection after rejection. That was hard, but once I got back a really long letter from an editor at Pandora’s Box magazine and he told me exactly how I could improve my story and my writing and gave me a lot of encouragement.
What advice would you give a kid who wants to be a writer?
I don’t really write short stories and fiction anymore, but I write for magazines and I’m an author. My advice is to keep going in the face of discouragement and rejection. A lot of people think, oh, I can write sentences on paper. That’s not enough, but you get better with time. When I was first writing, I’d print out every article multiple times and go over it with a red pen. My advice is to keep going in the face of rejection. I’ve been rejected over 500 times. But I’m still doing this as career and that didn’t stop me. It doesn’t mean your a bad writer or there’s no chance for you if you’re rejected. It’s just a business decision. An editor is saying, I can’t use this at this time, that’s it. It’s not about you as a person or your writing. If you’re persistent, people will hire you and they will buy your books.
Linda’s new self-help book, How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life — While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes Out With a Sharpie, will be available April 18 on Amazon.com. For more details, visit www.howtodoitallbook.com.