• Sounding the Barbaric Yawp

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Inspiration     Comments 3 comments

    by Mike Stinnett

    Today was the day I began writing as a profession.

    Small fanfare for such a monumental moment in one’s life. A simple statement of fact and a succinct punctuation mark to plant it on the page–but what more should be said?

    To begin with, writing has never been my avocation, nor my hobby. It has been–I was going to say my dream, but rather should say my idea for many years, in fact for decades. And today has not been anything special as far as days go. Yes, it is Independence Day, 2012, a Wednesday, but that distinction isn’t germane. Today is simply the day that I opened my laptop, started my text editor, and commenced putting my idea into practice.

    To claim that today my idea is now my profession is a risky declaration and, to some, a naïve boast. It is, however, true; the words on this page are testament to that truth. Today is the day I have become a professional writer.

    Tomorrow, I declare, will be the continuation of that career.

    Before today–like all writers, I suspect–my occupations were those of the non-writer: a few years after high school learning to cut scrap metal with an oxy-acetylene torch and later to melt together two pieces of metal with a welding rod; a summer planting Douglas Fir saplings upon the dewy green slopes of Oregon’s Pacific Coast Range; a few years stocking and selling trade and text books in any number of college bookstores across the country.

    And whereas none of these jobs entailed writing of any consequence beyond simple logging or basic business communications, today I see that they have all contributed to the voice with which I now speak on paper. All have been writing classes, per se, to the extent that they have all contributed some part to the reservoir of words and ideas that I may now utilize. All have provided plot studies; character outlines; incidents; turning points; comedic escapades; drama. All of these previous occupations have built up in me a body of life experiences, which I may now parse, organize, recast, and string together like so many beads on a thread. I wonder if all writers conceive of their non-writing lives as master classes for their subsequent writings. Surely, this is not a unique notion.

    Now, however, as this day curves towards twilight and its celebratory fireworks, I realize that this step toward writing has been tentative after all, and not a grand triumphal march. I have not, for example, given notice at my current “day job” (as I have always insisted on calling it). I have not made the decision not to commute tomorrow morning to my cubicle, to sit at my PC, to launch my HTML editor and to resume updates to the corporate website, the maintenance for which I am partly responsible. And significantly, I have not declared my new career to my wife.

    Nonetheless, tomorrow will be the continuation of today’s decision to write, and it will be just another day at work in a corporate cubicle. One must pay one’s mortgage, even though one’s profession is writing.

    I read that in a book somewhere.


    Discussion question: Tell us about the day you “began writing as a profession.” What do you recall about it? Were there fireworks? Did you quit your day job?


    Mike is a web developer and part-time musician in Austin, Texas who started writing on July 4, 2012, at the age of 52, and dreams of someday crafting novels and short stories in a tiny beach cottage on the Oregon coast.



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    Justine Tal Goldberg

    I’m still not sure I have, but let’s go with it so I can attempt to answer your question. I suppose I feel like my writing career began on the day I was first published. Or was it the day I completed my first piece? Or the day I got business cards, or participated in my first workshop, or decided to go to school for creative writing. None of those feel right. Honestly, I feel like it’s the day I wrote the first word of my very first story. Were there fireworks? No, but there were colors. I was writing… Read more »


    Awesome article. One of the hardest things to explain to potential customers is why a paid professional website is so important.

    Last edited 3 years ago by Awesome article. One of the hardest things to expl

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