Like most writers, I’ve been writing all my life. I spent my childhood writing stories, even sending some off to a few children’s magazines (and wondering why I never heard anything from them). During the summers, when not reading voraciously, I wrote dozens of limericks and tried to teach myself to type on an old Olivetti Underwood portable typewriter. I wrote the requisite book reports, themes and essays throughout my years in school, but they never seemed a chore; English was always my favorite academic class.
But because I also liked to draw and paint, I decided I was going to be an art teacher, and then I railroaded myself away from that goal by getting married way too soon. During the ensuing years I usually kept a journal, enjoyed corresponding with family members, friends and overseas pen pals, which satisfied, for awhile, the urge to write.
That changed in the early 1990s; personal computers were becoming more commonplace, which made it easier than ever to write everything: correspondence, stories, articles and book proposals, and to submit that work online to publishers. No more need to type out manuscripts, format them just so and send them off like so many notes in bottles set adrift, wondering if anyone would read them. I joined an online mailing list for freelance writers and was intrigued by the call-outs for stories, so I began writing and sending whole stories at first. Soon I began getting acceptance letters in response to my queries and was writing and submitting regularly.
However, the money I made from writing wasn’t enough to help pay the bills, and I looked for other, more lucrative ways of supplementing my income. I sold vitamin supplements, cosmetics and kitchen spices. I wrote advertising copy, designed needlework patterns, and did custom sewing. I wrote mostly in a journal and online for some time, but in recent months I’ve been contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life.
This, in a small nutshell, is where I’ve been. In the next post I’ll discuss where I’m going.