When I was in journalism school I heard a lot of this: “Oh, so you want to be a writer?”
Um, no. I do not want to be a writer, I’d say. Television’s my thing. I had dreams of anchoring the news, or maybe becoming a producer. “I’ll never be a writer. Never,” I vowed.
Well, seems I was wrong.
Writing sort of snuck up on me while I was busy doing other things, including marketing, consulting, and (oh yeah) kicking cancer to the curb. After I was cancer-free, I took a good long look at the state of my life and priorities. I realized being in TV was not ideal for the life I envisioned. It didn’t allow the flexibility I wanted, and couldn’t accommodate the roots I hoped to put down.
So I put the title ‘writer’ on my business card and off I went. At first, it was all corporate work. A lot of marketing copy. (Like, A LOT). That was good, but I wanted to write for magazines. So I started researching and pitching, and eventually (when I say ‘eventually’, I’m talking about a year) I got a break. I met the editor-in-chief of Canadian Family Magazine (Jen Reynolds, who has now moved to Canadian Living as EIC) at a blogging conference, and we chatted. Over the next year we chatted more, here and there (mostly on Twitter), and then I pitched her a story. Which she bought. Then I pitched another one. She took that one too. Then I was published, and I checked that box off my living life bucket list. All the while I was writing fiction, too, but my book was hiding on my laptop, not quite ready to face anyone.
This week something exciting happened in my little writer’s world. I got a National Magazine Award nomination for a piece I wrote for Canadian Family last year, called ‘Frozen in Time‘. It was supposed to be a 500-word story, cooked up with Jen one day over lunch. Then I did some research and realized there was a lot more to it. So Jen gave me a whole bunch of words and a nice big space to do it right. Have I mentioned she’s a rock star editor? Well, she is.
You know when people say the first thing they’d do is quit their jobs if they won the lottery? I wouldn’t. I’d keep writing … just in a fancier space, maybe overlooking the ocean on the Amalfi Coast. Sigh. (Oh, could I write all the words with this view …)
Turns out I love writing. It’s creative, challenging, and offers a glimpse into nooks and crannies of the world I maybe wouldn’t get to see or experience otherwise. It’s an escape. It’s grounding. It’s humbling, and refreshing. It’s fun. And what it lacks in terms of security and a (regular/big/fat) paycheque, it makes up for with soul-filling satisfaction.
I guess ‘never’ really meant ‘later’ — good thing.