Extra Skills

As I begin my writing career in earnest, I realize I have skills the average writer may not have. I just finished typing cover letters to be sent with submissions. Typing a business letter comes with ease because I spent several years working in business offices doing that.

I proofread everything I write. This became a habit during my four years part-time employment with ECU University’s News Bureau. I worked my way through college as an employee there.

I’ve written all my life. It may not be a stellar novel or even a spectacular short story, but I have spent my life writing and editing and rewriting various things. I have written something almost every day of my life since I learned to write.

I’ve taken numerous writing courses as I tried to perfect my writing craft. Even now I look forward to taking James Patterson’s online writing course. The thing that is coming between me and his course is money. Just when I think I have enough money to sign up, the car breaks down, or we have a terrible cold snap and my money goes to keep transportation possible or to keep warm.  In every course I’ve taken, there have been ideas and wisdom gathered from the materials and/or the instructor. My favorite course was Truth Telling and Memoir Writing, which was a graduate writing course that I took as an elective at UNC Wilmington. I feared I might be out of my element, as I took the course as an elective. I was there getting a Masters Degree in Education. However, one evening, early in the course, my instructor asked me to stay late. I thought she was going to suggest that I drop the course. It was just the opposite. She told me I needed to find an agent.

So along the bumpy road of my life, I have gotten encouragement from various places that perhaps some other writers have not received. My letters to Dennis Rogers, who was a columnist for the News and Observer Newspaper, frequently were published in his “Letters and Leftovers” Friday columns. This was a boost to my ego and as people who knew me read them and sent me comments about them, I felt more like a writer.

When my oldest son was in elementary school, I wrote a column for the school newspaper. It was called “Tadpole Tidbits” (the school mascot was a frog) and what I did was interview various teachers and write about what was happening in different classrooms or on field trips, or on the playground. My column was to write about what children at Effie Green Elementary School did that was unusual.

While a student helper at ECU’s News Bureau, I proofread the articles the staff writers wrote daily. This showed me the way to format news articles and how to edit out the unnecessary parts.

I’m sure I’ve failed to mention other things that have affected my development as a writer. There has been so much encouragement and education about writing along the way. I wonder if other writers have had the vast amount of different experiences I’ve had that have helped me feel I can succeed? The passion is there. I don’t know why I haven’t taken time to try to be a successful writer before. Wait, yes, I do. Things that happened in my life and my three children who needed a full-time mother while I needed to also work a steady, dependable job, stole the time I could have used to become more noticed in the literary field.

The children are grown now. My dependable job is gone. I have no excuse. As I tried to think of excuses, all the wonderful things that have prepared me to succeed flooded into my head. I wrote about them. I reminded myself of all the wonderful reasons I can succeed as a writer. If I fail, I have no one to blame, but myself. The groundwork has been laid. It’s up to me now.



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