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.
(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.)