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Becoming a Fulltime Writer: Life Works in Mysterious Ways

Becoming a Fulltime Writer: Life Works in Mysterious Ways

If you’ve already read my About page, then you probably know part of my backstory into becoming a fulltime writer.  But I’ll admit, my grandpa’s reverse psychosis about becoming a fulltime writer scared me at first.  As a teenager, he warned me about going into journalism, because I might become a starving artist.  But thankfully, fear wasn’t enough to stop me from writing.  

I wrote constantly, even while in church.  In fact, I wrote my very first poem and song while sitting in church pew on Sunday morning.  I thought, perhaps I’d never become a professional writer, but I could still become an accomplished writer. 

Fulltime Writer Plans Moved to the Back Burner

Life happened.  After high school, I followed in my family’s blue-collared footsteps.  I studied automotive repair in college, then began working in a shop for 10 years.  Every day, I came home covered in grease, antifreeze or both.  But, every day, I found time to write a new poem, song or short story in my writing journal.  I wanted to keep my dream of becoming a writer alive.  

Then, before I knew it, I had enough material to obtain my first creative works copyright.  I called it, Writeaholic’s Journal, Vol. 1., because writing is my addiction.   But, I didn’t feel accomplished until I entered a no-name poetry contest.  Surprisingly, both of my poems won, and the company published my poems.  

As a young adult, publication was just enough motivation to keep me writing.  No, the company didn’t pay me to write.  But I finally got to see my work in print and it felt amazing!  In some strange way, I felt like I was finally an accomplished writer.

Life Had Different Plans for Me

Then, I heard about an opportunity to stop getting my fingernails dirty by becoming an insurance damage appraiser.  It was a different kind of writing.  But with my automotive background, I thought the transition would be easy.  Again, I know it’s a stretch, but now, I was finally writing professionally too.

During my 12 years with the company, my passion for creative writing had to move to the back burner.  I still wrote creatively, but not as often.  Because, I had to learn the art of business writing, drafting correspondence, web content and marketing.  Turns out, my new experience would come in handy.

Eventually, I became a paralegal and a corporate compliance officer, which meant that I had plenty of new topics to write about and explore.  I felt bad about not dedicating much time to my creative writing, but frankly, I had to pay bills. 

My First Job as an Official Freelance Writer

In 2002, after finding a little bit of time in my hectic schedule, I joined a freelance writing company online.  I felt determined to make myself find time to write creatively.  Of course, when I first started, I had several clients cash in on my business writing expertise.  But then, I got my first creative writing client. 

I remember the article like it was yesterday, because my project was a niche related article, which I was very passionate.  My first client; a college professor gave me a 5-star feedback.  She said I was “a good writer” and she’d hired me again in her feedback.   I realize that good is not great, but I had my foot in the door, and I had creative writing credentials from a professional source.

Later, I became a five-star, top-rated freelancer on the website.  My work appeared on many of my client’s websites and online magazines.  My job was going well, and I was finally starting to make a name for myself as a “real” writer.

Everything Happens for a Reason in Life – the Good and the Bad

Then, in 2014, tragedy struck, and I lost my corporate job of 12 years.  I won’t go into detail here, but I knew that I was about to find out firsthand what it felt like to become a starving artist. 

Like I mentioned before, my grandpa warned me against becoming a starving artist.  So, I thought I did everything right to avoid it.  I went to school for something other than journalism, just like my grandpa suggested.  I took a job in a hot and greasy automotive shop, just like my family did for years.  And, I followed all the signs and opportunities to better myself career wise.

But, I’ve come to realize that everything in life happens for reason; the good and the bad stuff.  Because, after I lost my job, all I had to fall back on was my passion for writing, and all I could do was hope that I was good enough to pay my bills with it.  My lifelong dream of becoming a fulltime writer was about to come true, but the introduction was bittersweet.

Thanks to many supportive people in my life, writing is now my job, not my past time.   I left my corporate life behind and my life working as a grease monkey to do what I love the most, writing.

I’m still working as fulltime writer.  Mostly freelance contracts and ad hoc jobs.  My creative clients are in the relationship, spirituality and travel niches.  My business clients copyrighting jobs, company profiles/about pages/mission statements.  Luckily, I’m not a starving artist.  But my point is that I’ve never stopped writing.

I’m working hard to publish my own creative works.  I have both fictional and non-fictional manuscripts working.  I know better than to get my hopes up, but I still do.  

But this is the first time I’ve ever showed my work in public.    

If you read something on either one of websites, blogs or social media pages that inspires you, let me know.  Because, your comment could be exactly what I need to stay motivated too. 

In the meantime, keep writing and living your creative dreams.  

Peace & Blessings.


D. M. Stephenson

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