For the love of writing …

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.





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  • Roselle Kaes May 3, 2013  

    Congrats on the well-deserved nomination! Writing is one those things you do like breathing, isn’t it? That view is just spectacular, btw.

  • Karma May 3, 2013  

    Thanks, Rosey! And yes, it feels a lot like that now … just sometimes it feels like breathing when you have pneumonia ; )

  • Gina Miel Heron May 3, 2013  

    Congratulations on the nomination!!

  • Jen Reynolds May 3, 2013  

    You rock! You had me captivated from the first moment I met you and you have made me laugh so hard many times. You are such a talented story teller Karma and a great co-conspirator (remember the other things we’ve schemed?!). I’m thrilled you got this nod—you totally deserve it! xo

  • Karma May 3, 2013  

    Thanks, Gina! : )

  • Karma May 3, 2013  

    No, you rock! Seriously — thank you, Jen, for those kind words and for being my co-conspirator. And yes, I do remember ; )

  • Katja May 4, 2013  

    Congratulations Karma! This post left me happy and feeling good. Your article is excellent.

  • Karma May 4, 2013  

    Thank you! Although wondering if it left you feeling good because there were no gifs? ; )

  • Sarah May 29, 2013  

    You deserve it- that piece is so very good! It’s a good thing writing found you and you listened!

  • Karma May 29, 2013  

    Thanks, Sarah! What a nice thing to say : )

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