E. Annie Proulx, the author of the short story that became the film Brokeback Mountain, is an idol of mine, because she characterizes the toughness that a freelancer has to have in order to be successful. Freelancing takes a thick skin. Rejection is the rule, not the exception, so her perseverance is humbling to me.
In 1975, with few teaching jobs available, she abandoned work on her Ph.D. and began a perilous career in freelance journalism. […] Supporting herself and her sons on her meager income as a journalist, Proulx began to write stories for fun, creating one or two a year. Most of these early stories were written for a men’s magazine about hunting and fishing, where her first editor told her that she had to publish under a masculine name, “something like Joe or Zack, retrievers’ names,” she complained. They compromised on using her initials, E. A. Proulx, the E standing for her first name, Edna.