It's dirty searching for the right path in life.
This is the story of how I came to write. If you missed the first parts you can find them here: Part One, Part One, Part Three.
Once the seed rooted in my brain, I did another thing I love to do: Research. I'm not a dive-right-in type of person, but I don't have the patience for toe-dipping, so I'm the jump-in-feet-first type of person.
I started brainstorming ideas and doing research on how to submit articles. I was nervous, why would anyone want to read what I write? Thankfully, God knows I need bread crumbs to prove I'm on the right path. He sprinkled a healthy dose. Within a month of deciding "Okay, I'll do this," another twin mom mentioned a new magazine coming out for parents of multiples (currently there is only one, Twins). I pulled up the information and did a completely informal pitch to the editor. Once I sent the email, I freaked. I looked back through the books I'd bought, sure enough, there is a whole section on pitching to magazines. Something much more thought out and formal than what I did.
I checked my email religiously for a week (which, I am now aware, is way too short a time frame to expect an answer). Nothing. I assumed it was a no-go. I kept writing. A month later the editor called me. She wanted the piece.
Do you remember when you met a famous person, or maybe you had a crush on someone and the first time they spoke to you, or maybe someone you really admired spoke to you? Do you remember wanting so much to sound normal, cool, calm, and collected? Yeah, that's what I wanted when I spoke with the editor, unfortunately, I squeaked out a bunch of "yes, no problem, sure, I can do that," responses.
What I ended up agreeing to was:
- Writing the piece - which entailed interviewing a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.
- Locating a photographer who would work in return for only their name listed in the magazine.
- Locating a model who would demonstrate the moves and be happy with only their picture in the magazine.
- Locate a location for the photo shoot
- And, oh yes, complete all this in a week.
I hung up, freaked out and got right to work. To say I was in over my head is an understatement, it was more like I was so far under the Earth's core was burning my feet.
Apparently, the big guy above knows what he's doing. I completed all the required tasks and had submitted everything a day early. I figured the editor needed time to edit. The debut issue was slated for a December release. It was the end of October when I submitted. December came and went, January came and went. Emails to the editor bounced. Then, one day in February, the magazine arrived. My article was one of a handful chosen to be listed on the cover. I was giddy.
Sadly, the issue was the first and last for the magazine and I never received payment.
Knowing all I do now, I'd still do it again. I received my first byline which opened many doors for me. I jumped in to a tight deadline with many extras that most writers don't have to deal with right off the bat, and I completed all tasks. Plus it was the crumb that made me realize how much I love writing and deadlines.
That's not to say it's just a breeze. There is a lot of hard work and a lot of rejection, but each time I hit a down point, I find another crumb:
- A publication has used an article
- A scholarship won for a writing class
- A local paper giving me a guest columnist spot
- A contest won
Each crumb feeds my soul and pushes me to do better.
And that is how I found my path as a writer...despite all my stubborn traits, the Lord took the time to guide me. I'm sure he had moments of despair and frustration (possibly even considered just striking me down with a bolt of lightning), but he persisted and then lined my trail with tokens of encouragment.
If you keep hitting resistance in the direction you're going, look for a side door that keeps cracking open. Try the side door. Look for a peppering of crumbs, nibble and proceed. The path won't always be smooth, but the boulders may be smaller than the other path you were on.