As I dug deeper into this folder, I came across a treasure that I remember very well. Small-town Cloverdale, California had decided to throw their first annual Dickens Street Fair in 1996, and the Chamber of Commerce was looking for a local writer to create a promotional piece. I jumped at the chance and, being a self-proclaimed poet at the time, penned a Dickens-style poem. The Chamber of Commerce loved it and made it into an official invitation that was sent by snail mail to all 4,000 plus residents. This gig made me no money, but it brought me notoriety because my grandmother made sure everyone in town know who wrote the poem.
The next year when I was commissioned to create a new promotional flyer for the second annual Dickens Street Fair, I asked to be paid my work. I thought $20 for my work would suffice, but they refused and said they did not have money in the budget. It was at that time that I decided to walk away with the conviction that my writing skills had value.
I decided to do whatever I could to become a better writer. I took three semesters of creative writing classes at the local college. I enrolled in the paralegal program at the university, graduated, and then earned my B.A. in Liberal Studies. I excelled in all three programs because they were light on testing and heavy on writing.
Today, I get paid for my writing skills as a paralegal. I write articles that I am compensated for, and I have been awarded money for winning a few short story contests. I now have another calling to expand my writing skills and become more available for freelance work.
Always follow your calling and do whatever it takes to make your dream lucrative for you. Never allow yourself to be boxed in by conventional expectations. Make yourself available so that people who need writers will get to know you and your specialty.
Remember, you do not have to become a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling to be a writer because there are many ways to utilize your writing skills. Do your research, create your platform, become available, and be patient.