Filing stories from the Picadilly Starbucks, London, UK

It has been quite some time since I have posted here and I have fallen to the website-standard mistake of having grand plans of updating regularly and losing track.

One of the bits of freelancing that gets in the way of regular writing is traveling on assignment and for business meetings. To make trips worth while, I have to “stack” work, meaning I can not just go on a trip for one assignment, I must gain multiple assignments and work meetings from each trip. I was in England for around 10 days in May where I had several editorial meetings in and around London tied into a regatta at the end of the week.

I met with Matthew Sheahan, of Yachting World, at a Starbucks, Dan Houston and the editorial staff of Classic Boat in Croydon, then with Gael Pawson of Yachts and Yachting. It is always important to meet with editors in person as generally more assignments come out of interpersonal brainstorming. In this case, casual mention of events I was sailing in resulted in several features and report contracts. Also putting a face to the name results in more phone calls returned from editors. They are all very good at what they do and learning from them face-to-face is invaluable for understanding their readership and mission.

Functionally, working overseas was relatively easy for me as I had my MacBook Pro. With a 5 pound Starbucks internet card, I had “offices” all around England, where I would stop in for tea, interview people on Skype, write, edit, and file stories, and meet with editors. The biggest lesson learned was to put more effort into routing all my meetings. Just a few hours of planes, trains and automobile planning would have saved me several hundred dollars in expenses.

The Wilson Trophy, or British Open Team Racing Championship, was at the end of the week in West Kirby, near Liverpool and Wales. I was able to get a story out of the event and race as well. What could better?

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