Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I wish I had done this sooner

Most writers have a story. Why are you a writer? When I was at the National RWA Conference in NYC I heard so many writers talk about how they wish they had started writing sooner. I do feel that there has been a shift in the attitude of the writing career. I remember being in high school and winning the Scholastic Writing Competition in the short story category. Of course, I was thrilled but I remember my teacher telling me to go into journalism because there is no money in fiction writing. I believed her.

Well, I’ve got news—there isn’t much money in journalism or public relations either. However, I’m glad that I went that route. I believe that every experience we have makes us better writers. I’ve read countless times from many successful authors, that you must write what you know. Now, in my young adult fantasy, Atlantis doesn’t really exist (at least it doesn’t to the best of my knowledge) but if you know me, then you know that I love the ocean so it is no surprise that I incorporate it into my fiction writing.

I also incorporate what is important to me in my non-fiction. I write about dogs from an owner’s perspective. In my freelance writing, I’ve literally covered any topic from how to create a brilliant dining room tablescape, to a National Alligator Festival, and aviation pollution studies. For me, being a professional writer is the ultimate cure to boredom. Even through my fiction research, I get to study and become an “expert” on so many topics. Even though the industry is tough and the work is not easy, this is by far my favorite job. To echo what many said at Nationals this year, I do wish I had taken the leap into professional writing sooner.

That leap doesn’t come lightly. It certainly didn’t for me. I like making money, who doesn’t? For me, I eased into a full-time writing career from years of part-time freelancing that just evolved. The big push for me came when I had my daughter and I wanted to work from home. Some writers are still writing well into the night and on breaks from other jobs. I salute you if you are one of these people.

How did you become to be a writer? What made you take that leap? I do think that we will see more young, out of school writers. As a speaker, one of my topics in schools is goal setting. I use to never hear anyone say that they wanted to be an author, now that career option is mentioned much more frequently.


I've noticed some outstanding blog posts this week. Check them out:

Where Do You Want Me? Choosing Narrative Distance in Multiple Third Person by Janice Hardy

Five More Mistakes That Will Expose You As a Rookie by Larry Brooks

Efficiency 101: The Power of “No” by Kait Nolan

Three Tricks to Keep Your Eyes Fresh When Revising by Jill Kemerer

On September 26 6:30-8PM PDT I will be hosting a webinar through Farm Dog USA on ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog’ based on my book by the same title. I will be posting sign-up information as soon as it becomes available.

This October I will be teaching an online workshop on the ‘Writing Mommy: Making it all work without losing your mind’ through Who Dares Wins Publishing's Write It Forward workshops. I will post a sign-up link when it’s available.


  1. I have wanted to be a writer since I was 12. I've been writing ever since but I kept hearing how only a few can make a living at it, so I went other routes. Now at 34, I got fed up with treating my dream like a hobby because of what others think. I still work a good job, so I'm one of those sleepless guys who opts to write than go to lunch. I'm going to do this and not even my own doubts will stop me.

  2. I agree with you, Natalie--as much as I wish my earlier attempts to succeed as a writer worked out, I now realize the training I received in journalism and all the other careers I attempted, not to mention the five years I spent running my own business, have made me a better writer and a better professional. I'm in a position now where my work is good enough but my business skills are also honed which gives me a distinct advantage.