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My Writer's Journal

On becoming a writer: Part I

I knew from the time I was 8 that I wanted to be a writer, but I had no idea how to make it happen. In junior high I thought I might become a journalist and work for a newspaper. My dad insisted that I learn to type--a very good idea. Then, in high school I got a summer job working for the local radio station, typing up the commercials that would be read on the air. Eventually I was allowed to try my hand at writing the commercials myself, and when Miss Rita, who read the birthday news every day at 1 pm, went on vacation, I filled in for her and called on Miss Rita's advertising accounts. I loved it. At school I was named editor of the yearbook and co-editor of the newspaper, and I was writing stories. The term "nerd" had not yet been coined, but I fit the description. Then I left for college.

The next summer a rural radio station opened miles from where we lived. I was hired at 50 cents an hour to write commercials for advertisers, dealers in farm implements: egg-washers and manure-spreaders. I drove my mother's car to work. She complained that I didn't earn enough to pay for the gas.

At college I continued my life as a nerd, getting mostly A's and having my stories torn to pieces in writing classes. When I graduated and it was time to look for a job, I headed for New York City, bound for a career in that new field: television. But it didn't work out at all the way I planned.

(To be continued.)
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