Why I Write

Whether it is a book fair, author fair, a writers’ conference or any event where there are authors and an audience, there is one question that is always asked is, “Why do you write?” or “What got you started writing?”. Usually, this is asked by people who, deep down, would love to be writers. They just don’t know how to get started.

Some authors say they just always knew they were a writer, from the time they learned how to put pencil to page as a child. Some authors say it began due to one defining experience in their life. As for me, becoming an author has been a journey. Growing up, I was always talented in both reading and writing. But, I knew no creative outlet for it.

After my divorce in 1989, I began journaling for my own peace of mind. After God healed and delivered me about four years later I began studying God’s word, that led to writing essays, then Bible studies, followed by the church newsletter and then newspaper articles.

Over the years, I have written for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Then, I took the very long journey to self-publish my first book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims. Today I continue to write for all these opportunities and I write speeches, teach writing classes and speak at writers’ conferences. But, this is only the how.

The writing talent is a gift from God, my creator. When God created me in my mother’s womb he created within me the gift communicating, the gift of putting words together in a way that expresses information and feelings to all who will read and listen to those words.

After I received God’s healing and deliverance after my divorce I asked God two things. First, I prayed that God would show me what He did in me so that I could help someone else come to healing. Second, I asked God to let me do with words what my artist friends did with paint and canvas. God showed me two amazing visions of what he did in me and I share it whenever I share my testimony of healing and deliverance.

So, why do I write? I write to inform people. I write to encourage people. But, most importantly, I write to give glory to the God who created me, saved me, healed me, delivered me and restored me to him after the most painful period in my life. I write to give glory to the God who provided for me, protected me and helped me care for my family and raise my children to love God and who are now raising my grandchildren to love God.

To God be the Glory for all that I am and may ever become. May His will be done.



Writing for Specialty Publications – Business

Business publications offer writers the opportunity to write about subjects of importance to the local community in many ways. If you write for a larger, more established publication such as Business First you will write serious business articles about both large and small businesses and any effect they have on the local job market, economy, politics, etc. Article subjects are as varied as the type of businesses in the area. You can choose to specialize in certain areas or write about any and all businesses depending on your experience and expertise. Articles are also published about national businesses that affect the local community. This is a paid subscription newspaper written to a business audience.

Another opportunity is to write for a smaller business newspaper. In my area there was a newspaper called Abec Small Business Review, a free newspaper dependant upon advertisements for income. The newspaper published 500 word profiles about small business owners in the area. The articles for this newspaper tell the inspirational story of how and why the small business owner started their business. The variety of businesses and the variety of inspirations for starting businesses made writing for this publication forever interesting.

What local business publications could you write for in your locale?


Writing for Specialty Publications – Parenting

Writing for specialty publications is a great way to develop your writing for a specific niche. The varieties are endless and the competition not a stiff as for a general news publication. Many communities have parenting magazines or newspapers, perfect if you love to write about children and family subjects. I wrote an article titled Children and the Arts: How to Light the Fire and Fan the Flame for the Columbus Parent Magazine. The editor responded to my letter of introduction. We spoke on the phone and after discussing the scope of the article she liked my title and assigned me the story. She sent me a list of local arts organizations and parents with children active in the arts to interview. I had so much fun interviewing parents and children as well as interviewing local arts organization and business owners. It was a joy to write such a positive article about encouraging children to develop their artistic talents whether for a career or just for pleasure. That article led to other writing assignments with other community newspapers owned by the same parent newspaper and lasted for about two years.


Freelance Writing for Community Newspapers

Being a full-time staff writer may or may not be your goal. Another option is to be a freelance writer for local papers. They may be called “Messenger” or “Community News” or some other variation of this. They only keep two or three full-time staffers and use freelance writers for the rest. Some pay by the word while some may pay by the article and they don’t usually pay extra for photos. One great thing about writing for small community newspapers is the variety of writing experience you will gain. You may write articles about community festivals or town meetings. You may pitch an article idea for something that interests you or you may be assigned articles. You will learn to write on deadline; you will learn how to find and interview sources and how to come up with catchy headlines. You will also learn how to let your work be edited and changed. If you’re smart you will learn from those edits how to craft a good article so that fewer edits will be needed in the future. But, you will also learn how to work with an editor because no two will be alike. One may love your writer’s style and voice while the next one may not like your writing at all. This happens with magazines sometimes also. But, as a writer, you learn from each experience and constantly strive to improve your craft and talent. Who knows? One day you may become the editor and have the opportunity to plan, organize and put out a community newspaper.


Writing for Small Town Newspapers

     A new writer can find one of  the greatest learning experiences at a small town newspaper. That’s not to say a small town newspaper will tolerate a lesser quality writing. But, on a small town newspaper you can learn the ropes of newspaper writing while developing your writing style.

     When my daughter was in high school I wrote for a small Christian newspaper but didn’t receive any pay. But, I did receive experience pitching story ideas, researching topics, finding and interviewing sources and meeting deadlines. It was a great learning experience. During this time I continued to work an office job. At one point I changed jobs to try to improve our finances as we prepared to send her to college. After only a few weeks that job suddenly fizzled and there I was with a senior in high school and no job. While continuing to look for “regular jobs” I decided to create a writer’s resume, gathered some of my best clips and sent them out with a cover letter to several local newspapers hoping to find some freelance work.

     One day while pouring over job possibilities I received a phone call from one of the newspapers I had contacted. It was the managing editor who wanted to discuss my resume and clips. Then he asked me a defining question. “So, are you looking for full-time work?” After a heartbeat and a second to catch my breath I said, “Of course.” I met with him the next day and started to work as a full-time Education Reporter the following Monday. He knew I didn’t have a college degree in journalism and my published clips were written for religious publications. But, he was willing to give me an opportunity to learn from him and his editing staff writing for a subject he could tell I was passionate about, education.

     My writing responsibilities included writing about any education related subject from the local schools to state and national education subjects plus any general assignments I was given. Then, about three weeks after I began one of the most momentous events in United States history happened. I was working at my computer in the newsroom one day and suddenly everyone was rushing into the conference room. Someone asked me, “Did you hear what happened?” I had not. Then the editor called everyone into the conference room and I walked in just in time to see the second tower fall live on television on 09/11/2001.

     We all just stood there in shock for a minute. The editor shook us out of our frozen state of mind and asked, “What are you all standing around for? Get out there and get community reaction.” Over the next several months all the reporters for that newspaper wrote any story related to 9/11 that could have a home town connection.

     Over the next year I wrote stories about a wide variety of subjects, learned how to pitch specific stores, how to plan and paginate my Education page and even wrote a column and some important feature stories. More importantly I learned how to accept changes to my stories by the editors and how to take constructive criticism.

     At the end of that year, for several personal reasons, I moved away from my hometown area after my daughter went to college. My writing has been freelance rather than staff since that time but I learned many valuable lessons about newspaper writing. Be sure to check out your local papers for both staff and freelance writing opportunities.


Tip of the day May 16 2012

Tip number two takes a slice out of your regular employment to find publishing opportunities. If you work for a corporation that puts out a newsletter offer to cover a corporate event and then write about it for the newsletter. They might even pay your entrance fee to the event to obtain the article. I worked for a mortgage servicing company and they held a charity fundraiser. When I approached them and offered to attend and write a story for the corporate newsletter they gladly accepted. I requested photos from attendees who emailed me several. This option gives you a clip for both newspaper opportunities and corporate opportunities.