Some writers know in grade school that writing is what they want to do when they grow up. I was never like that. Even today, with close to 15 years under my belt as a freelance copywriter, I still don't consider myself a writer.
I think of myself as an editorial specialist. But, I do write and get paid for it, so I guess that makes me a writer. Following are three ways that writing has changed my life.
1. Freedom: As in, freedom from fear. When I started freelancing in the early 90s, I never dreamed it would turn into what it has.
I started out as a freelance copy editor, proofreader and editor. I didn't start taking on writing projects until a few years into my freelance career. But, once I realized that, "Hey, I can make a real living from this," it gave me a freedom I didn't realize I would come to cherish until years later.
Once you realize that your power to make a living lies totally and completely in your hands, you walk a little taller, believe in yourself a little deeper and work harder to keep it so.
I know that as long as my brain doesn't turn to mush (I have to work hard to keep this from happening some days!) and I have use of my hands, I can work. There's a comfort in that.
2. Interest: As in, interest in the world around me. I'm pretty curious by nature and I've always been an avid reader. When you write for a living though, it takes on a new kind of clarity.
I listen to the news for story ideas; I listen to tales from my friends for different twists on ordinary topics; I take note of my surroundings with eyes open for the next great article.
3. Question: As in, question the world around you. Because I write a lot, I also research a lot. I know that the twist of one phrase can give a whole new meaning to a story, an article, a definition.
Take the war going on in Iraq. When we hear that over 3,000 soldiers have been killed since it began, you might think, in Vietnam, over 58,000 died -- this war's not as bad.
But, when you hear that over 10,000 have been wounded - many seriously, that implies a different kind of war; a different view of what's going on.
So, I question a lot of what I hear, read and view. Is this the whole story? Were there some facts left out? Some "half-facts" put in?
The written word, especially in our technologically advanced world, is a powerful medium. Indeed, the pen [keyboard] is mightier than the sword - and all writers would do well to remember that the next time they sit down to write.
How has writing changed your life?
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