(PIC: Suzie with two friends at camp after sliding down Mud Mountain)
Are you a writer?
I can spot them a mile away--or at least a few yards away. They carry a notebook with stickers on the outside. A pen is tucked nearby.
I see them alone in a corner. They are isolated not because they don't like hanging out with people, but because they are in the intriguing world of writing, jotting down their ideas and thoughts in earnest ink.
I see them in the pew ahead of me, listening to the sermon. The notes they are splashing on paper have little to do what the preacher is saying, but rather the words that are spinning in the mind because of it.
words to songs
poetry -- freestyle, rhyme, realism
stories that mimic their life
I recognize them because I once did the same.
How did you become a writer? I am often asked this question, and the answer is that I was always a writer. I think what they are really asking is when did I get published, but the teen who wrote in her journal (and the woman still loves to write in her xanga and 4:12 blog) was a writer way before the title of author came after my name.
I took a detour in my writing life after I became a momma. I was too busy, too immersed in life to even write a paragraph, so I became an avid reader, delighting in the words of others even when I couldn't pen them myself.
When my children went to school I entered the workworld--as a writer, but this time I was writing about things I had no interest in. I wrote proposals and presentations and specs for the corporate world.
But it paid the bills and it sharpened my writing skills.
Then a major detour in my life threw me back on track -- cancer. I was only 31 and had three little kids and a husband I loved a whole lot. The words, "you have a 40% chance of surving five years" was like Mt. Rushmore standing in my path.
Five years came. I skipped out the door of the corporate world and into the private world of freelance, vowing never to write another word about anything for which I did not have passion.
So I started a journey of penning words about things that I loved. Just like the teen girl who carried her notebook with stickers on the outside, I found a quiet place and started writing about things that I loved.
I began the business of studying the business of writing--thinks like writing queries and proposals and studying the markets where my work might be a good fit. Suddenly I understood that my years in the corporate world were not a waste--that I could combine my passions in writing with a solid plan to springboard my words out of the drawer and into the pages of magazines or books.
This September 18 I will celebrate my 14th year of surving cancer. Whoo Hoo!
In the past 9 years I've seen God open doors in my writing and I'm grateful. I didn't know that I would get to publish 450 articles on subjects like love, life, faith, dating, God, self-injury, family and more. I didn't know when I started that I would get to write books or interview on the radio or TV with cool people and talk about the things I love.
I didn't know it would be so challenging and wonderful at the same time.
Are you a teen who pens her words in a notebook and wonders if anyone will ever read your words? Are you a teen who writes lyrics and wonders if anyone will sing your songs? Do you have a book started? An op-ed you are contemplating because you think your view needs to be considered?
Then most likely you are a writer too. How cool is that?
T. Suzanne Eller (Suzie)