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Reading, Writing & the Courage to Share

Reading wasn’t a big part of my life in grade school or in high school. When I had to read a book for a class, I only read the absolute minimum required by my instructors. Every time I opened a book, I started daydreaming about horses and fields. I wanted to be outside exploring, not reading.

It wasn’t until college that I discovered the joy of reading. My college courses exposed me to a wide range of reading material. I devoured books on politics, feminist theory, and multi-cultural studies. I finally embraced my inner geek and loved it!

The more I read, the more I wanted to write. But I was scared to share my work because I wasn’t a trained writer. I didn’t have a degree in literature or creative writing.

When I discovered the wonderful world of blogs and ebooks, I realized that I could publish my own writing. I didn’t have to go back to school for an MFA in creative writing. With digital media I had the means to do-it-myself. So I decided to start my own blog.

Publishing my writing online has helped me become a better writer and has given me the opportunity to connect with like minded authors. I publish digital content regularly and have been working on a print book too. And the thing is, none of this would have happened without my blog. Blogging has served as an educational tool and as my writing portfolio that has helped me get freelance work and sell my ebooks. I’ve discovered that publishing articles, essays, and books in the digital form can lead to many opportunities.

If you’re a writer, I highly recommend starting your own blog. It’s a great way to showcase your writing, make a little bit of money, and have a whole lot of fun.

If you’re thinking about publishing your poems, essays, or ebooks in the digital form, consider these options:

1. Think about the type of digital platform you want to use. The great thing about publishing online is that there are plenty of options. You can start a blog, a micro-magazine or send out weekly letters.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of a good editor. Effective editing will purify your ideas and make your writing clearer to the reader. Have someone read over your work before you publish content online. For example, my blog posts and essays are edited by my husband, Logan. When it comes to selling your work, hire a professional editor. I found a great editor to review all of my ebooks and it made a tremendous difference in the quality of the finished product.

3. Get started and share your work with others. There’s no reason to let your writing sit in your journal or on a laptop. You don’t have to wait for a gatekeeper, like a traditional publisher, to say your work is publishable. You can publish your work today. Share your work with others, teach through words, and foster your own creativity.

Last Words . . .

If you had told me ten years ago, that I would be making a living through writing I would have laughed and rolled my eyes. And I know I wouldn’t be writing if it weren’t for books and blogs. Both digital and print publications have helped me transition from a passive reader to a writer. More importantly, reading books and blogs gave me the courage to start sharing my work with others and that’s a beautiful thing.

Note: This was originally written for the Cheek Teeth blog.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Phil Drolet September 9, 2011, 12:58 am

    Hi Tammy, and first off thanks for your beautiful writing. Been following your blog for a few months and your simple+elegant content balances out very well with the more “hectic” content (ie, Tim Ferriss-style stuff) I consume from other sources.

    I hear you on the “courage to create”. I’ve been an avid reader since I was 5, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to try my hand at writing and created a blog. The funny thing, since I’ve stepped into that creator role, I’m totally different (&better) person. My self-image is now that of a person who has creative ideas and who actively seeks to help people, and of course that changes all the actions I take.

    Somehow, writing (which for me is something I’m good at & enjoy but not something I’m passionate about) has lead me to discover filmmaking which has become a true passion. I’ve just recently launched my first movie (http://www.thefeelgoodlifestyle.com/my-first-attempt-at-revolutionizing-entertainment-my-reality-documentary-phil-drolets-good-day-off.html) and this would have never happened if I hadn’t started writing.

    So guys, if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while.. DO IT! It’ll change your life, for the WAY better haha!

    • Tammy Strobel September 9, 2011, 6:31 pm

      @Phil – Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment and for the kind words! Congratulations on launching your first movie! Super cool. 🙂

  • Matthew September 9, 2011, 7:21 am

    Courage, indeed. Blogging can be so personal – and I think a good blog should be!

    I have just started a blog after having been “thinking about it” for years, so thanks for this post. I find it affirming in so many ways – not the least of which is letting my wife proof my posts! I’m also enjoying the Smalltopia Saga! My wife and I are starting a family, and I can think of no better way to bring a life into the world than “simply” … I downloaded the Tumbleweed Houses catalog and took it home yesterday. : )

    Thanks for the wonderful post!


    • Tammy Strobel September 9, 2011, 6:32 pm

      Thank Matthew. 🙂 We’re enjoying the “Smalltopia Saga” too. I can’t wait to post my essay next week. I just received a few more fun photos from Katy. Yay!

      Have you read Little House on a Small Planet? I think you’d like it.

      • Matthew September 10, 2011, 8:09 am

        As of now, it is in the queue!! It looks great!

  • Victoria September 9, 2011, 10:55 am

    Timely post Tammy!! I’ve had a blog for awhile now and have been pondering how to turn my writing into another income stream. I confess I don’t know a lot about publishing other than blog writing, and even that I am still learning about. I have been reading a lot and trying to research how to do what you’ve done. Hopefully you’ll write more about it in the future.

    Cheers –

  • Alllison September 9, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Thanks! As a brand new blogger, I’m both exhilarated and terrified to put my writing out there. It’s encouraging and affirming to hear how much others value the process.

  • Mary Jane September 9, 2011, 4:03 pm

    You have always been an inspiration. I am a serious reader, writing is the next step. Now, I am a beginning blogger. And one in need of an editor. Great suggestion.

    I love the photograph you used for this post :-).

  • Diane September 9, 2011, 5:39 pm

    I’m retired, and I wanted something that I could do to add structure to my days, something I could do “forever.” Writing is it. It is my end-of-day meditation, and during the day it makes me notice things I wouldn’t have noticed before –I have to have something to write about, after all. I carry a small camera with me, and that’s another tool to make me pay attention.
    You are wise to have found this passion and this avenue while you are so young. You’re doing a great job, and I’m enjoying your journey.

    • Tammy Strobel September 9, 2011, 6:36 pm

      @Diane – Thank you. 🙂

      Your comment reminded me of a quote from Dan Price. In Radical Simplicity he says, “The whole point is to realize that your own life is important and definitely worth documenting in some form or another . . . Unfortunately they are so used to being busy 24-7 that once they get there they become restless and bored, not knowing what to do with all those free hours. But if you take up journaling and practice the fine art of being an astute observer of life, then those boring days soon become filled with interesting things for you to document.”

      Everyone has a powerful story to tell. It’s just a matter of pushing past fear and telling it. 🙂

  • Rose September 10, 2011, 6:17 am

    I just started a new blog and it was scary for sure. It took me ages to finally launch it, then it was difficult for me to even tell people it existed. But, your blog was definitely an inspiration in my decision to do one. Thanks Tammy!

  • Jt Clough | Big Island Dog September 10, 2011, 8:30 am

    When I was a kid I used to read all the time. In face interestingly enough the photo of the horse brought back such memories. I used to be found in the barn with my horse, my dog, and a book. I also had my grade school, middle school and high school teaches praise my concise yet effective writing skills. I didn’t give it much credence then. I thought they were just being nice (not such a great childhood from a parental side) and I didn’t realize it was something people tried to do.

    In my adult life somehow time started getting away from me. I stopped reading. And I certainly did not write. Then I started blogging about dogs… and today, I’m back to writing and love it so much.

    The tip on the editor is what I needed. Wonderful blog. Putting it in my blogs I read links!
    Aloha Wags!

  • Janice MacLeod September 11, 2011, 2:24 am

    I’m all about the blog. When I started my blog, I didn’t realize at the time that having an encouraging audience was the magic ingredient to changing my life. I started my blog while I was working in an advertising agency and ended up quitting that job to travel. Now I live out of one suitcase and write on the road. I don’t think I would have done it had I not started a blog. I love your blog, too. It keeps me light (physically, mentally and spiritually).