Often I'm asked how I got started in writing, and then, into freelance reading/editing. Everyone has their personal journey and here's a little bit of mine. When I was speaking to groups of students about writing, this is what I jotted down. How did you get started? What kinds of writing have you done? What kinds of writing do you wish to do?
Writing for most people begins with a desire to communicate through the written word, doesn't it? I think my writing began with reading--I loved to read and I wanted to write something to read. Usually I was the only person reading what I wrote. All through junior high I wrote in journals. When I won my scholarship in journalism and headed to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, I did an incredibly impulsive thing: I burned every one of those journals! I wish now that I could have kept those journals somewhere safe until I was ready to process the things I was writing at the time.
a. I started real writing in high school. I published a poem in my freshman year and that fueled the fire.
b. I got on the newspaper in high school–was the sports editor and art editor. Those articles won me a journalism scholarship at Ball State University, where I started off majoring in journalism.
c. Back then I knew I wanted to work with books more than newspapers, so I changed my major to elementary education with physical education, wanting more experience with children—for whom I thought I wanted to write.
d. I took a correspondence course from the Institute of Children’s Literature as I finished my degree, then dove into teaching and coaching. When I had one experience after another, like students who were murdered, beaten by parents, unfair treatment of teachers, etc., I wrote my first article and sold it.
e. Then, I had four boys of my own, and life sort of went into “living mode”—all good. I edited a newsletter, wrote articles for newspapers freelance, and just wrote down thoughts and dreams and insights on parenting.
f. When we moved here (where I live now) in order to be close to our parents and extended family, I no longer was doing the jobs I did in the past—-teaching and leading--so I found an online writing organization, and then drove an hour to Ft. Wayne once a week, taking the professional writing program at Taylor University with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley. This is a superb program that is now located at the Taylor campus in Upland.
Everything has a beginning, and while my writing took an adventurous turn to evaluating fiction, working freelance for both editors and agents, I still find time to write.
~Crystal Laine Miller