Professional journalist tells all…

I have spent most of my writing career in journalism. Even though I have "written stories ever since I can remember" (as I have often said before on this blog), the greater portion of my published work has been in the newspaper and magazine industries. Both on staff and freelance. Not only has it been my bread and butter now, and again, it has also been an amazing crucible for learning the writing craft. Mostly because, when you work for somebody else, you get assignments. And you tend to have other people telling you how to do them.

I learned some amazing things in my journalism career. They were million dollar experiences. Maybe I better explain that better. Let's just say they were the kind of million dollar experiences you wouldn't trade for that much money, but you wouldn't pay a nickel to go through them all over again. Some of them (the best, really) were obtained under such embarrassing circumstances that it would be something of a career-buster just to reveal them. But I have a feeling everybody has a moment, or two, like that in their past. Whether your dreams revolved around writing or real estate. After all, we're only human.

Which is why I'm going to expose myself and "pay it forward" for anyone who is so determined to make it in this business it has become more important than the Holy Grail for you. It will probably ruin my reputation. But if I could have gotten even a fraction of this kind of information in my early days, it wouldn't have taken me so long

to break into this industry. Don't get me wrong, I'm not promising to reveal any up-until-now-unheard-of-secrets (hey-- if you know any of those, let me in on them). I'm just going to point out some of the swamps I stumbled into, and the "R.O.U.S.'s" I had to personally deal with out there that others might want to avoid. Especially if they want to come out on the other end of this writing forest instead of turning back.

Since it's going to cost me, though, I' don't plan to let go of these gems lightly. Heck, no. I'm going to string them out -- beginning to end -- all over the blogosphere. Each of these things came hard to me, so, I plan on leaving a trail instead of just dropping them on the road. That way, only the truly determined ones will follow. And for anyone that sticks with me through the entire month of October… hey, I've got a gift for you. One of two, actually, you can take your pick. So, without further ado…

The first lesson I learned about being a "real" writer, is over at Rachelle Gardner's blog for today (the one about regrets), buried in the comment section, about thirty down. It's a true story. As all of them will be. But I learned something really important through that particular experience. So… for "anyone who has ears to hear, let them listen…"


Meanwhile, leave a comment back here, and I'll put you on my list of contenders. The person with the most "finds" wins. And -- hey -- no drawings. Everybody that finds all of them wins, even if I have to buy out the store. Ready? Then "the game is afoot…"

PS… Oh, yeah… and I'm giving out bonus points for anyone who knows what "R.O.U.S.'s" are.

What's happening on the farm today... Oh, my gosh, fall is finally here! Time to change the window picture on the website, bring in some firewood, and get out a nice big stack of all those books I've been putting by to read. I actually have fresh bread baking in the over even as I write this. But -- alas -- there are no animals but horses and dogs on the Sweetbriar at the moment. And two-thirds of everyone's gardens around here were burned up in all that intense summer heat. Thank heavens we have a "famine chest"...

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