Everywhere you turn, people will tell you that you can’t be successful now without a proper website or blog. Perhaps that’s true, though I’m certain it’s heavily dependent upon your chosen industry.
I’ve worked behind the scenes for years. Though my title for my day job is actually “Quality Manager,” it encompasses so much more than managing a quality system. I sit on standards committees and help to write the next iterations of national life-safety standards. I write technical documents, product descriptions, catalog copy, procedural documents, instructions for use, blog posts, and anything else that is asked of me. I’ve written, proofed, and edited company memos and dealer newsletters which highlight new products and upcoming events. None of these things require a byline, and I’ve never had a need to be credited for them. I’m just happy to write and get paid for it.
But here I am, venturing into the public domain. Why now, you ask? Because I don’t only write for my employer anymore. I recently landed some freelance copywriting projects, and my clients were thrilled with the results. I enjoyed those projects so much that I’ve made the decision to pursue copywriting with greater dedication. I’ve long held a goal of writing creatively, as a career. It’s what I went to college for, after all, but life has a way of taking you in unintended directions. Now, however, is the time to extend my skills beyond what I’m doing currently–and this means I need a platform for executing this mission. Thus, my first website.
Now to be clear, I’ve always written. When I was five, I “published” my first book: Cinder the Cat. It’s a fantastic piece of work, if you ask me. It holds a place of honor on my bookshelf. Over the years I’ve accumulated stacks of poems and stories that I had never shown anyone outside of two or three particular people or my college classes. I recently decided that it wasn’t doing me any good to just sit on all of that work, so I broke out some old pieces and shined the best of them up with some modern-day spit and polish. I must admit that some had to go in the trash pile. I started writing new things, experimenting with different genres. I have submitted multiple pieces to various publications. I made the decision to get serious about writing–not for my job, not for anyone else–but for me. There are a few folks that actively encouraged me to take this step (you know who you are) and for that I am forever grateful no matter where it leads.
I’m currently working on my first full-length novel. I’ll let you know how that’s going about twenty years from now. But at this moment, I’m seeing some of the seeds I planted earlier this year start to bear fruit. I’ll have my first short story published in August, which is immensely satisfying. I also have quite a few submissions pending response; I have high hopes for them but I’m prepared for rejection–such is the path of an author and I’m ready to pay my dues. I’ve been working with a couple of critique partners and beta readers, recognizing that giving and receiving critique is one of the most important pieces of the process toward being a successful writer. Success as it relates here is simply putting out your best work. It’s a committment to the act of writing in whichever form it takes. If sharing my work for critique has shown me anything, besides there is always room for improvement (there’s that QA mindset again), it’s that my abilities are a solid foundation and the future looks bright.
Here’s to taking the first steps out of the shadows.