Monday, November 12, 2007

Where freelance writing began for me...

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Julia recently left a comment that prompted this post. She said:

"Any tips for getting those articles sold? Let us know what you're doing to be soooooooo successful! (Please!)"

So that you can better understand how I arrived where I'm at today in my writing adventures, I'm going to share where this freelance journey began for me.

In the next part of this "mini series", I'll try to give a few tips as to how you can find at least as much success as I have found (which isn't all that great compared to MOST freelance writers!)

In 2005, my Mom saw an ad in the local newspaper for a writer's meeting. "You're going to this meeting, Michele!" She said.

"But Mom, I can't go to that meeting! I'm not ready to write!" I whined.

"You're going and that's that!" She said. If you knew my Mom, you'd know she meant it (can you tell she was right?)

You see, I hesitated in even leaving the house. I hesitated in trying to follow my oh-so-faded dream of being a real writer. I had given up hope of writing. Ever.

After barely surviving domestic violence, I had neurological problems that stemmed from all the times my head was bashed into walls and beams. I couldn't remember half of my childhood or what happened the day before, much less English grammar's ins and outs.

Excruciating pain from the injured discs and vertebrae in my back and neck left me in agonizing pain that is simply indescribable. My nights were tortured with nightmares and my days were taunted with bad memories.

"You'll never amount to anything." I could hear my ex put me down. He really wasn't there, but the psychological damage was etched deep into my brain and soul.

I ballooned up to near 300 pounds. Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, debilitating migraines, anxiety attacks... These were but a few of the illnesses that plagued me day in and day out. My hand and eye coordination and dexterity had failed me. I couldn't hold a glass anymore. I couldn't hold anything, much less a pen. My body was slowly shutting down until I woke up one morning and couldn't get out of bed at all. That's right. I couldn't do anything. My Mother took care of me, nursed me... The whole works. She never gave up on me. Not once! (Thank God for an awesome Mom!)

But I gave up on myself. How on earth was I going to write when I couldn't use my hands? Sure, I had kept diaries most of my life. But write? Now? Attend a real writer's meeting? Nah. But I went. (By the time I attended that first meeting, I'd lost 100 pounds and some of the horrid health issues had improved.)

That day, the president surprised us with a little pop writing assignment. She asked us to write about an experience we'd had that we originally never thought we'd be glad we had. One that we could honestly say, I'm glad I went through this. She also asked us to share what we took away from that event.

I was so scared to share my heart, my raw emotions, with these people I didn't know. When it came my turn to read what I had written, I looked up after I finished reading my last sentence and there were tears welled up in every person's eyes. I had touched their hearts with my words. I was stunned at the reaction.

"Where have you been keeping all your writing?" An older lady said.

"In my desk drawers at home." I answered.

"Well, you need to dig those manuscripts out and start submitting! Do you think editors and publishers are going to come knocking at your door asking for your work?" She scolded me. "And before you ever submit, I'm going to tell you it will probably be rejected. Now, you listen. You had better get use it. You'll be rejected countless times in your writing career. It's just part of being a writer. The sooner you learn to accept rejection and move on, the sooner you'll find success."

Very wise advice. And, I have followed it.

Between that lady and my Mom encouraging me, I began to write, write, write, and submit, submit, submit.

I am going to pass on that elder writer's advice. "Accept rejection and move on." But I'm also going to add my own little piece of advice. Write from your heart. Shake that feeling we all battle that you can't be vulnerable, that you can't share your heart, your fears, your mistakes, your battles with your readers. Be yourself. Be real. Some reader somewhere will relate. And another. And another. And another. Open your heart so you can touch someone elses. It works!


To be continued....

Tips, markets, and advice are coming soon. Dream big and don't forget to come back!