MY WRITING JOURNEY BY JIM BATES
Please help me welcome Mr. Jim Bates to the Writer's Journey Blog this week. He will share with us what it is like to make your dreams come true!
I've always wanted to be a writer and I'm pretty sure that drive came from my love of reading. I fell in love with books at an early age and wrote my first story on my mom's typewriter when I was in the 4th grade. It was incredibly boring, so I threw it away. I wrote poetry in my late teens and early twenties and was able to get a poem published when I was twenty-three but then life got complicated.
Flash forward fifty plus years to 2011. By then I'd been married and had children and grandchildren. I'd had a long career in sales and technical training for a large manufacturing company. I'd even owned a small business. But, while helping to care for a loved one during the last days of her life, I realized that life was passing me by, and I'd better get going if I wanted to fulfill my dream of being a writer. The next day I started writing and haven't stopped since.
I began by writing a poem a day for a year. Then a haiku a day for a year. Then a four-line stanza a day for a year. Then a six-line rhymed verse a day for a year. I focused on word usage and creating imagery that mirrored what was in my mind. None of it was good enough for publication but the process was the important thing - it taught me discipline.
In 2015 I started writing short stories. I took an online writing class and met a successful author who became my mentor. She gave me this wonderful piece of advice: "Write the best possible stories you can and post them on a blog." I was nervous to expose my writing to the general public, but I followed her advice and created a blog and started posting my stories. I also continued to write every day, working on honing my craft.
I began submitting my stories in early 2018 and in March my first short story was featured on CafeLit. I was off and running. Since then over 150 stories have appeared online and in various print publications.
Some of the online publications are: CafeLit, the Literary Yard, Potato Soup Journal, the Drabble, the Academy of the Heart and Mind, World of Myth Magazine, Paragraph Planet, Cabinet of Heed, Nailpolish Stories, The Writers Cafe Magazine and Spillwords, where I was voted Author of the Month for December, 2019.
Examples of print anthologies are Best of CafeLit 8 published by Chapeltown Books, the Nativity Anthology published by Bridgehouse Publishing, Gleam, Portaland Glamour anthology's published by Clarendon House Publishing, Oceansand Twenty Twenty anthologies published by Black Hare Press, The Forgotten Onesanthology by Eerie River Publishing and Gold Dust Magazine and Down In the Dirt Magazine. In September of 2020, Resilience, my first collection of short stories, will be published by Bridgehouse Publishing. All of my stories appear on my blog at: www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com.
I continue to write every day from my home in the small town of Long Lake, Minnesota. I attribute my success, such as it is, to my mentor, who has offered encouragement from the very beginning. She also led me to my first online writers’ group, For Writers Only, Who Write Without Fear of Rejection. I have made many, many friends and contacts though that group as well as others I have joined since then. That type of online networking has helped me not only met creative and supportive people but has also pushed me to be a better writer by exposing me to authors with styles of writing different from mine. Each and every one of those writers and those groups are pure gold as far as I'm concerned.
I'd also like to add that in the very beginning I discovered Author's Publish Magazine. This online resource was invaluable in giving me locations of where to send my early work. It's a great site.