From the Dusty Mental Archives: My First Sale

I moved to British Columbia before the millennium to be close to a girl. This girl I would eventually move in with, travel around the world with, and marry. But first I had to get as far the hell away from her as possible.

One of the things I like to do is go on adventures, because I learned a long time ago they very rarely ever come to you. A couple of years before, I biked from Oshawa to Halifax. Now I wanted to bike across the whole damn country. But not just for kicks. I planned on interviewing people along the way for a book I could write in the future. I interviewed people in every province about what they thought Canada would be like in 50 years’ time. I believe I still have the audio tapes tucked away at my uncle Don’s house.

During the trip, I ended up writing articles, hoping a newspaper or magazine would be interested in them. I wrote my first one going through the prairies—it might have even been during an all-nighter I pulled at a coffee shop—but it wasn’t until I reached New Brunswick that I heard anything about it.

Gillian was acting as my secretary, since I was mostly out of touch. I wrote my articles on a handheld PSION computer and emailed them via 56K modem when I could find a place with a phone line I could jack into. Looking back, it’s funny how high tech that felt to me at the time.

I remember I was staying at a campground in New Brunswick, and when I called Gillian from a pay phone, she could barely contain her excitement. The Globe and Mail wanted to publish my article.

I couldn’t believe it. As far as newspapers went in Canada, it just didn’t get bigger than the Globe and Mail.  Hell, I heard Earnest Hemmingway got his start there. Not that I was comparing myself to him, I just liked the company I was keeping.  I allowed myself a touch of pride. For a first publication, I did all right.

So that was the first paid article I ever wrote—$200, plus $50 for my photograph. In total, the Globe accepted four articles and two pictures, for a grand total of $900. It didn’t even come close to paying for the trip, but then I hadn’t expected to make a dime.

1 comment on “From the Dusty Mental Archives: My First SaleAdd yours →

  1. I remember my first sale. It was an article for Star Wars Galaxies on making money without a blaster. I think I got 30 bucks for it. Totally chuffed.

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