Early October, 2014, I pushed aside the assortment of magazines spread on the coffee table in my chiropractor’s waiting room, flipped open the newspaper, and saw my very first byline. I remember the fleeting nervous chills and rush of joy that flooded my spine upon seeing my name in print, even before the doctor got cracking.
Autumn is a season of many transitions and anniversaries. I’m celebrating some and being haunted by others. The milestone I’m most excited about, though, is the completion of my first year as an *actual* writer.
For years, I’ve talked about wanting to *be a writer* with little to no clue of how to actually go about it. Last year, when I reached out to the editor of the local newspaper, I had no idea what to expect.
This past year has been wave after crushing wave of exhilarating learning experiences as I pushed myself far beyond my introverted comfort zone and learned to embrace rejection.
It was a challenge. Only finding part-time freelance work for the first 10 months, I became the classic penniless writer stereotype.
I thought about taking other jobs. I applied. I even had a few phone interviews. But when it came time to make a commitment, my heart just wouldn’t give up on its big fluffy dream of *a writing career*
(The asterisks are little stars that represent my dreams, okay!?)
I’m thrilled to report the newspaper hired me full-time late in the summer, and now I actually have a steady paycheck doing something I truly love.
I’ve learned to detach my ego from my writing and understand that this isn’t about me at all.
I’ve learned to not get too excited when someone praises me for a piece that somehow benefits them, the same way I let it easily roll off my back when they get angry about an article they don’t agree with.
Working for the newspaper has taught me to be objective, specific, and hella accurate.
That first piece was small, hardly significant, and buried deep, DEEEEEEEEP in the center of the newspaper. It also needed a lot of editing. Now, I often see my work on the front page multiple times. I still get a little excited about it.
Aside from the newspaper, my work was published in one of my favorite magazines, Outside Online. Some of my personal heroes have written for Outside.
A few weeks ago, I squealed with tachycardic delight upon flipping open my copy of Acres USA to see my very first byline in a national print publication! And I have two more coming up in the next month! eeeeeeeeeeee!
Dreams really do come true if you stay focused and committed. There are so many resources out there to help budding writers, but I really think the key is to step beyond your self-doubt and just hit the freaking SEND button. Over.. and over… and over until you catch a gig.
I guess it’s a lot like fishing. It’s going to suck if you can’t simply enjoy the process without any promise of bringing home dinner.
This has been such a trip so far, and I can’t wait to see where it all leads. I want to thank everyone who’s supported or inspired me along the way.