THIS WRITING LIFE IS DIFFICULT BUSINESS

In case someone out there thinks I sailed my way into publication with out a fight at the port, you can relax. I’ve been at this for over thirty years, but I was never on a luxury cruise. (Okay, enough of the nautical references.)

I’ve met a few folks who enjoyed the miracle of having their first writing piece published, but they are a rare few. Most writers work hard to get to that nirvana of regular publishing success. I’m hoping here that my experience will make you feel better, if not give you a few ideas you can use.

I didn’t set out to be a writer. I taught school for six years after graduating from college. Post child number one, I discovered I needed to converse with adults for a portion of my day, so found a part-time job at the local library. Part of my library job required writing a column about library happenings. Despite my initial complaints, I learned I really liked writing that column.

I segued the library column into a stringer job for a large Denver newspaper and two other local human-interest writing jobs that later became a regular history column for a local paper. At the same time, I wrote some articles and short stories, which were published in regional and national publications. All this success was predicated on that lowly library column.

One day I was lamenting my lack of success to the editor of the local newspaper who published the library column. A writing friend had just been published in a national religious publication and I (in my eyes) did nothing. The editor (everyone’s idea of the grizzled newspaper editor complete with cigar in his teeth and probably bottle in bottom drawer) looked at me and said, “Young lady, she’s been published once. You get published every week.” I never complained again. He was right. Publication is publication and you need to stop complaining and get back to the keyboard.

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