In my experience, only by grace and desperation does freelancing succeed. I wrote a piece for GQ a couple of weeks ago. Here's what happens behind a thousand-word article.
On July 10th, my plans to meet with Karen of Peace Players International, a group in Tel Aviv that has Arab and Jewish kids play basketball together in hopes of creating a lasting bond, was cancelled. I wasn't surprised in light of the daily rockets flying over Gaza and Israel. With a day to waste, I sent out emails to dozens of my contacts, pitching a story about how I'd witnessed Israelis rooting for the German team during the World Cup. Only an editor at GQ replied:
Wow. I mean... Wow. That's fascinating. Why on earth do you think this is happening? Can you report out a bit by tomorrow? Challenge is we'd wanna post this tomorrow so we're up pre weekend / pre final, so it'd need to be fast turnaround. Maybe 1000 words?
I had some scribblings and memories to go by, but this required more formal reporting. I set out to find some Israelis and quotes. I knew I wasn't going to find much in the neighborhood of Jaffa during Ramadan, the Arabic neighborhood where I was staying, so I hopped on the 25 and headed to central Tel Aviv in search of Jews who loved Germany.
I knew where my first stop would be...