“Writing is easy. All you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Gene Fowler
I admire those who are novelists. I have an attention span of 750-1,200 words- which is just about right for an article writer.
People often ask me if I have always loved to write and the answer is “NO”. A a kid I never enjoyed reading. In fact during high school when we would have to read extra books in English for a book report I would just skip the whole book thing and make one up including plot, character, and author. It usually was something suspenseful because action words look better on paper than mushy stuff. Those were the days before Google. I wasn’t too worried about the teacher wanting to read the book, because I always made sure there was a flaw such as , “It bogged down in the middle” or “The author should have done more research..I don’t think the rapid sea horse was believable.”
But I have always loved stories. Hearing them, telling them and imagining them. Connecting people, places and emotions. Stories of the past, stories that change people, stories that inspire.
I began my writing journey as a way to stay connected to my mom. John and I had moved with our small family of three kids from California to Minnesota. I would write my mom short humorous stories about what the kids were up to. One day she said “You know, you really should submit some of these for publication.”
“Well,” I said, “They are only funny to you because I am writing about your grandkids.”
“No,” she answered. “The whole office can’t wait to read what you send!”
After a few months and with the help and encouragement of a writing friend I cleaned up one of the pieces that had the most potential for an article and decided to give publication a shot.
I sat in the car after pulling up next to the brick Daily Journal building and tried to talk myself out of total humiliation. Finally, with paper in hand, I went through the heavy glass doors and stood at the counter. I was invited to talk to the assistant editor since the editor was on vacation.
The next Sunday my humorous account of our Valentine cookie fiasco with the kids ran in the paper and I was asked if I would write a monthly column. For the next two year I wrote for the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.
When we moved back to California I approached another paper. At the time they needed a humor columnist and I began to write human interest stories as well. BUT I never felt like I was a real writer until I went to Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. With a stack of my stories I braced myself for the words,”Don’t quit your day job.”, but those words were never spoken. Instead I heard encouragement and “You are a good writer. You are a humor writer.” I tried to stop the tears from slipping down my face, but hearing those words was what I needed. I resolved myself to learning all I could about the craft of writing. If The Lord had gifted me with this talent I didn’t want to waste my time or His.
I put my writing aside and signed up for a two year correspondence course with a mentor from the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Correspondence Course. I was determined to attain a well rounded understanding of the writing craft and began to pursue excellence. I am still working at it, but it is a goal I always keep before me.
Since then I have written humor pieces, human interest stories and done some assignment writing for various publications. I take my own photos for articles and have taught workshops on article writing.
I also been thankful to have been published in Charles Stanley’s In Touch, California Southern Baptist Newspaper, Leatherneck Magazine, Light & Life, Vista and am one of the 2010 Guidepost writers workshop winner.
One of the best advices I can offer anyone who is thinking about doing more writing is to take advantage of every opportunity. Take fiction, non-fiction and screen writing. Learn how to take great pictures to submit with your polished articles. Learn by doing. Learn to do better by learning more!
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9