Two years ago today I sat at my computer and clicked on the word “publish” to release my first post on my blogging website. For the whole of my life I had loved writing and longed for time to do so. For a brief time when our children were young I was invited to be a “stringer” for a local newspaper in the next county.
For those of you for whom that term is unfamiliar, let me share that in the days when iPads were not yet in existent and newspapers were still “king”, in addition to full-time staff other writers in outlying areas were hired to get local news. They would be paid by the column inch so each writer would cut out the articles and stories they had written and tape them all together end for end and measure the inches or the “string”. I think I received the grand total of 12 cents per inch. I was given a Polaroid black and white camera and if I took a photo or submitted any picture, I received one dollar for each. Clearly, I did not make a great deal of money.
The up side of this job was that it worked well with full-time mothering AND I got a lot of experience writing a variety of things. I might be covering a school board meeting one night and a county fair another. In the midst of it all, I was also blessed to be given several assignments to research and write feature stories. This was the very best of all! One of them was about an old “roundhouse” used to repair trains in a neighboring village and another was researching another small town that had been a boisterous coal community in the mid-1800’s. Miners in that small town had a dispute with the mine owners and hired a young upstart attorney from Canton, Ohio, to represent them. His name? William McKinley. The result? He won the case and the miners were grateful and formed what would become the United Mine Workers.
Both feature stories took a full page and I had a marvelous time interviewing dozens of folks and unearthing photos of the periods both stories focused on. For three years I used my manual typewriter to type up the story and phone it in and then a ministry opportunity came along that took any time I had beyond being a wife and mom and I left the role of “stringer” behind. I did have one other chance to write a series of articles on spiritual healing for a periodical, but then my path changed again and I spent nearly 15 years teaching junior high developmentally handicapped children.
Teaching was what college had trained me to do, but I was more interested in the students’ lives and their family life than teaching subjects so I headed back to graduate school while teaching. The purpose? I worked as a Licensed Professional Clinical Supervising Counselor and Independent Marriage and Family Therapist for 25 years in Christian settings. Those years left little to no time to write. Then one time I wrote something and shared it with someone who had some level of experience in editing as I still longed to return to write. She basically told me that I had nothing to offer and for ten years, I wrote nothing at all.
As retirement came three years ago, I noticed an opportunity to participate in a Writers Boot Camp in Colorado with Margaret Feinberg (a favorite author) and Jonathan Merritt. I vacillated for several weeks, but then decided to go since we were heading west for vacation around that time. After registering, I learned I was required to set up a website and submit several blogs before attending. Yikes!!!
With echoes of the person’s words that had negatively critiqued something I had written so many years before ringing in my ears, I followed the instructions and two years ago today I hit the tab that said, “publish”.
These two years have taught me much about myself and the world of blogging and writing. They have also granted me courage and faith in the desire and gifts the Lord has given me and allowed me to “meet” others whose stories are not the same, but gave them doubts about writing as well.
Thank you for reading what I have written and allowing me to come into your life by doing so. Each time I sit down in our den, I ask the Lord to give me life-giving words. As He leads me, I look forward to many more writing adventures.
PS….I don’t use a black and white Polaroid camera any more, but using one all those years ago gave me a love for photography I have never ceased enjoying. I have added some of my latest shots to this post!