Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Did You Become a Writer?

Hi all,

For almost a year, I've been writing this blog, sharing information about writing resources and tips on writing and getting to know many of you through your own blogs.  I thought today it would be fun to learn how all of you were drawn down the path of becoming a writer.  What first sparked your interest in writing?  Were you always drawn to writing, even as a child?  Did a parent or teacher encourage you to write? I'd love to hear all of your stories.  I'll start...

Growing up, I never thought of myself as a writer. I didn't really enjoy English class, I hated disecting sentences and I drew a blank when asked to write a story.  Becoming a writer was the furthest thing from my mind.  When I began college, I loved working with numbers so I became an Accounting major.  I still love working with numbers and now I see how the skill of being precise with numbers helps me be precise with researching articles.  It wasn't until I took a couple of college English courses that my writing began to take form.  Twice I had English teachers tell me that it would be a waste if I didn't become a writer.  That was what first sparked my interest in pursuing writing.  Sometimes it is hard to see the obvious until someone else points it out.

After that I began reading everything I could about freelance writing.  In those days (the dark ages!) before everyone had a computer and the internet was everywhere, the only places to sell freelance writing to were magazines, periodical, etc.  I studied my Writer's Digest Writer's Market for possible places where I could sell writing.  I learned how to format and submit query letters.  Because I had a young child at the time, my interest in articles was focused on raising children, so I began researching and writing articles on that topic.  (Believe me, without the internet, researching articles meant long hours in the college library!).  Finally, I submitted an article to the regional parenting magazine Minnesota Parent - and the editor bought it!  I was finally a writer!

I was very lucky to find that particular editor at Minnesota Parent because she sort of took me under her wing and helped me to become a better writer.  I sold several articles to MN Parent, and then branched out and sold to many of the Parenting magazines across the country.  The pay then wasn't bad - $50 - $150 per article depending upon the word count and importance.  I also began freelancing for a local small-town paper writing up school board reports and school-related news.  It was really a good education, learning newspaper style writing in addition to magazine style writing - both of which are different.

Well, life moved on and I still had to work at "real" jobs because writing wasn't earning enough money, so for a few years article writing went by the wayside.  However, in that time I completed and published two ficiton novels which I so enjoyed writing. Then, three years ago I had ran into Constant-Content and began writing and selling articles again.  Since then, I've become a full-time freelance writer  - something I've been wanting to do for 20 years!  Just think, if my college English teachers had never encouraged me to write, I may never have thought it was possible to become a writer.

So, what is your story?  I'd love to hear it. I think it is inspirational to all writers to hear how others started and how they have progressed.

Happy writing,

(Photo by Stancu Alexandru Stock.Xchng 491922 - I actually did start writing with only a typewriter before I could finally afford a computer! Now, I sit here daily with my laptop! How far I've come.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow that is interesting! I became a writer post my daughter's birth and when the ad agency I was freelancing for stopped flexi-timings. Now am glad I found online writing. It is so much more fun and profitable, too!!


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