When I Decided to Become a Writer
By C. Hope Clark
We ask this question often of writers we consider ahead of us in this journey. For some reason, we want to measure where we are in comparison.
I decided to become a writer in 1999 when I realized my soul was dying at the day job; it needed resuscitation through something more passionate, less affiliated with form filing and paper pushing. So I set out with a three-year plan to save my money, pay off my bills, negotiate an early retirement that left me with a small pension, and relocate if my husband so chose, in order to make up the income difference. Then on September 27, 2002, I walked out of the Strom Thurmond Federal Building in Columbia, SC where I worked, and I never looked back.
We moved a few months later from South Carolina to Arizona then back to South Carolina, my writing ever mobile. I morphed from a mystery writer to reviewer, then from a freelancer to an entrepreneur with FundsforWriters. Today, I’m a mystery author, editor of a website/newsletter with thousands of followers, and a blogger.
I’ve learned that this job never sits still. It moves under your feet, sometimes taking you with it, sometimes knocking you down. The Internet changes exponentially with improvements, or setbacks, depending on your personal experience, so we never find our niche and sit fat and happy anywhere. Sitting still is when we get passed by, run over, and forgotten. Assuming you want to earn a living at this business.
“Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman, theologian
While my 25 years with the federal government had empowered me to assist many people, my flame dimmed, my enthusiasm waned. In my middle-aged life I had more to offer the world than my small cog in a bloated bureaucracy. My creative side needed an outlet. As an intelligent woman with an ample supply of common sense, I knew I could logically navigate this path, and it was time I tapped my right brain and make art, to make myself happier and leave a better imprint on this earth.
Within a couple of months, my college-aged son approached and said, “You act a lot happier now, Mom.”
I teared up once his back was turned. I was absolutely happier, which seemed to feed into my family’s dynamics. That’s when I decided that life was too short to fear a venture into a more passionate, more self-sustaining endeavor. Because what the world needs more of is indeed people who have come alive.
BIO: C. Hope Clark is author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series and editor of FundsforWriters.com, a website and newsletter service for career writers. She has published in many freelance venues and speaks nationally. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com