One of the best lectures I’ve heard about writing was at the East Texas Christian Writer’s Conference held at Marshall, Texas a few years ago.
The speaker emphasized that if a writer really wants to develop his talent the best place to start is newspaper writing.
I heartily agree, although I began writing poetry in 1981, while going through a nervous breakdown. At that time I didn’t realize that therapists highly recommend writing and journal keeping as a coping technique.
Even though I seldom writing poetry, anymore even though I’ve had three books of poetry published along with two volumes of inspirational pieces, I know the speaker was right.
I began submitting and have things published in The Times in 1989, when Frank May was the editor of the editorial page. It fueled my energy to see my ramblings published!
As I continued to write I was motivated to have pieces published on Christmas Day. It was like I was giving a gift to myself and hopefully to the readers who somehow could relate to the pain that I often expressed.
Then I branched out and was jubilant to have my pieces published in the Minden Press Herald on a weekly basis. At one time I was having my columns published weekly in ten newspapers, which I continue to do. I actually transmitted those early pieces either by mail or by fax machine!
Oh how times have changed and for the better! Copy and paste works really well through email.
As I entered the workforce at the age of forty-six, I marvel that I was as prolific as I was considering how hard it is to learn to make a living late in life, but I never whined or complained!
Sometimes I would fall asleep in the recliner and not wake up until dawn but I always kept my promise to write something every day in my journal and to send out as many pieces as I could to various venues every day.
It finally began to pay off when I wrote a story that was published on Christmas Day in 1993.
Prior to writing that story I was so determined to make it happen that I woke up maybe thirty minutes after falling asleep and penned my first story about our old family trunk that was opened in 1957 on Christmas Eve just three months before daddy died at home in the same room where he told us the stories that I begged to hear about our ancestors pictures within!
Lo and behold I sold an edited version of that piece to Guideposts Magazine in 1994!
To think it all started by writing for the newspaper!
Then it happened again! I wrote a story titled: When God delivered a newspaper to a laundromat that was published past year! That same story was edited and made into a story for the Mysterious Ways section of Guideposts magazine in the December issue.
This is how it works!
For a writer to accomplish anything with their writing you have to write from your heart and write — and write — knowing that if you hone you talents that you will accomplish at least a goal of leaving a legacy for someone — maybe your family — friends or total strangers you may never meet!
You never know where your stories will go or what a difference your words may make.
It’s like the syndicated columnist, Erma Bombeck told me “It isn’t the money you make but knowing your words have touched people you may never met!”
Sarah Hudson Pierce is an author who lives near Mooringsport, Louisiana