What inspires you to succeed? To be the best in your field? To volunteer your time to others? To do what you do?
For me, the story is my inspiration for writing. That story might be the amazing life of someone who carried the mail every day for 40 years. Or, it might be the story behind a product that was just released. Or, it might be the story of betrayal and rekindled love.
Even before I could hold a pencil, I was creating and telling stories. They were full of the excitement that only a young child could imagine, and like any self-respecting older sister, I’d force my brother to listen to them or help me act them out.
Once I could write, my stories covered pages and pages of notebook paper and eventually whole notebooks. I still have a few of these poorly written stories with their bad penmanship and terrible spelling. They are fun to pull out every once in a while and relive the pure innocent days when trees could talk and fantasy lands were around every corner.
I didn’t give up on the habit of making up stories on the fly and convincing (or forcing) others to act them out. In first grade, I recall being a fighter pilot with a boy on the swings. We were fighting the Japanese and dropping bombs on them as we “flew” over Japan in our “jets.” I don’t remember the story behind it, but I’m sure it had something to do with WWII. I’m pretty sure the US wasn’t at war with the Japanese in the late 70s, early 80s.
In fourth grade my love of writing turned into a love of reading. Who knew that others could write as well as me? Prior to that, I had little interest in reading. (Except for the Dick and Jane books. I loved those. I still do.) As my reading tastes changed, so did my writing. I went through a number of phases, from my horse phase, to my magazine phase, and finally my historical romance phase throughout junior high and high school.
My writing picked up considerably between my junior high days and into high school. Everything inspired me to write. There was no shortage of ideas for my short stories. Around this time, I also discovered a talent for art.
At this point, I could no longer convince anyone to act out my stories, so I turned to illustrating my stories instead. I thought that eventually I would go into art. Because, I considered writing just a hobby. No one ever made a living from it, or so I was told…repeatedly. I needed to consider a real career.
After high school, I didn’t go into art, either. Instead, my desire to draw steadily faded away. I still love art, but not like my love of writing. After trying several different majors in college, ended up studying to be a paralegal (still under the delusion that writing is not a job) where I learned to love prose writing.
It was during this time, that I began to think about getting published. I sent off a few short stories that were published in newsletters and small publications. I turned to the internet and connected with real live writers online and started making plans to get my name in print. Even if it never amounted to anything more than a hobby, I was going to do it. In 2003, I had my first magazine article printed.
I wrote my first completed novel shortly afterward. Okay, it was just a first draft, that really wasn’t very good, but it was an accomplishment and a jumping off point for other novels.
My copywriting debut happened a bit earlier in 2000 when I was working for a printer doing typesetting. A local hotel needed a brochure and while our office didn’t normally do this, I volunteered. I took the pictures, wrote the copy and did the layout. It was a success for the short time that the hotel remained open. When I left the printing business, I did some copywriting here and there for local charities and organizations I belonged too.
Fast forward to 2011. That was the year, that I was laid off from my job and I quit writing. It didn’t last very long. (Yes, I’m a failure at quitting.) Within six months, I was back working on a new novel, picked up some copywriting jobs and fired off several queries that landed me article assignments. Every day I sit down at my computer and do what I am meant to do…tell stories.
What is your inspiration? What makes you wake up every day and do what you do?
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NALA Certified Paralegal
Iowa Association of Legal Assistants
National Association of Legal Assistants
Catholic Writer’s Guild
Buena Vista University