Soft Starts: Where I’ve Been

3 Aug

I’ve mentioned a couple of times my “soft starts” and decided today to outline where I’ve been.

From the time I was a kid, I’ve been bursting with story ideas (always non-fiction). In fact, I was a little roving reporter for my city’s newspaper at 13-years-old. But, let’s start somewhere else.

When I was 24-years-old I woke up in the middle of the night and decided my path needed to change and that I needed to write professionally. I wrote a 3 a.m. query letter (the first in several years) and sent it off twenty minutes later as some kind of test to the universe and myself. I got the assignment a week after that, wrote the piece, kept working at my (good, solid, steady) government job, and tried to convince myself that I should continue to receive a salary and prepare for 25+ years of traditional employment and eventual pension benefits. Too late, the idea was already ruminating. Still, let’s start somewhere else. 

Finally late last year, I decided to really get going on it. Like, for reals. 

Let’s start here.

I woke up one morning in the fall with a feeling to apply for an internship at a magazine here in Hawaii. It didn’t make sense for my master’s degree, but the feeling wouldn’t leave. I did apply, interviewed three days later, and convinced my advisor that this was a great investment in my career.

It was. Before my internship ended, I was offered a good freelance assignment. So it began. Client #1.

At the beginning of the year I sent a few queries, but didn’t pursue too many assignments because I had a five week trip planned. Regardless, a couple of those queries resulted in ongoing assignments. This soft start scored clients #2 and #3.

It seems like everyone I meet these days is directly related to  my new path.

Take, for example, a conversation with a new acquaintance the other night who asked if I updated blogs. Why, yes, I do. Client #4. Or a letter of introduction to an affiliate magazine where I did my internship. We’re still throwing ideas around, but hopefully client #5. Even old friends are asking if I’ve ever considered writing professionally (they don’t know what I’m up to yet).

It is, in a word, thrilling.  

What about y’all? Any soft starts out there? 




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