Hi all! Today I welcome Julie to MFB. Julie is a writer of one of the earliest blogs I've followed. From the first time I went there, I loved her blog (and her) for her passion both for writing and for animals.
Take it away, Julie.
Thanks so much, Misha, for hosting me
today. I was attracted to the theme of beginnings as I am a new writer myself,
and I hope that sharing my own “beginning” may be an inspiration to others who
find themselves in similar situations.
My writing beginning came about at an age when
many people are getting serious about planning for retirement. I'd never
worried much about age before, but that changed when I turned 40. At a time
when society says we are supposed to be happily settled and basking in the rewards
of middle-age, I found myself feeling lost and unfulfilled, and wondering what
on earth I could do to change what looked like a dull and uninspiring future.
I felt like I'd hit a low point, and I made
the decision that I was going to make changes. I had no idea what those changes
were going to be but, somehow, just making the decision felt like a step in the
I started reading all kinds of self-help
books, but I quickly realized that I was simply reading as a means of putting
off actually doing something. The reading was easy. The doing was the scary
Finally, I sat down and thought about what
it was that I enjoyed doing. The answer came easily. From the time I was in
school, the one thing I had always felt confident about, and had brought me
pleasure, was writing. Whether writing papers for classes, writing letters, or
writing academic articles as a librarian, I enjoyed all of it. In addition,
since childhood I had loved constructing stories in my head about characters I
saw on tv or read about in books. I never wrote them down; as I thought writing
stories was something creative people did. And I wasn't creative.
If there was one skill I had mastered in life,
it was saying “I can't,” or “I'm not.” Now that I had reached this low point, I
thought I had nothing to lose by trying “I can” and “I am” on for size. If
nothing else, I resolved to say “I'll try.”
My opportunity to put my words into action
came about in a completely unexpected way. I discovered a show called Dog Town, which
was about dogs at Best Friends, an animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.
I fell in love with the place, and looked up their website. To my surprise, I
found a listing for volunteer writers for their site. On a whim, I submitted an
Before too long, I had my first assignment,
and wrote about people in Florida
who had come to the aid of starving and neglected cats. I was so nervous when I
submitted my article that I was afraid to open the response from the editor.
But I had no reason to be afraid, as the feedback I received was overwhelmingly
I felt buoyed in a way I never had while
doing my “real” work. I wrote more articles, and continued to get wonderful
feedback from both editors and readers alike. In addition, I was thrilled to be
contributing to a cause I cared about, and helping both people I admired and
animals I loved.
Suddenly, being a writer didn't seem like
something I couldn't do any more. I went from “I'll try” to “What if?” What if
I branched out and wrote for other outlets? What if I could actually get paid
for doing this?
“What if?” became “I will,” and that was my
beginning. Now nearly two years later, I feel like I've finally found the
passion and sense of fulfillment I'd been missing for so long. And even though I
still have a long way to go to be able to support myself with writing, the
small amount of money I have made has been worth its weight in gold. What's
more, the personal rewards have enriched my life in a way no amount of money
So my advice to would-be writers is simple.
Begin. No matter your age or experience, there’s never a wrong time to get
started. It may seem frightening, but take that first step. Volunteer, write a
blog, or sit down and start that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
The step you take is up to you. The
important thing is to begin.
Thanks so much for this inspiring post, Julie. What about you ladies and gents? When did you start writing?
Also, I need a hero/heroine to please step up to the plate. On 10 February, there is no one to do a GPF post. *gasp* It's a terrible thing, because then everyone will be subjected to my ramblings on a Friday! Surely no one want that!
So please please please (with awesomesauce on top) contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com and let me know that you'll do a post for me.
Have a great weekend!