General Writing

The Calling

This week, I found a faded manila folder containing my writer dreams. There were a few ugly form rejection slips, but also numerous personalized no-thanks notes.  Sometimes I was invited to submit more work, but I often did not follow up because I had allowed each rejection to infect a self-created wound of feeling not enough to be published.

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.

The Glory

Surprise!

Yes, that’s Surprise in the literal sense!

It all started late last year when I was participating in a book launch at Copperfield’s Books for Water, an anthology published by Redwood Writers. After I read my short story, “The Wrong Address,” a woman came up to me, asked for my email address, and said if I heard from her it would be to adapt my story into a play. I was flattered she liked my story, but I forgot about the incident after a few days.

Well, about a month ago, my boss came to me and said he’d received an email from a Hilary Moore asking for my contact information because she wanted to make my short story into a play.  I had been surprised when my story was accepted into the anthology because it had been rejected by several magazines, but the email from Hilary was even more surprising! After she told me the mission of the Off The Page Reader’s Theater is to showcase local writers, I accepted with pride.

The last few weeks I have been walking on air in anticipation of event happening on April 24, 25, and 26, 2015.   I have shared the news and the event flyer (to the left) on Facebook, as well as published the information in the Redwood Writer. Don has told all his family and friends about the play, and many loved ones will be attending.

On April 25, Don and I will go out to dinner with family and then enjoy the play together. I can’t wait.

This success truly has taken me by complete Surprise! I feel more inspired to take charge of my writing life and continue putting words onto paper. In fact, just a week ago, I entered a short story, a psychological thriller, into a local writing contest. I am not much on contests, but I thought this might be kind of fun.

I have been able to cut back on the overtime at work and am taking advantage of the time to continue writing my novel in progress. I would also like to write some more short stories, as I believe I write better shorts than I do novels.

Someone suggested that I think about putting together a collection of short stories for publication.  I could do that, but I would want them all to be published elsewhere. I have four short stories that have been published, so that’s a good start.

Finally, I want to encourage all my writer friends and acquaintances to be proud of all writing successes and to continue writing.

Happy Writing all!