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Archive for September 14th, 2015

Getting a late start at your writing career? Take heart!

Well, if you’ve been reading along for the last week or so, you’re aware that I’m hosting a new Author Blog Challenge. This is the second of 35 consecutive days’ posts, all on the topic of writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 2 writing prompt:

When did you begin writing? Describe your earliest memory of writing. Are you formally trained, or did your writing begin as a hobby? How did your writing habit/process/career develop?

As one of the few people I know who is using my degree (BA in Creative Writing – Nonfiction from the University of Arizona), I am fortunate to have been making my living with words since 2002. My editing experience extends back quite some time before that, when I was the go-to wordsmith at a corporate job in NYC. Prior to that, I learned a lot by watching the pros at work in my part-time position as a researcher and v-e-r-y part-time features writer at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

For many years, I hung on to the encouragement from Nancy Mairs, one of my college professors and a very accomplished author in her own right, who reassured me that some people just get a late start (her late start came at 27). Now that I’m nearing 50 and find myself still working on the novel I began 11 years ago, I’m more encouraged by this post I recently came across (and reposted) on Facebook:

going to be ok

Of course, I’m very grateful for the early start I got, writing my first report on the great white shark at the tender age of 7. That was back in the OLDEN days when I first had to learn to navigate a card catalogue at the public library. Thanks, Dad, for your patience and encouragement! Then, I co-wrote my first short story with my across-the-street neighbor, Steve. Something about a witch and a forest. I plagiarized that for a contest in third grade, for which I won a little set of note cards.

Writing – it’s always been easy for me. And mostly enjoyable. I’ve never related to quotes like the one from Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” This fiction stuff, though? It has not been my bailiwick – yet. I took some fiction classes for my degree, coaxing the wordsand at 19, my writing was clunky and utterly without lyricism. Thank goodness that I’ve managed to learn something over the last 25+ years, so that I can at least write believable dialogue and set a scene. As I believe is the case for many a writer, I’ve got more ideas than I have time. But I won’t let myself start a new story until I finish. The. One. I’m. Working. On.

Did I mention that it’s about a guy who travels around the world, learning to embrace life? He’s in Singapore right now. I know where he goes from there … just need to get him to the next place.

So tune in tomorrow when I’ll be discussing writing classes and the like…

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to 40 more years of writing!

Laura

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