Monday, March 3, 2008

Finding Your Path

Each month for the past 10 months I've posted monthly goals on the Absolute Write website. There is something about knowing I'll have to post them at the beginning of each month, that makes me think hard.

My writing has been all over the place in the last ten months. I have often read that you should figure out what you're good at, what you know a lot about, and specialize. The problem is that if I look at my professional life, and go solely by that, I would go one direction. And sometimes that's not enough.

I taught special needs children for 15 years. That would be the most obvious choice. And it is an area of specialty for me. It's an area that I am absolutely passionate about. But as I have sent out queries and articles, I have found some unusual specialties. I've found that I love writing travel articles. For an example, go to the Mid-Columbian website where my article is on page 17 and beyond. I found that I love photography, as in taking my own photographs. Now, I can tell you, I am not an expert at either of these things. There is nothing in my past that presents itself as a foundation for this kind of writing, except maybe curiosity.

I am forever curious. When a new bird visited my bird feeder recently, I didn't just say, "Oh how nice." No. I asked everyone I knew what kind of bird it was (nobody knew). I went online and did searches, often getting distracted by learning about birds that have not visited me yet. I am an information seeker. I've often said that if I could figure out a way to be paid to go to school, I'd be a professional student. What fun that would be. Now ten months ago when I read that you need to specialize, figure out what you know a lot about and focus all of your writing there, travel writing and photography wouldn't have even been on the list. But here it is. So I guess what I'm saying is that it is good to read, research and follow advice, but not at the exclusion of listening to yourself and following the path that appears before you pebble by pebble.

I didn't find the kind of writing I love, or the kind of writing I'm good at by following a formula. I found it by putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes taking a path that lead nowhere, and sometimes twisting my ankle and sitting it out for a while. But find it I did. What kind of path are you on? Does it feel right to you? ~Karen

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