Practice Makes All the Difference

I have an announcement to make.

The knife’s edge clinks against the tall-stemmed glass, nearly breaking it, causing me to drop it on the table where it shatters. Well, now that I am beet red and have your undivided attention…

I have decided to actively pursue a career in freelance writing.

Yes, I know, I still have my novel to finish editing and subsequently get published—before I begin collecting social security. And my children’s book that needs an illustrator—mine jumped ship—so that it can get published. There are the monthly articles for my writers association’s newsletter and this blog to keep up with as well. And I know to keep my day job—for now.

But, I’ve thought long and hard about this. I believe it truly is time for a change.

Don’t get me wrong. I love teaching. It’s just that the glitter is starting to wear off with each washing (school year) and though the act of teaching, the achievement of the ah-ha moment in a pupil’s eye still call to me like a siren’s song, I think it’s time to move on. Perhaps my love affair with the profession has run its course.

I have another love, one that has been with me from the very beginning, a love that shines brighter than a winter night’s full moon in a cloudless sky. Writing. It was the thing I longed most to do in my youth. Even as far back as third grade a muse has sat upon my shoulder whispering visions of worlds that only I could dream up. I can remember giving loving, longing glances toward the writing center in Mrs. Wilder’s third grade classroom every morning when I entered, knowing I would at some point of the day be allowed to visit a world of my own creation.

Years of growing, learning and raising a family have made my poor muse take second fiddle far too many times. There were the occasional outbursts of writing: school essays, college term papers, and the newsletters for other military spouses—for about a year. But it wasn’t until two years ago that I felt compelled to give her as much undivided attention as I possibly could and begin to write on a regular basis. But it was only stolen moments of time I got to spend with my muse commanding my fingertips to fly across the keyboard. My job was so time consuming and my family still relied on me so much at home.

This winter break from teaching has given me a lot of time to think, research, read and come to the conclusion that I need to give my muse much needed and long overdue lavish attention. The boys now know how to cook for themselves; they can even do laundry and stack the dishwasher. My husband has become an expert at grocery shopping—in and out of the store in under an hour with all things on the list. So, now is the time. I need to be writing, full time.

I’m not one of those I-know-I-can-do-it-so-you-better-let-me-do-it personalities. No, I am very keenly aware of my limitations. I have a degree in education, not in journalism. So getting hired in any newsroom these days is not likely an option for me. A writing friend of mine, recently retired from journalism, said that the newsroom seems to be the last bastion of accountability. Whereas in days gone by, a high school diploma and a couple of well written essays could have landed you a plum position on any newspaper staff, now they want credentials—they want a degree in the specialized field. That’s what makes it a profession, right?

However, I can be a freelance writer. I will need practice though. And not just that, feedback as well. Which is why I am making my announcement.

In the coming weeks and months I will be writing articles and posting them here. If you could do me the kind honor of not only reading them, but also commenting on the quality, I would be most appreciative. A special note to grammar Nazis—yes I am one too (hi dad!): while your well-spotted typos and grammatical errors are always valuable feedback, I think I would prefer that you commented on the writing style in each piece instead. I will, as always, be spending far more time editing my pieces than I actually spend writing them, so hopefully the typos will be very few and even further between. I don’t like to be stabbed in the eye while reading any more than you do, therefore I will do my best to keep the sharps safely contained.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Naomi Baltuck
    Dec 28, 2012 @ 23:58:21

    I wish you the best of luck.


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