Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How Did You Get Started?

Often I'm asked how I got started in writing, and then, into freelance reading/editing. Everyone has their personal journey and here's a little bit of mine. When I was speaking to groups of students about writing, this is what I jotted down. How did you get started? What kinds of writing have you done? What kinds of writing do you wish to do?

Writing for most people begins with a desire to communicate through the written word, doesn't it? I think my writing began with reading--I loved to read and I wanted to write something to read. Usually I was the only person reading what I wrote. All through junior high I wrote in journals. When I won my scholarship in journalism and headed to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, I did an incredibly impulsive thing: I burned every one of those journals! I wish now that I could have kept those journals somewhere safe until I was ready to process the things I was writing at the time.

a. I started real writing in high school. I published a poem in my freshman year and that fueled the fire.

b. I got on the newspaper in high school–was the sports editor and art editor. Those articles won me a journalism scholarship at Ball State University, where I started off majoring in journalism.

c. Back then I knew I wanted to work with books more than newspapers, so I changed my major to elementary education with physical education, wanting more experience with children—for whom I thought I wanted to write.

d. I took a correspondence course from the Institute of Children’s Literature as I finished my degree, then dove into teaching and coaching. When I had one experience after another, like students who were murdered, beaten by parents, unfair treatment of teachers, etc., I wrote my first article and sold it.

e. Then, I had four boys of my own, and life sort of went into “living mode”—all good. I edited a newsletter, wrote articles for newspapers freelance, and just wrote down thoughts and dreams and insights on parenting.

f. When we moved here (where I live now) in order to be close to our parents and extended family, I no longer was doing the jobs I did in the past—-teaching and leading--so I found an online writing organization, and then drove an hour to Ft. Wayne once a week, taking the professional writing program at Taylor University with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley. This is a superb program that is now located at the Taylor campus in Upland.

Everything has a beginning, and while my writing took an adventurous turn to evaluating fiction, working freelance for both editors and agents, I still find time to write.


Jan Cline said...

Good for you - finding time to write. Once a writer always a writer I say! I admire the dedication to drive an hour each week to improve your craft. I have been trying to impress upon my writing group that it takes committment and courage to keep moving forward.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal -

Thanks for sharing your journey.

Writers take many routes to get to their "aha moment." I wrote for years before realizing that's what God equipped me to do.

Susan :)

Christine Lindsay said...

What a BIG question. I felt the desire to write when I was a child, sitting on the kitchen floor at my chalk board, drawing and telling myself stories. I remember clearly when I was in college and had gone against the grain of my soul and chose accounting of all things. But it was my English classes that I did best in. I remember getting high marks on all my fiction pieces, especially the one I had to write about a 'kiss' of all things.

It wasn't until much life had passed by, and 20 years later I was reunited with the child I gave up for adoption, that the need to write pressed in so hard, I had no other option.

Here I am 10 years later, after pursuing that writing dream, and my first book is contracted for publication.

We really ought to look at who we are as children to understand the deepest dreams of our heart.

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Jean said...

Interesting. We writers share common threads, but all wear unique coats.


Story and Logic Media Group said...

I always enjoy reading these little tidbits of your life. Thanks for sharing.