Enjoying the journey | TheFencePost.com

Enjoying the journey

The Fence Post celebrates its 30th anniversary in September of 2010. In the fickle and volatile world of periodical publishing, where the lifespan of magazines can be measured in issues rather than years, 30 years is a really big deal.

Tony Bruguiere | |

I have been fortunate to have been able to contribute to the Fence Post as a freelance writer since 2004. As a photographer, I was hoping the Fence Post would showcase some of my images and my first submission was an image from the Earl Anderson Memorial Rodeo and used as a cover. Since I have more years of experience as a photographer than I like to admit, that did not surprise me much.

What did surprise me was when Tracy Darrington, the editor at the time, suggested that I write articles for the Fence Post. I pointed out to her that I had zero experience as a writer. I also reminded her that the Fence Post was a farm and ranch magazine, and the sum total of my knowledge of cowboys, cattle, and horses, came from old westerns on late night T.V. Tracy convinced me with “You can do it. It’s easy.”

Well, let me tell you, it was not “easy” – at least, not for me. I am sure what I do is “easy” for a trained writer. What a real writer could do in an hour, took me half a day when I started. My first attempts were very primitive – I took pictures at rodeos and I described the pictures. I suppose that anyone that was only slightly less stubborn than I am would have thrown in the towel very early in the process.

I had been inserting one line quotes for a while and finally decided to take the big step toward being a ‘real’ writer and write something that required an interview. I bought a tape recorder and stalked my journalistic victims in the Yards at the National Western Stock Show. I wrongly thought “How hard can this be? They talk, I tape, and it magically becomes an article.”

It didn’t take me long to realize that interviewing was not part of my skill set. If you don’t know enough to ask at least a rudimentary question, the interview is going to be very short. My first interview reached a point that my victim was either going to break out in hysterical laughter or walk away in disgust. In a flash of panic, I unknowingly blurted out a plea that would save that interview and many more.

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Through my request of “Help me out here. I obviously don’t know what you do, could you explain it to me?” I accidently discovered the key. People love to talk about their work and their hobbies, and they will be very patient with someone that admits their lack of knowledge and has a genuine desire to learn.

The reader base of the Fence Post is very broad and someone whose job is farming may not know about cattle ranching, but they may still be interested in it. There are plenty of very technical and highly specific farm and ranch publications on the market. I think that the Fence Post targets the farming and ranching communities with articles and features that appeal to all readers.

I have enjoyed my journey with the Fence Post. I have developed skills that I never knew that I had. I have been to places and attended events that would not have been possible for me were I not writing for the Fence Post. I have learned so much and I want to sincerely thank the Fence Post and all of the people who helped me through the early stages. I am still learning and continue to rely on the knowledge of many of those people.

Most of all I want to extend a ‘thank you’ to the wonderful people who read what I write. I am looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming years. I have articles in the pipeline from Texas, Montana, and Wyoming, and I am hoping for a spring road trip to Nevada. Anyone that has any ranch contacts in buckaroo country, I would really appreciate your help. You can contact me at RodeoPixels@comcast.net.

Thanks again and I hope that I can meet you down the road.

The Fence Post celebrates its 30th anniversary in September of 2010. In the fickle and volatile world of periodical publishing, where the lifespan of magazines can be measured in issues rather than years, 30 years is a really big deal.

I have been fortunate to have been able to contribute to the Fence Post as a freelance writer since 2004. As a photographer, I was hoping the Fence Post would showcase some of my images and my first submission was an image from the Earl Anderson Memorial Rodeo and used as a cover. Since I have more years of experience as a photographer than I like to admit, that did not surprise me much.

What did surprise me was when Tracy Darrington, the editor at the time, suggested that I write articles for the Fence Post. I pointed out to her that I had zero experience as a writer. I also reminded her that the Fence Post was a farm and ranch magazine, and the sum total of my knowledge of cowboys, cattle, and horses, came from old westerns on late night T.V. Tracy convinced me with “You can do it. It’s easy.”

Well, let me tell you, it was not “easy” – at least, not for me. I am sure what I do is “easy” for a trained writer. What a real writer could do in an hour, took me half a day when I started. My first attempts were very primitive – I took pictures at rodeos and I described the pictures. I suppose that anyone that was only slightly less stubborn than I am would have thrown in the towel very early in the process.

I had been inserting one line quotes for a while and finally decided to take the big step toward being a ‘real’ writer and write something that required an interview. I bought a tape recorder and stalked my journalistic victims in the Yards at the National Western Stock Show. I wrongly thought “How hard can this be? They talk, I tape, and it magically becomes an article.”

It didn’t take me long to realize that interviewing was not part of my skill set. If you don’t know enough to ask at least a rudimentary question, the interview is going to be very short. My first interview reached a point that my victim was either going to break out in hysterical laughter or walk away in disgust. In a flash of panic, I unknowingly blurted out a plea that would save that interview and many more.

Through my request of “Help me out here. I obviously don’t know what you do, could you explain it to me?” I accidently discovered the key. People love to talk about their work and their hobbies, and they will be very patient with someone that admits their lack of knowledge and has a genuine desire to learn.

The reader base of the Fence Post is very broad and someone whose job is farming may not know about cattle ranching, but they may still be interested in it. There are plenty of very technical and highly specific farm and ranch publications on the market. I think that the Fence Post targets the farming and ranching communities with articles and features that appeal to all readers.

I have enjoyed my journey with the Fence Post. I have developed skills that I never knew that I had. I have been to places and attended events that would not have been possible for me were I not writing for the Fence Post. I have learned so much and I want to sincerely thank the Fence Post and all of the people who helped me through the early stages. I am still learning and continue to rely on the knowledge of many of those people.

Most of all I want to extend a ‘thank you’ to the wonderful people who read what I write. I am looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming years. I have articles in the pipeline from Texas, Montana, and Wyoming, and I am hoping for a spring road trip to Nevada. Anyone that has any ranch contacts in buckaroo country, I would really appreciate your help. You can contact me at RodeoPixels@comcast.net.

Thanks again and I hope that I can meet you down the road.