The prizes are great:
1st Place Winners (2) will get:
- 1 year free in Freelance Writers Den
- A half-hour mentoring call with both Carol and Linda
- Access to our Freelance Writers Blast-Off Class Audit
- Access to our 4-Week Journalism School Audit
- Entry in the Basic version of Linda’s Write for Magazines e-course
- Linda’s ebooks on freelance writing: Get Unstuck, the Guide to Marketing Your Writing, and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock
- Carol’s ebook Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide
So here goes!
Before the Dream Fades to a Haze . . .
It's always been there. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be, "writer" was always in the top three. Since moving into the adult world, Someday I'll write has been what I tell myself when my daily life doesn't make sense. It's the dream that's always been where all dreams are safest: in my heart, away from the fluctuations and distractions of the world.
Still, even those dreams are in danger of being lost after a time. Ignored, neglected, and abused -- they'll move on eventually.
Which is why I'm here, now. This one is too precious to let go any longer.
Writing's most difficult aspect (to me) is listening closely enough to the music of the soul to create an authentic piece of work. Shutting out the noise and clutter of life requires great willpower and, although it becomes easier over time, the initial energy requirement is huge.
Which is why it has taken me years to reach the point of commitment. The Sirens of life play many songs for me, and instead of orchestrating my dreams into a beautiful harmony I allowed them to become a cacophony that nearly drove me crazy.
The Tortuous Way Back
My journey back to writing started about six months ago when I realized that life was moving on whether I was finding fulfillment or not. See, I've always flirted with it -- a blog here, a query there, a childhood dream. But along life's way I stopped believing . . . or rather I stopped believing that I was good enough to accomplish those goals. I transferred my belief into a negative one, in which I was only as good as my day job.
So I started wondering: "What do I want to be, now that I'm grown up?" As the parade of all my dreams marched across my mental life-screen, I considered selling out and accepting an lifestyle that did not suit me to pay the bills and be socially acceptable. Because the problem was, I wanted to be a lot of things and already was some of them -- farmer, writer, traveler, land consultant, activist, teacher -- but it still wasn't enough.
There was something at the core of my spirit, tugging at me, begging for my attention. Something intrinsic to me, or: My Purpose in Life.
Trust a Best Friend
I explained all this to my husband one late night on the couch. How I knew that it was time to be serious but I was overwhelmed by choices.
His words were like a breath that neatly arranged all the scattered pieces of my life into one pretty picture.
"Honestly, you've talked about a lot of things over the years, but the only constant in your life has been writing. From the time I met you and saw the notebooks all over the apartment to your current endless research into things that interest you . . . I've always thought you should be a writer."
A week later a friend mentioned in a separate conversation that I should be a writer.
A couple more people that know me well said the same.
So I started to believe that someone was trying to tell me something. I started to believe that I could do this. I realized that no matter what choice I make, I'm still believing something: believing that I can't live this dream, or that I can. I choose to believe that I can.
Penning a Career
I picked up my journal again; in my faithful morning dates with it over a period of several months, I've noticed tremendous growth in my personal, spiritual, and -yes - writing life. I've perused this old blog and considered giving it a good airing out.
And here, I am actually having the courage to write for a contest -- a put-it-all-on-the-line move I'd never had the courage to do before. I've realized that the next step for me is to put in the hours and practice practice practice. As anyone that's every considered starting a freelance writing career knows, it's pretty damn hard. There are so many aspects of the business to learn apart from writing that it's a daily struggle to continue to be optimistic and move forward.
The prizes for this contest are invaluable to a beginning writer. I've learned over time that it is crucial for me to have a society much like the Den offers. I crave community, and I can see that they have put in a lot of time to make it a worthwhile place to belong. I would hope to become such a part of it that I can give back to other new writers in the future.
Since I really feel like I'm flying in the dark in regard to writing articles, communicating with editors, and even coming up with salable ideas, I know the classes are so essential to getting off the ground that I plan to participate in them at some point whether I win or not. Writing for a career means choosing a life of learning, and thankfully I enjoy learning.
So, thanks Linda and Carol, for the giving so much work and resources to beginning writers! You really are the best out there. :)