Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Long Road to Now

Writing has been a 40-year journey so far, and I'm still amazed at all the places I've visited along the way. Every time I thought I knew where I was headed, I'd come upon a fork in the road and go off in some totally unexpected direction.

My first published article was a humor piece about handball; my most recent, a book on writing. In between, there has been an alphabet soup of written projects, from annual reports to websites — enough to fill 18 three-ring binders and a shelf full of published books..

When I began, all I wanted was to be a serious (as opposed to humorous) feature writer. That was my only plan; but, as the saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." My career must have been the source of endless mirth, because, no sooner had I become somewhat competent at one kind of writing, when I had to learn something completely new and mysterious. I must admit, often I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into my new responsibilities, scared and unable to see how they fit into my plan.

In the early years, there seemed no rhyme or reason to the paths I took. Suddenly, I was an editor; then a corporate communicator; then a marketer; and, for a few years, even a sales rep. (I knew I had lost my way in that job.) I learned to read contact sheets, then to take the photos. I stumbled into design and layout for newsletters and brochures. With great trepidation, I wrote my first little book, and then another.

It took years to see any kind of pattern to my travels. It wasn't until I became a fully independent writer in 1989 that one began to emerge. Everything I had ever done, no matter how inconsequential, became a skill I needed as an entrepreneur. It all came together like a perfect map, guiding me toward my ultimate destination: exactly where I am right now.