What made you become a writer? When you were asked, "What do you do for a living?" how many years did it take you to be courageous enough to say, "I am a writer." Do you list "writer" as your occupation?
Why do we do write? My journey became when I was in 7th grade English class. Barbara Beibreich was her name and she was known around Junior High as the "meanest" teacher in the entire school. Standing at a mere 5’2", she was a petite version of the Tasmanian devil. She wasn’t mean. She was brilliant – and she wanted her students to be brilliant.
It was in this class that I discovered my writing ability when Mrs. Beibreich read a descriptive paragraph of my essay to the class. Here I was a shy Catholic school girl learning the ropes of public school, how to open lockers and going to class with boys. When she asked for me to stay after class I was terrified. I believe the kind teacher sensed it and gently but firmly told me, I was an excellent writer.
30 years later, I would be able to tell and show Mrs. Beibreich what that one sentence of encouragement had done for me. From that moment on, I had it in the back of my mind I could become a writer. And that I did.
I wrote really crappy poems, far-fetched short stories, and un-researched articles. BUT I WROTE!
At 19, I got lucky and one of my articles was published in Seventeen Magazine in 1974 (no counting how old I am). I was paid $25. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. A few years later I wrote for the confession magazines – I didn’t tell anyone, but I wracked up the bucks.
By the time I was 30, I had poetry credits, short stories and a few articles published. I started the "Great American Novel" a million times only to toss it in a drawer.
I went years without being published, but I still wrote. I wrote a children’s novel, obtained an agent and had Scholastic in my back pocket with a publishing deal until the editor in charge of the project moved to another publishing house.
In 1997, I started writing a weekly column for a mid-size newspaper. It opened doors. Last year I wrote my first romance novel – it made the rounds of every agent in the business and now sits in a drawer with lots of "thanks but no thanks" rejections.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and after surgery and chemo, the first thing I did when I was well was start a new romance novel. I am nearly complete.
We writers CANNOT GIVE UP. Even if you’ve never been published does not mean you are not a writer.
We write because we must! It’s in our blood. It’s in our souls, our DNA. We march to our own beat of the drums and take the past least taken. I thank God. I AM A WRITER.