I always wanted to be a real writer. I dreamt of days spent churning out page after page of evocative prose that would impress editors with its brilliance and move readers to grateful tears. There was only one problem: I *couldn’t* be a real writer. Oh, I could work at dead-end jobs (hating every one), doodle in a journal, and raise kids, but professional “success” was simply out of my league.
And then, one day, the perfect article idea landed in my lap and I had no choice but to write it. The odds were against me; I had no assignment, no clips, no business savvy. All I had was a burning desire to write this article and sell it to the Denver Post.
To that end, I began my interviews, breaking into a cold sweat with each one and confusing my interviewees with stilted, fumbling questions. But I worked hard, writing and rewriting, surprised that I already seemed to know the subtle nuances of article style and structure. I was proud of my finished piece, but afraid, too, and I sent it off with great trepidation.
Three days later I sat, breathless and stunned, as I stared at my acceptance email. The piece ran a week later and paid $150, and when I saw my name in the paper, I felt an incredible mix of emotions; pride, fear, vulnerability, relief.
Now, years later, those feelings are still there, but they’re different somehow. I’m still not fond of interviews, though I’ve done hundreds, and I sometimes feel a familiar shot of fear as I send off an essay, or see my name in print. But the self-limiting fear of success has lifted.
I now work full-time from home and I rejoice with each acceptance, each new market, each idea. I spend my days writing about cats and relationships and kids and other subjects dear to my heart. I research interesting markets and learn new things every day.
I don’t kid myself that editors are blinded by my brilliance nor readers teary-eyed at my prose, but I do know that I’m good at what I do, and I am proud of my hard-earned skill.
I am finally living my dream; I am a real writer, and it feels every bit as good as I thought it would.
Kelly Kyrik is a freelance writer based in Aurora, CO. Her articles and essays have been published in Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Market, Cat Fancy, the Chicago Tribune and the Denver Post, among others. She can be contacted at kyrik at comcast.net.