I am a teacher and aspiring writer, and keep a blog to keep up with writing and document the daily moments that make up my life. Working with my students & travel writing are my biggest passions. People, art, food, wine/spirits, and culture are other writing interests. Thanks for coming by!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Dreams Real

All of my life I've dreamed of being a travel writer. It was what I wanted to be since I was 10 years old. My real father (who I only saw on rare occasions) was always taking trips to exotic places and sometimes brought back little tokens from those places that completely sparked my imagination. Growing up I was never jealous of the girls who had the perfect outfits, makeup, and shoes. I was jealous of the authors on author's bio pages in the magazines. "They did WHAT?" I'd say to myself in disbelief. "They went WHERE?" I'll never forget the author's bio page one month a few years back in Islands magazine. Islands magazine sent this female photographer to Sea Star beach in Panama to take photographs of the sea stars on the beach. What a life!
I've been writing in my journals since I was 10 years old, and was serious enough about writing to major in Journalism in college. I wrote for and copy-edited my college paper, and even got an internship at the Sacramento News & Review after college, but finding a "real job" with a journalism degree proved to be more challenging than I expected, so my writing dreams took a nosedive. Fast forward 10 years, and I am giving writing another shot.
Toward the end of my internship at the News & Review, I wrote a book review, which the arts editor (figuratively speaking) tore to shreds. I was crushed.
It took 10 years to submit anything again, and the only reason I did is that my husband encouraged me to. That, and my friend Brea's sister's husband was an editor at a local publication. Still after contacting him with an article idea, he said he'd look at it but he wasn't making any promises about publishing anything unless the material merited it. So, on pins and needles, I submitted my first article to him, about our favorite restaurant, Sushi Cafe. He not only accepted it, but put it on the cover! We were flying to Kauai the day it came out so we had to wait a week to find out, but we were ecstatic! My husband took the photographs we were equally thrilled. All in all, I've written 4 stories for Valcom News, and 3 were cover pieces!
So all of this takes me to the present, where I am wanting to take my writing to the next level, but haven't been exactly sure how to. Enter a family friend, Diane Covington. A nationally published magazine writer herself, she has been encouraging me to pursue my writing dreams. (THANK YOU DIANE!)
A couple of weeks ago, she emailed me, saying, "I think you should apply to BATW," (Bay Area Travel Writers)...."Who knows, they might even let you in!" So I applied thinking, "Ok, this is the longest shot ever." People in this group write for places like Islands magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other highly competitive publications like that. I sent in my application with my little local schmocal article links and waited a couple of weeks.
Then, the other night, I got a phone call. It was from an 805 area code. Who might this be? I wondered. I picked up the phone and it was none other than the Membership Chair, Tom Wilmer, calling to congratulate my on my acceptance to BATW! I was beside myself, I couldn't believe it!
This organization doesn't guarantee me writing assignments. But it is a doorway for having writing opportunities I almost certainly would have never had otherwise, because I wouldn't have known about them. It might have taken a lot longer than I'd ever imagined, but finally, I feel like I'm really moving toward making my writing dreams real. When you've put off such important dreams for so long, it kind of eats away at you. I can't possibly express my joy at finally taking a step toward my life dreams. I can't even find a word for it. But now, maybe I'll need to.

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