How did you become a writer?
I minored in creative writing in College, and after a 20 year career in various aspects of the real estate business, I just threw the hammer, quit my job and started writing full time. Actually it wasn't a pure cut and run, as I'd begun freelancing on a part time basis while still working my other full time job. It didn't allow much free time but facilitated me learning more about the game, getting into good work habits, and developing a client base. I'd recommend this as a way to get in the game.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
I'm a car guy, and grew up on Motor Trend, Road & Track, Car and Driver, and the like, back when those monthly buff books had really great writing. Many of their great staffers, such as Eric Dahlquist Sr., Peter Egan, John Christy, Michael Lamm, David E. Davis Jr., and many others who wrote about cars and the car scene.
When and where do you write?
Its my full time career now, and I have a fully equipped office at home, so I write nearly every day from my own comfy office, with no more daily freeway commute. And don't let starving, failing, sit around and drink coffee all day writers tell you there's no work out there, because there is, but you have to work hard to develop paying clients and it takes some time.
What are you working on now?
Always a plethora of magazine feature articles, and at least one book in the oven at all times.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Seldom. If I do, I just start writing the middle of the story, or whatever aspect of the piece comes to mind, then work outwards to the lead and wrap if I have to. Some times it works to write your conclusion and declarative statements first, and then work backwards to get the story moving and heading in the direction of your wrap up.
What’s your advice to new writers?
We all do a little work for free or little to no money at the beginning, just for the experience and the bylines, but don't waste away too much time or your whole career doing it for nothing so others can make money off your talents. I have always viewed this as a pie chart cut three ways; one slice is your ability to write (in other words, can you write?), another slice is your knowledge and passion for subject (or do you know what you're talking about?) and finally your ability to conduct yourself as a business (and as an adults). In other words, write to size and meet deadlines, handle your invoicing, pitches, editing and follow up. You must do all three at a high level.
Matt Stone, freelance journalist, author, broadcaster, former Editor, Motor Trend Classic magazine, has been a professional automotive journalist/photographer since 1990.
Editorially, Stone was in charge of advance and strategic planning for the magazine, including story selection and editor assignments. He participated in all manner of Motor Trendactivities, including road tests, special interest stories, industry news, and MT's world-recognized Car, Truck, and Sport/Utility of the Year programs. His specialties are history, design, and interview features. Stone contributed to MotorTrend.com, and his voice was often heard on the syndicated Motor Trend Radio Network.
Stone has a Bachelor's degree from Cal Poly Pomona, with a major in Business, and minors in Journalism and Marketing. He has authored and photographed more than a dozen automotive book titles with more in process, and for seven years was a member of SPEED/Fox Sports' Barrett-Jackson auctions television broadcast team.
Matt enjoys anything with four wheels, though demonstrates a particular passion for sports, performance, and racing cars. He was Chief Class Judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a judge at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, a member of the Le May America’s Car Museum Steering Committee, and officiates at other shows and events. He serves his profession as a past Officer and Board of Director member, Keynote Address Committee Chairman, and past-President of the Motor Press Guild (MPG) trade association.
A California native, Matt currently resides in Glendale, and still hopes to own a Ferrari Daytona, a Ford GT, and a Shelby Cobra 289. Well, some day, anyway…