Saturday, March 7, 2020

Leaping Into A New Me

Years ago, I published a few magazine articles including one about Oklahoma prairie dogs infected with the plague. The PLAGUE! Those cute little animals had The PLAGUE?

Farmers and ranchers didn’t prairie dogs because of the holes they dug caused horses and cattle to break a leg if they inadvertently stepped in one. Fascinating information.

I was so happy to receive a manila envelope with my author copies. I flipped through the pages and found it with my name as the author—By Gwendolyn Hooks. My little girl was at home and we danced together. I was so happy! But wait. Something was missing. I turned the envelope upside down and gave it a few shakes. Nothing. I flipped through the magazine. Nothing, but a letter of congratulations from the editor.

Perhaps my payment would arrive separately. To double-check, I called the editor and asked about my payment. She was cordial and asked if I was a professional. “We only pay professionals.”
I didn’t feel very professional. I said, “No, I’m not a professional.” I ended the conversation determined to learn how to be a professional writer, keep writing, and always be prepared. I took a leap of faith that I could learn how to succeed in my new career.

There was an upside to my prairie dog adventure. It wasn’t enough to write from my heart, but I needed to learn the business end as well. I attended meetings and met other writers. Some were new like me and others were real professionals who shared their experiences, answered questions and offered encouragement.

I also thought seriously about why my article was placed in the children’s section. Maybe I needed to explore writing for young readers. My leap of faith landed me where I belong and I never regretted it.

Posted by Gwendolyn Hooks


Bettie Boswell said...

Thanks for sharing the beginning of your journey. If they had paid you, then you would have been a professional!!

Gwendolyn Hooks said...

Thank you Bettie Boswell for commenting. And you are right about the payment. I've learned a lot of lessons since then. That's one of many reasons why Teaching Authors is so valuable. I hope others can learn from my naivety.