Just a Working Writer Riding the Writing Wave

It wasn’t until several months into my job at a former children’s book publisher that I fully came to appreciate that I was earning a living as a writer. Granted, I wasn’t getting paid to develop and write my own story ideas (that opportunity came later), but I was getting paid to write and learn the editing process nonetheless.

I guess in some far-off place in my imagination, I envisioned that making a living via the written word looked like me sitting in a lux office at a giant desk in front of a window with a soaring view of New York City’s skyline. I would have ample time to ponder my next chapter. I’d meet with my upbeat agent for lunch and then indulge in a little retail therapy before returning to my masterpiece.

Working writers know better—but a girl can dream, right?

So there I was one afternoon sitting at a little desk in my boss’ living room (which served as our first office), when she casually said to me, “Did you ever think you’d be making a living as a writer?”

No, in fact, I had not.

Up until that point in my ‘career,’ I was a Liberal Arts graduate working in retail. (Clichés are around for a reason.) Writing had always been a natural part of my life, but becoming a paid writer seemed out of reach. But then I met my former boss. She hired me as a freelancer to write copy for her website. She liked my work. One thing led to another and I became her first full-time, in-house employee. I will always be grateful for her, her belief in me, and the experiences we shared together.

I consider myself fortunate that I continue to have a career in publishing. Today I am a gratified publications editor for a triennial technical magazine. This publication is widely ready by professionals in the pressure equipment industry. I’ve gone from writing for girls ages 8-14, to writing for a largely adult male audience.

I guess you just never know where a writing career will take you.

I was extremely intimidated when I started this job. Clearly, the subject matter was way out of my comfort zone. But what I did have going for me was a firm grasp on managing editorial projects, writing, and editing. I quickly asserted that words were words and good writing was good writing, whether it was for a children’s book or for an article on NFL steam-driven turf conditioning systems (my first published non-fiction article).

And so, I gave it my best shot. The next thing I knew, I was ‘doing it’ – I was writing and editing technical material and learning about a whole new industry. I had reinvented myself as both a writer and an editor, and I continue to grow and learn.

But, for us creative types, it’s about paddling out further into the deep and searching for the next big wave, right? And so this year I’ve taken on a part-time job (evenings and weekends) as – can you guess? – a writer/editor for Wendy White and her side projects. And although it doesn’t pay well – at least not yet – I am hopeful there will be a rewarding payoff, because if I’ve learned one thing, you just never know where your writing will take you.

And so we write. We submit. And we write some more.

And the excitement of the next big wave keeps us coming back for more.


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