My writing journey
Written by
Tina Barbour
December 2011
Written by
Tina Barbour
December 2011

I recently decided, for the umpteenth time, that I was going to focus on my own writing. The difference between my decision this time and the decisions I made in the past is that this time, it’s a commitment.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a child. I’ve always loved books, and I wanted to be one of those people who wrote them. I have also loved the act of writing and expressing myself and connecting with others through the writing.

I’ve done so many things in my life as a way to get to writing, or to make a living while I dreamed of being a writer “some day.”

I got an English degree in college, and then went to graduate school to study English. My plan was to be a college professor and write literary works and, on the side, fiction.

The problem was, or one of the problems, was that I didn’t love teaching. It was OK, but thinking about doing it for the rest of my life gave me hives.

And I did not like writing literary pieces. Finding something original to say about a piece of literature seemed so mechanical and meaningless to me. (Literary writers, don’t take offense!)

I got my master’s degree and did a considerable amount of work towards my Ph.D., but when the funding ran out, I had no problem turning my back on it.

I made a living for a few years working a collection of adjunct teaching jobs. I became a part of a women’s writing group and wrote pretty regularly for a while.

But it was so easy to let writing go by the wayside when other things drew my attention away from it.

Finally, about four years ago, I took a job at a daily newspaper editing letters to the editor and commentaries for the editorial department. I had always enjoyed editing my own work, and I found I liked the challenge of editing others’ work too. It was difficult but exhilarating to edit work to fit the newspaper’s style while also keeping the writer’s voice intact.

I stayed at the newspaper only a few months because of some health issues I was having and the long commute the job involved.

 My next newspaper job came two years ago, when I was hired as a staff writer for a weekly newspaper.

I thought I had finally found my place. I got to ask questions. (I have always had a lot of curiosity. Some people might call it nosiness, but I insist that I’m curious.) And then I got to write about what I found out.

I cover county government, the sheriff’s office and the courts, so a lot of hard news. I also do general assignment reporting, features and my own photography. I help with layout, edit and proof. Working for a small newspaper with a small staff has been a blessing to me because I do get to do so many different things.

But for the past several months, I’ve become less satisfied. Part of the dissatisfaction is related to the boredom I’ve begun to feel. Part of it stems from the many hours I have to spend away from home some weeks.

Most of it comes from me wanting to do my own writing more than ever. I love writing essays, and my goals are to publish them and eventually nonfiction books. Memoirs and historical nonfiction are also on my list.

This time when I decided to commit to my writing, I made concrete goals. One of them was to start blogging. I researched what I needed to do and then took the plunge. And I love blogging! I love the commitment to writing it gives me, and I love the community it builds.

I lose track of time when I’m writing for my blog. I’m trying to make as many of my posts as essay-like as I can. I can say unequivocally that I love writing essays, not just in theory, but also in practice.

I still need to work on finding additional time to write more and different things. I want to work more consistently on long-term projects, I want to start submitting my writing for publication and I want to explore freelance writing and editing.

I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

I’m so glad I found She Writes. I love the inspiration I get from it. I’ve been mostly reading, not writing on it, but I thought I’d take the plunge of blogging on here too.

Any suggestions on what to do next? On how to fit in more writing?

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  • Tina Barbour

    Thanks for your comment and advice! And welcome to She Writes!

  • Jolie du Pre

    Hello Tina,

    I was accepted into She Writes today, so your post is the first one I've read since my acceptance.  I look forward to blogging here as well. 

    I've been a writer for over 10 years.  It's the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and it's the last thing I think about before I go to bed.  It's my life.  You will find that the more you write, the time you make for writing will become second nature.  Other parts of your life will get neglected.  (Not saying that's good, but it's what happens when writing becomes your life.) 

    As far as what to do next?  Just keep doing what you're doing.  Put aside at least a half hour to an hour a day for blogging.  Soon it will become part of your daily routine.