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    I Realized I was a Writer When...

    The countless rejections most writers encounter prepare us for discouragement and often create a lack of confidence in ourselves. We find we're almost apologetic that we're writers. We compare ourselves to well known writers and find ourselves lacking.

    I'd not had a book published.. However, I'd seen more than 100 of my children's stories in print in magazines. I'd written a newspaper column for 10 years. I was a reporter for a weekly newspaper, and more recently had become editor of a statewide tourist publication.

    Why didn't I consider myself a professional writer? Because my name was known mainly around my hometown. Because I wasn't making a fortune. Because I didn't have a book published yet.


    Developing Writing Workshops

    I especially enjoyed creating children's stories and had begun giving programs in schools to encourage youngsters in their writing. One principal was particularly supportive of my endeavors and suggested I develop a series of writing workshops I could take to schools around the state.

    He asked me to teach at an upcoming Young Author's day at his school. In the course of our planning the presentations, I remarked that I hadn't written any books. I'd ONLY had children's stories published in church school magazines.


    Don't Apologize

    "Mary, don't apologize for not having any books," he admonished. "Do you realize you've reached children all around the world with your stories? The church school magazines you write for probably are read by and to more children than one book is."

    "I'm a WRITER?" I thought. "Bob said I'm as good as a book author."

    This made me realize I should take pride in my work and no longer apologize that I hadn't written any books yet. With my published work for children's magazines and my work as a reporter and editor, I had done more writing than many writers do in their lifetime. But instead of focusing on what I had accomplished, I only saw what I hadn't.


    Focusing On Accomplishments

    By focusing on my accomplishments, I've gone on to have more than 200 children's stories published in magazines and anthologies, am working on two middle reader novels, and a picture book. I also illustrated "Tales of Adventure & Discovery", an anthology of my children's stories and poetry. A coloring book, utilizing illustrations and excerpts from this anthology recently was published.

    I've written a resource book for writers, "Writing in Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont," for Writers' World Press. To enhance the writing workshops I teach, I've written 10 manuals for writers.


    Take Pride in One's Work

    Once I realized I indeed had credibility as a children's writer, I have taken pride in my work.

    I also learned that one of my favorite children's and adults' mystery writers, had begun her career writing for the children's church school publications. Then she gained success in the field of young adult and middle reader novels, as well as those for adults. This gives me encouragement that I'm on the right track.

    Take a look at your own accomplishments. Instead of apologizing for what you haven't done, writers need to look at what they have accomplished and continue to verbalize to yourself, "I am a WRITER!"

    Copyright © 2001 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen is a children's writer, newspaper columnist, travel writer, book author, and writing teacher. Her resource book for writers, "Writing in Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont," has been named to Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Books for Writers and reviewed at Amazon.com. Visit Mary Emma's web site at http:/homepagefcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea; me.allen@juno.com

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)

    FOR JOURNALERS

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