Vision: A Resource for Writers

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I am a Writer

By Lisa Ploch Swope
Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Ploch Swope, All Rights Reserved

It was a Sunday evening, and my husband Dan and I were watching a television show documenting the work of loggers in the picturesque and rugged Pacific Northwest. Despite having seen friends injured and killed on the job, these tough men choose to rise each day for a job most people would never consider. One burly man proclaimed he would never want to work in the city. If he had to work in a "concrete jungle," he said, he might as well be caged or shot. So passionate he was about this physically demanding job in the great outdoors.

My heart sank as I was reminded that my weekend was drawing to an end and that I would have to go back to my own "concrete jungle" in the morning.

I have a good job, working 8:15 to 4:45 Monday through Friday for an insurance company.  I get a 45-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks each day. The pay and the benefits are good. But my safe little cubicle is the cage the lumberjack avoids.  Like my coworkers, I fell into the job, where the main requirement is that we hold a bachelorís degree.

Nine years ago, I earned my degree in journalism. Shortly after, I was thrilled to land a job as a reporter at the local newspaper that I had been reading my whole life. I enjoyed driving to and from interviews, forming the sentences in my mind, eager to get to the office and commit them to paper.

I did not feel I was cut out for the life of a journalist, though. The long hours, especially the evenings and weekends, were frustrating when I wanted to do things with my family and Dan, whom I had started dating during that time. Trying and failing to come up with intelligent questions for the mayor at the regular city council meetings was nerve-racking for me, not to mention embarrassing.  I was not an aggressive reporter, and whenever a source told me no, I backed down.  I did not want breaking news; I just wanted to write human interest stories.

After a year and a half, I found my excuse to quit when Dan got a job transfer. I left my hometown and with it my career as a reporter. I have since worked a variety of office jobs and have felt no passion for any of them. They pay the bills, and I am grateful for the paycheck but I feel a great disappointment as I sometimes wonder if this drudgery is what life is all about.

Fortunately, I know it is not, because in my spare time, I read writing publications and I write. I call myself a writer, even if nobody else does.

I recently discovered Hope Clark's blog, which alerts readers to writing competitions, at  I have entered one, and I can't wait to get going on more. I plan to start submitting my writing to markets I have discovered through .

The rusty wheels are starting to turn in my mind. I may never win a writing competition or make any money at freelance writing, but I now have an ambition. I can dream that one day, I will become successful with my writing, make money at it and quit the routine of my office job.

I dream that it will happen. And even if it never does, I am happy because I know I am not a mindless, defeated working stiff. I am a writer.