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!
22 thoughts on “Risking”
My gosh, those were sure harsh words form an editor. Generally writers are an encouraging community! Thankfully tho God directed you to the perfect time to write again.
Yes, they were and the enemy did a number with them, but God broke through!!
Your flowers are fantastic to see and I am so glad that you get to do what you like to do so much!
Thank you for sharing your story! Here’s to many more years!
Black and white photography just isn’t the same, especially for pictures of flowers. These are beautiful! 🙂
What a gift to get some more of your story!
I’ve actually wondered about writing for a newspaper — how it would be quite different from what we do here, and how it would be the same in some ways.
Blessings, my friend!
Ah, thanks, Michele! That blesses me!
Hi Pam! What an interesting story of writing as a “stringer”. I love how God uses everything. Those years prepared you for what you are doing today. He’s ordained this time and this place, and I’ve no doubt, your words. Blessings! Visiting you form Ra-Ra Link up. _Andy
Thanks, Andy! I’m glad you liked it! Yes, he surely does use it all and weaves our story together in the midst of His in ways we cannot imagine many times.
I never heard of a Stringer before. I am blessed by the words you offer here in this space and so thankful you hit publish two years ago. Blessings!
Thanks for your sweet, encouragement, Barbie! I am currently working on the second draft of my first book with a hoped release date in the fall!
I’ve never heard of a stringer. How interesting! I’m glad that you started your blog two years ago, Pam. We’ve learned a lot from you in that time.
Thanks so much, Lisa! I thought some might find the story of a “stringer” interesting!!
Hi Pam! Boy, that person who told you that you had nothing to offer? What a harsh thing to say, and of course, completely wrong. You have so much to say, and even have a book in the works.
Thanks for explaining ‘stringer’, that’s fascinating! And did you enjoy your writers conference? I am always so interested in people’s stories too, and yours is quite a journey. It’s been fun and inspiring to know you through your blog, and I know your book will be great!
Hello, my friend! Yes, it was a harsh thing to say and coming from a Christian who had worked in some Christian publishing areas at one point, I believed her.
I wondered if many out there would know the word “stringer’ or find it intriguing! It was a fun time for me! I try not to make my posts about me so much, but I guess there are times that it is helpful.
Thanks for the kind words about the book. Can’t wait for you to read it! Hoping you will also review it for me!!
I’m so glad you heard the call, took the risk, embraced the chance, friend. You have enriched my life with your wise words and your tender heart. I’m not sure how we ran into each other online, but boy am I thankful …
Thanks, sweet friend, it may seem silly that it impacted me so much when someone I thought knew a great deal more than I spoke negative words into my heart, mind, and spirit. I am not sure exactly when or how our connection happened either, but it was a lovely gift only the Lord could have arranged!
Thank you for sharing this story of PRESSING beyond yourself, beyond fear, beyond rejection to share with others. You took a risk and I will say the LIFE giving words you’ve sown here are a sweet aroma and offering to the Lord. I too am taking a risk in releasing my 1st book 5/30. Its a risk worth taking for the Lord.
Thanks so much for sharing this! Congrats on the book!! I am in the editing phase of my first book with a plan to release by fall. Let me know when your book is out and the title!