Friday, September 17, 2010

New Assignment – am I a glutton for punishment?

A couple of posts ago I wrote about how I was preparing (or maybe had already prepared) a pitch to for a long article about asphalt solar collectors (ASC). This was a bit of emerging technology I came upon, somehow, that looks to have a lot of potential. I began looking at it and saw some advantages and pitfalls. In three on-line articles, two on-line research summaries, and a press release by Worcester Polytech I didn't see any mention of the things I thought of. Immediately my mind said, "If you don't see an adequate article on-line, write your own."

So I made the pitch. This morning I had a call with the editor, and he assigned the article to me. A bit smaller at first than I planned for, but with two potential follow-up articles covering the other things I wanted to say. This will be a feature article, so for the better money they pay.

The research on ASCs (which, BTW, should really be APSC for asphalt pavement solar collectors, since it's the pavement that we're interested in) seems to be in its infancy. WPI has done computer modeling, and lab-scale tests, and larger-scale tests of the technology. They've determined the potential is there for significant energy recovery from asphalt pavement. But are ASCs economical? Or do they have the potential to be economical? That question has not been answered. Much research will be required, including a full size demonstration project with the asphalt under load and energy being used.

Given what I've written the last two days, with my work and home time about to be under a busyness siege, why would I take on such an assignment? Well, the article won't be published until November 4, and the due date will be October 21 (or 28th if I need that long). It fits in well with a theme they planned on for November. I need the money. I need the writing credit. I suppose I need the goal to keep me on the straight and narrow of time management. And I see considerable spin-off type articles coming from this, coming over several months or a year.

So, all things considered, I pitched the article and accepted the assignment. I don't have a contract to sign yet, but I should receive that on Monday. Looks like my writing career isn't dead. I just hope all this magazine article stuff someday pays off with creative writing assignments.


Gary said...

When this is published I can suggest it to the guy who runs the most popular climate blog. He frequently does posts on such things. A citation or guest post on his blog will get seen by tens of thousands of people. Anthony is a meteorologist and climate disaster (but not minor warming) skeptic who also is pro-energy efficiency and a responsible conservationist. I've done some minor work for him on a research project. He's always looking for interesting topics for posts.

David A. Todd said...


Unfortunately the article is considered a work-for-hire, and the magazine will retain all rights. Still, after publishing I'll try to facilitate re-publishing in this other venue.