Writer, Find Your Mountain

Posted byCJ Coombs Posted onMay 22, 2024 Comments0

Climb with the right words at the right time

I suppose my love of words began as a child embracing the words of Dr. Seuss.

Expressing one’s self has always been significant to me. When I was 16, I was tasked to write a short story for an English class taught by Mrs. Johnson. I had her for two years. I wrote a fictional piece and she loved it so much, that I earned the special A grade. I still remember her asking me, “Did you write this?”

It was then I knew I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t fiction I was drawn to, it was non-fiction. Life just kept interrupting my pursuit.

When I lost my mother 23 years ago, her resounding statement of “You should be living” was tattooed in my brain. Then, when I lost my dad in 2010, my mother’s message kept yanking at me.

When I turned 40, I started working toward my English Journalism degree. At the end of it all, while the degree was a big expensive accomplishment, the fulfillment was in everything I learned and every paper I researched and wrote. The degree certainly did not enhance my job salary.

I learned so much about the great writers and my ongoing determination. I was also juggling motherhood, divorce, job change, and lifting my awareness of human behavior.

Thirteen years ago

I started a long journey in writing a true crime book about an unsolved murder that occurred in 1941. I can’t even tell you how many hours of research this involved not to mention all the writing and editing and second-guessing myself, repeat.

It’s finally coming together and I’ve been weaning myself from this project that captured my attention. A project I’m really happy with and proud of. I plan on publishing it by the summer of 2024.

Fast forward

I became busy with life, and my job at a law firm, and my grandchildren began arriving. Enter the 2020 pandemic, and my life dramatically changed.

I continued to reevaluate living and what I wanted to do just like everyone else. I continue to think and question, which is important in becoming a solid research writer.

So you want to be a writer?

You better be writing every day.

I spontaneously decided to retire in early June 2021 two months after my annual review to finally do this thing. After a lot of consistent hard work, I earned a complimentary G.O.A.T. status. I couldn’t improve upon that, so it was time.

It was time to take charge of my life and write, write, and write. I gave three decades and then some to law firms.

I crossed over that 9 to 5 mountain. It was time for me to be a cog in my very own wheel. For too long, I have wanted to be a full-time writer and author. You also don’t know until later that it takes life experience to become an even better writer.

In September 2021, it was time to start climbing again.

I found freelancing sites and explored them and in doing so, I came across other online writing platforms. I made my comparison between them.

I found Medium user-friendly and full of community but as a side gig, I don’t write on this platform for money. I am fond of Medium because of all the connections I’ve made with other writers.

I found and dropped Vocal Media because of the lack of community, the wait times for publications to be approved, and the potential for earning side income there is even more challenging.

I found NewsBreak and grabbed a niche of writing local stories on anything attached to history, such as iconic restaurants or buildings and homes a century old. What I earn on this platform still exceeds my expectations. I’m paid to share history and I’m okay with that. If anything, I’m connecting with interested readers. But the real experience is learning about the state where I live. (NewsBreak: visit here to download the app — aff. link.).

People, it’s really about the quality of your writing

Writing a quality piece that’s error-free, and full of meaningful language takes time.

  • To succeed on any writing platform, abide by their rules, work hard, and wait and see what happens.
  • To succeed with your writing, be authentic.
  • When you write your article, proofread it many times. Grammarly is effective and useful, but you still need to proofread.
  • You must consider every element of your piece: title, subheading, image, structure, and instead of using AI, how about some of your own words?
  • If you want to succeed as a writer, I believe you have to write every day to improve the quality of your writing.

Thanks for reading!

© Cathy Coombs | LinkedIn | X (Opening photo by Ashlyn Ciara on Unsplash)