I was a closet writer for years. I read dozens of books on the subject of writing, kept a journal, and attended writer’s conferences, workshops and writer’s groups. But, until I moved to a rural community in cottage country, I had never submitted a thing. I was afraid I was not good enough to get published. The community we moved to had quite the reputation. It was considered the place to live if you had any aspirations as an artist. There were dozens of studios and even a few well known authors. I felt I could not be in a better spot than this to be motivated.
My first attempt at getting published was self-publishing. I started an artist’s studio tour newsletter. I sold subscriptions to the newsletter and it did quite well. I always kept my ears and eyes tuned to any local information regarding business start-ups that may require the services of a writer and that’s how my big break came along.
Our community already had two newspapers running and an announcement was published regarding the start-up of a third. I immediately contacted the publisher, and introduced myself. I assumed they might be looking for new writers and I was right. I set up an interview with my portfolio in hand and, after some negotiating, I was hired. As part of the negotiation terms, I requested retaining my copyright so that I could seek out secondary markets and they agreed.
This job pushed me forward in my career as a writer, reporter, and photographer. The added knowledge of taking good quality photos added to my income, and gave me additional opportunities for work. I met lots of local personalities, and developed new skills. Every two weeks I was responsible for submitting five feature articles, and several fillers. I acquired interviewing skills along the way and I quickly learned how to write to meet deadlines. The amount of pay may not have been at the high end but the learning experience was priceless.
The paper has since folded. However, I still look for new areas to pursue. Whenever I approach a bump in the road, I go over or around it, and keep moving forward. I keep two motivational visuals on my office wall; a large wooden cut-out of the word ‘ BELIEVE’ and a quote from Samuel Godwyn , “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.
Diana Burns has been a part-time writer for 10 years. Her published works include dozens of newspaper articles, and a self-published newsletter for an arts community. She is currently working on ideas for a column for her local community paper, and enjoys reading almost anything to do with writing and publishing. Diana also recently started (along with some other writing acquaintances) a writer’s group, ‘The Reading/Writer’s Connection’. She is a lifelong learner and loves attending writer’s conferences, workshops, and networking sessions.