When I signed on to be a television news reporter twenty years ago I never realized just how fortunate I was to have an opportunity to write for a living. Not unlike other creative endeavors-art, music, dance-it is a lucky soul who is given an opportunity to do what he or she loves for money. It took me years, however, to realize that writing two minutes of copy a day was actually honing my writing skills. I always fashioned myself as a television reporter first and a writer second. At this point in my career I have now had the additional opportunity of being able to publish several books. In my mind, this now gives credibility to the moniker, "writer." But in truth, no matter what you write, every time you put your fingers to the keyboard you are swinging that tennis racket again and again.
In today's struggling economy the life of a paid writer is getting tougher to come by. Freelance writers can't simply pin all of their dreams on the great American novel. They write a magazine article here, a newspaper column there, a blog here and basically whatever anyone asks them to write. This means less time for the big stuff like book writing, and more time spent trolling for a job that pays per word.
I believe this struggle is the reason that it is so important for writers to support one another and help provide inspiration to their colleagues who are trying to forge the same path. Let's face it, writers can be a pretty reclusive bunch of people. Triangle Area Freelancers helps provide that support and camaraderie. TAF is an organization of professional writers located primarily in North Carolina’s Triangle region. TAF members have been published in numerous local and national magazines and newspapers. Many TAF members have also published or contributed to an eclectic array of books, including the group’s 2008 anthology A Taste of TAFFY and the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
The theme for their annual spring conference on March 27, Write Now! 2010, is “Making Your Freelance Dreams Come True.” The classes are taught by nationally published writers and journalists. I have been invited to be their keynote speaker. I am very honored and humbled by the opportunity to speak to so many people who are following their passion despite the roughness of the terrain. It takes courage to do what you love.