I have a question for you, my handful of regular readers.
As many of you know, I write regularly as an automotive journalist for MotoringFile.com, BimmerFile.com, and ScooterFile.com. I also spent a year as BlueCat Motors’ official documentarian, writing a weekly story about what was going on at the shop and some of my own thoughts about riding old motorcycles. Then there’s my own stories of wrenching and riding here on my blog. I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun writing in all of these recreational and semi-professional venues and I’d like to take it to the next level.
My plan is to submit my work to various motorcycle publications to see if any would have me as a freelance writer. This is not a career change, simply an expansion of something I’m already doing. I don’t see myself quitting my day job any time soon. What I would like to do, however, is find more interesting ways to use some of my vacation time.
My question for you, faithful reader, is what would you recommend I send as a submission? There are several venues to choose from:
Obviously, I will probably submit work from all of these areas, but where I’d appreciate some help is in narrowing the field. What stories have really stood out for you? If put on the spot and asked to recount one of the stories I’ve told in these venues, what comes to mind? What stuck in your head? Have there been any stories you’ve come back to and re-read? Help me choose some winners. I think I’m definitely too close to these to have a good sense of which stories are the most impacting.
Secondly, are there any publications you’d recommend? I have my thoughts, but what are you folks reading?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and thanks in advance.
Geez, I like all of your writing. The stories that resonated most with me, and which appeared to be “written from the heart” are those a) detailing your scooter and motorbike rides in Minnesota and b) the trials and tribulations of restoring/rebuilding your bikes. IMHO your MINI-related writing is engaging, but your soul comes out when telling stories about two-wheeled vehicles.
Venues? I think your style fits well with the editorial staff attitudes at “Motorcyclist”, “Car and Driver” and “Automobile”; perhaps less so at other more “homogenized” print publications. I haven’t subscribed to “Motorcycle Consumer News” for the last 3 years, but certainly you should check them out. “Winding Road” is another possibility.
Best of luck!
This was precisely what I had hoped you would someday do!
Your writing is insightful, resourceful, and an absolute pleasure to read. It deserves a wider audience.
Although your scooter writing resonated most with me, since I ride a scooter, keep in mind in wanting to reach a wider audience that there are far more motorcyclists than scooterists, though the distinction between the two is far from distinct. For example, I subscribe to a number of motorcycle magazines, and dream of the day when I can add a motorcycle to my possessions, though I’ll never give up the scooter. You are an example of those with a passion for both.
In any event, I look forward to reading whatever you write, wherever your writing appears.
Thanks guys! I really appreciate the feedback. Any specific stories in the archives that stand out for you?
You should try and submit something to Motorcycle Classics. I read it every month, it is a pretty good one. Published right here in Topeka KS!
Good idea, Darin. I read that one from time to time too.
I’ve been reading your blog since this spring and I love your work. I found you when I was Google searching my vintage bike (a ’74 Honda CB450, of course), and I’ve been following your stuff since.
I like your motorcycle pieces, particularly the Wrench Log articles. Your “All the Kings Men” post should be required reading for anyone who wants to buy a vintage bike. You perfectly communicated what it’s like to be on the wrong side of an old motorcycle that isn’t cooperating. I have certainly been there myself, and I wish I didn’t know exactly how well you nailed that one.
In the later Wrench Logs you’re obviously gaining confidence as a mechanic and as a motorcyclist. That growth carries through the series of posts. When this type of writing is done well, it’s much more than a technical exposition; you’re doing a great job showing us that these old bikes are working on you just as much as you’re working on them.
Keep up the good work, Nathaniel. Best of luck to you in the future.
Wow. Thanks Ron. I really appreciate the feedback. Glad you’re enjoying it. I got very much on the wrong side of my CB450 on the highway last night. That story is upcoming. Stay tuned.
You asked what articles stand out.
I enjoy most your articles just describing the thrills and exhilaration of riding. Your article on selling your Vespa before leaving for Chicago was touching. I appreciated the fact you were doing this for your wife, not for yourself.
But all that misses the point.
You’re a great writer. You could write about anything and it would be interesting and worth reading. You happen to write about motorcycles and scooters. How fortunate for those of us who enjoy riding as much as you, but aren’t writers. You put to print what the rest of us feel about two-wheelers, but you go beyond that.
You open our eyes to the endless possibilities of new experiences and adventures.