The Best Books On Writing

Dear writer friends,

I wanted to share a handful of my favorite books on writing. All these books have had a significant impact on myself as a writer, whether it was reading The Elements of Journalism in class at Boston University or weeping and laughing aloud while reading Stephen King’s On Writing. 

Here’s my top six:

The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tim Rosensteil • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Other books I recommend for journalists are the Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists by Robert J. Haiman and The Associated Press Guide to News WritingAnd for those who need style and grammar guides, check out the Allyn Bacon Handbook by Laurence Behrens and Leonard Rosen — and the book every writer needs, The Associated Press Style Book.

What are your favorite books on writing? xx, marissa



6.10.18 Media Jobs List

It’s been a busy week. I’m writing content for two websites and working on a handful of stories, so I unfortunately didn’t spend much time looking for gigs this week. Here’s what I did come across though.

New York Post’s Page Six is on the hunt for a Social Media Manager. More here.

Wall Street Journal Magazine is hiring a whole slew of folks for their digital team — Digital Director, Digital Editor and Digital Visuals Editor. More here.

If you are just starting out in your journalism career, check out this gig. Philadelphia magazine is looking for a part-time Editorial Assistant. More here.

For the aesthetically inclined writer: Artsy is in need of  a Visual Culture Editor. More here.

Eileen Fisher is hiring a new E-Commerce Copywriter in their NYC office. More here.

Urban Outfitters is on the hunt for an Assistant Copywriter to work at their Philly headquarters. More here.

Happy job hunting! xo, marissa

5 Things You Must Do To Break Into Freelance Writing

This past weekend I taught another freelance writing workshop at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, which was attended by a handful of writers who haven’t been published. For those who are interested in breaking into freelance writing, but don’t have any published clips, I’m going to walk you through a few quick steps to help you lay the foundation for a future in writing.

1. Connect with the right people — Whether it’s in your town or across the country, it’s important to get to know people in the industry. Here’s a few ways:

• Join local clubs/groups – Attend industry and networking events to make connections in person.

• Schedule informational interviews – Make appointments with editors to learn about their publication and what kind of stories/voices they are looking for.

• Use social media – On Twitter, follow publications, editors and fellow freelancers. On LinkedIn, connect with people in the industry and follow writing groups.

2. Find a mentor – I can’t stress this enough: having a mentor is key to breaking into freelance writing. They can answer all your questions, provide support and help you navigate this new world. To read about all the benefits of mentorship, read my story on MediaBistro here.

3. Create an online presence – Since you don’t have any published stories yet, you need to create a place where editors can go and read your work. Create a blog where you can showcase your talents. For a comparison of blog platforms, check out this helpful article.

4. Brainstorm story ideas – Keep a journal of story ideas. Start with a big broad list of topics you’d like to write about and then zero in on specific story angles for each subject. Also, keep a running list of the publications you’d like to write for.

5. Pitch stories – Once your blog is up and running with a few posts, and after you’ve come up with a handful of story ideas, start pitching publications. Read my “Intro on How to Pitch Publications” post to learn more about submitting queries to editors. Also check out these online pitching workshops:

• MediaBistro – How to pitch: Start pitching and get published

• The International Freelancer by Mridu Khullar Relph – The Idea Generation Workshop: A step-by-step, proven plan for developing story ideas that sell

If you live here in Richmond, Virginia, check out my freelance writing workshop on August 18. It’s only $35 and it’s jam-packed with a ton of info on the ins and outs of freelancing. Sign up here.


6.3.18 Media Jobs List

June is officially here, which means you all are probably thinking more about vacay than work. Rather than list all journalism jobs this week, I sprinkled in a few marketing gigs.

SheKnows is looking for a Director of Influencer Marketing. If you have a posse of big-time social media “pals,” this is the job for you. More here.

This freelance gig with Arrivedo keeps popping up on my radar, but I can’t say I know anything about the company. If you are looking to do some travel writing while sitting at home in your PJs though, this may be up your alley. More here.

If you are right out of college or new in your journalism career, this Editorial Assistant job with Shape sounds pretty cool. Ideally candidates should have a previous internship that focused on beauty and/or fitness. For those who are more seasoned, Shape is looking for an Executive Editor with 7 to 8 years of digital experience. More here.

The travel-meets-food site Roads & Kingdoms is looking for a New York-based Digital Producer. If you are a food lover, you must check out this beautiful site. More here.

Pouring over gorgeous photography and compelling stories, seriously, who didn’t dream of working for Nat Geo as a kid? National Geographic is on the hunt for a Senior Content Director and an Instagram Account Director. More here.

As a hypochondriac, I find myself on WebMD researching my latest ailment more frequently than I’d like to admit, which is why I could never apply for their Associate Editor job. If you have the strength to write about illnesses and disorders without worrying that you are going to keel over, then this job is for you. More here.

If your interests are a.) health, b.) the big blue planet we call Earth, or c.) all of the above, then mosey on over to MindBodyGreen, and read all about their Social Media Manager gig. More here.

After laying off a third of their newsroom in March, The Denver Post is hiring a Breaking News Reporter and a Senior Editor. [scratches head …]

Happy job hunting! xo, marissa

Check out last week’s job listings here.

5.27.18 Media Jobs List

Keep those #SundayScaries at bay. Here it is — this week’s roundup of cool media jobs!

One of my fave food websites, Food52, is hiring a part-time copy writer along with a food writer/recipe developer. More here.

Northstar Travel Media is in need of a new senior hotels editor to write stories for their Travel Weekly publication. More here.

Los Angeles magazine is on the hunt for a social media manager. More here.

The Evening Standard is hiring a NYC-based reporter to cover VIPs (think the royals and celebs). More here.

Time Out LA is looking for a new City Life Editor. More here.

Vox Media’s website Curbed, which covers everything on city living, is hiring a D.C. editor. More here.

Brit + Co. is looking for a Freelance Snapchat Editor, along with a Beauty Editor. More here.

Tasting Table needs a part-time editorial intern to work in their Manhattan office. More here.

Dow Jones is hiring several business and financial writers and editors. More here.

Outside Magazine is looking for a new assistant editor to work in their Sante Fe office. More here.

LinkedIn is on the hunt for a new copy writer. (I assume you should use LinkedIn to apply.) More here.

Resources for Women in Journalism

Recently I’ve had several women reach out to me about pursuing a freelance writing career. So, I figured it might be helpful to create a quick list of resources for women who are looking to pursue a career in journalism and are looking for a little guidance along the way. Here you go!

Poynter is offering free 30-minute career coaching phone calls for women in journalism. More here.

The International Women’s Media Foundation has a list of opportunities on their website for grants and fellowships around the world. More here.

On October 12 through 14, 2018, the Journalism and Women Symposium is hosting its annual CAMP (Conference and Mentoring Project) in Oregon. Check out the lineup of events.

For $149, you can become a member of the Alliance for Women in the Media, which includes all sorts of awesomeness like networking events, online discussion forums, along with access to their exclusive job board and research portal. Sign up here.

Also, a fellow colleague told me about this cool e-newsletter the other day. Every month journalist Betsy O’Donovan e-mails out a long lists of fellowships, grants and awards that journalists can apply to in order to help elevate their career. Sign up here.

Also, if you feel like you need guidance as you establish yourself as a writer, consider a mentorship. Last year I wrote a story for MediaBistro on the importance of mentorship in the communications industry with tips on finding a mentor and maintaining the relationship. Check it out.  


5.20.18 Media Jobs List

Well folks, there are some pretty cool gigs on the job market right now. Check them out.

Here in RVA, The Community Idea Stations WVCE is in need of a part-time music host to fill in as needed. More here.

Garden & Gun is accepting internship applications for full-time interns in their editorial, creative services, marketing , photography and retail departments. The internship is six months long and only open to grads. More here.

Girls’ Life Magazine, which I used to read when I was a young lass, is looking for interns to work in their Baltimore, Maryland office. More here.

Twitter needs a senior copywriter to work in their San Francisco office. More here.

My former employer XOGroup is looking for a photo director for their brands The Knot, The Nest, The Bump, GigMasters and How He Asked. More here.

Regional food magazine The Local Palate is on the hunt for a new digital editor with at least three years experience. More here.

Marijuana Business Daily in Denver needs a new graphic designer. (I assume marijuana experience is preferred.) More here.

Etsy is in need of a new internal communications specialist with two to four years work experience. More here.

E-tailer Need Supply Co. is on the hunt for a L.A.-based editorial lead to head up content across their platforms. More here.

Salon is looking for a general news writer who can cover daily breaking news. More here.

Texas Monthly needs a copy writer to create content for their special advertising sections and custom mags. More here.

Check out last week’s job listings here.