For as far back as I can remember, I have had a love affair with language. I love the way certain words – like undulate or verdant – feel in my mouth, the way my tongue curls around consonants and vowels. There is nothing more beautiful than the rhythm of two perfectly-paired words or the musicality of metaphor. When you think about it, the English language is a fascinating instrument.
It was this fascination with words that led me to writing and my desire to tell stories. Since I was a little girl, I have carried plot lines around in my head, given voice to characters who have been bursting to break the surface. With the flourish of my pen (or the click of my computer keys), I have created new worlds.
This week, I came a little closer to my dream of making a living through words. As of Monday, I am now a contributing writer to suite101.com, an online magazine featuring articles on a variety of topics from food and drink to history to travel. I'll be posting articles primarily in the travel section, with a few contributions to some of the other sections, like “Partners and Parents” and “Writing and Publishing.” I have to write ten articles every three months (although I can write as many as I like), which works out to less than one article a week, so it isn't a lot of pressure. I have complete freedom to choose what I write about, within the limits of the topics covered on the site, of course. I certainly can't expect a full-time salary from it, although I will get paid, which is pretty cool in itself, despite how paltry the sum may be at the end of the day. (At the moment, who am I to turn my nose up at even an extra $50 a month?) And it won't bring me international prestige. It will, however, help me get some publishing credits and build a good portfolio, and I'll get great practice in writing for the web, which is a totally different animal from any other kind of writing I have ever done. I wasn't trained as a journalist, and as I learn the ropes of web journalism I find myself with a new found respect for those who can write engaging, succinct copy. Let's face it: brevity is not – and never has been – one of my strongest qualities.
My long-term goal is still to one day see one of my books on the shelf at Barnes and Noble or – even better – clutched in the hands of a commuter on the Tube, but I feel a sense of motivation now (and pressure – in the positive sense) that I haven't felt in a long time. I can actually call myself a working writer, and it's true.
My first article, which went live yesterday, is on the Great British Beer Festival (you can probably guess who helped me with my research on that one). Keep an eye out for my latest postings on suite101, which I'll be listing here on my blog.