My adventure into the world of books began when I was about four years old. By that time, I was reading simple books on my own. Yes, I was an early reader, a habit engrained in me by the fact that I was an only child with two working parents.
Fortunately, I was a child who enjoyed spending time on my own with my imagination as my most prevalent playmate. I created my own worlds with my dolls and toys. However, when I discovered books, they took me away into a world of imagination created by others.
I suppose it started when my mother took me grocery shopping with her. She’d placed me in the seat of the shopping cart and head directly for the book carrel. The tall, circular wire rack was filled with Little Golden Books. My mother would select one for me to read to keep me preoccupied while she shopped. By the time we’d made our way to the other end of the store. My mother would be finished her shopping and I would be finished with my book. If I was well-behaved, she’d buy me one of my choice.
This love of books became a way of life for me, although it wasn’t necessarily the beginning of my writing career. Over the course of my childhood, I had always tinkered with the idea of writing. When I was eight years old, I would cut words and pictures out of magazines, paste them onto construction paper and create my own magazines and newspapers. In high school, my favorite class was English. I got good grades on my creative writing assignments and dabbled in short stories and poetry on my own time. In university, I discovered the unique ability to write a term paper without doing any real work or research, and still came away with a good grade.
But despite all these signs, I never knew I was a writer until someone told me.
I met my husband who had his own marketing business. He asked me to work with him. My first assignment was to write website content. It was he who discovered my talent for writing. That bit of encouragement fanned the flame of writing passion within me.
I went on to become a freelance writer. I wrote for the Windsor Star newspaper. I created a website offering professional writing services to those with much less talent for finessing the written word. In addition to my journalistic and marketing endeavors, my paid writing has included court appeals for child custody, love letters, resumes, dating profiles (people find it terribly difficult to write about themselves), and a speech for a keynote speaker at the International AIDs conference in Sydney, Australia. I have written articles that have been published in magazines and informative blog posts on popular social media platforms.
And yet, I hesitate to call myself a professional writer. A professional writer is someone who writes as part of their profession. Journalists fit perfectly into this category.
However, when it comes to creative writing, we are all amateurs. Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, fantasy or memoir, there is no such thing as a professional writer. An author or storywriter who calls themselves a “professional” does so because they don’t believe there is anything left to learn about writing.
They are gravely mistaken.
When it comes to writing of any kind, you will never stop learning.
Writing is creating a work of art. As with any medium, be it words, paint, clay, or any artistic material, styles and trends change, talent evolves and so does your view of the world.
Our best chance to be successful is to continue to learn, experiment, grow, dream, practice, and create. If you don’t work at writing, it probably wasn’t worth the effort.