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A Real Writer!
by Jeri Darby

"Are you a real writer?" Someone asked years ago.

“I— just like to write.” I responded hesitating. This question continues to arise on occasion and I answer, “Yes,” with confidence. It took years; but I now feel comfortable affirming that I am a real writer.

I knew the real question was, "Do you get paid?" In the beginning I didn’t earn enough for postage and wondered if freelancing was really worth it? My only proof was a huge pile of rejections and a few unpaid publications. Dismissing my doubts I forged ahead.

The library facilitated a writer’s conference and a local author was the presenter. She reviewed my article that was subjected to numerous rejections and gave me some editing hints. "This will get published!" she said encouraging me to stick with it. The conference unveiled reasons for the accumulation of my rejection pile. I submitted to markets that I had not researched and had no use for the type of material I created. I also made many simple mistakes like placing quotations inside of periods, and not separating paragraphs when the speaker changed, and could not write anything in less than a thousand words. Those early submissions immediately alerted speculating editors that mine were efforts of a novice.

I revised and resubmitted my article and waited. Those crushing rejections took so long to arrive. Distractions pulled me away from writing until I decided to attend a weekend writing conference to regain focus. It was spectacular and took my knowledge of the writing field to a new level. Many gifted writers fail to surrender to the process of learning from other writers in an instructional setting. It is the first thing I recommend to those who seek my input and direction in pursuit of publication.

Filled with instruction, inspiration and infinite possibilities for my writing future, I left the conference with a renewed passion for writing. I decided to check on the articles I submitted three months earlier. The first two editors offered standard apologetic denials. I left a voice message for the third and waited for a response which came that same day. The editor left a voice message. Briefly stunned, I thought I had heard it incorrectly and listened again to the words, "Yes, we're interested in your article...." His message informed me of a special series they were doing on my topic. My article was published in Decision Magazine 26 weeks later.

I saved that message for a while and listened to it when feeling despondent. It was as an instant motivator. "I'm a real writer," I repeated to myself while listening. This reality awed me while at the bank cashing my first check earned from writing—my writing! A sense of fulfillment grew inside. “If I can do it once, I can do it a hundred times," I thought silently. That was ten years ago. My first published article has been published 9 times and I have surpassed one hundred credits.

There is always more to learn about writing and I continue to seek new learning opportunities in effort to experience continued growth. Positive responses to submissions are a welcomed change. It’s an interesting journey and I am still discovering my voice and experimenting with new genres. It is not the income generated from writing that makes me a real writer; rather the joy and satisfaction I discover each time I pour myself onto a blank page. These days I have been struggling to complete my first book. Life is filled with interruptions, crisis and detours; but I know I can do it; I will do it; after all, I am a real writer.

© Copyright 2009, Jeri Darby

Jeri Darby lives in Bay City Michigan where she works as a Registered Nurse. Jeri is a writer and speaker and also president and founder of Seeking and Waiting singles ministry. Jeri is writing her first book which is a devotional for singles. You may contact Jeri at ararity1@yahoo.com.

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