Monday, July 21, 2008

A New Journey

"My thoughts jump around like a monkey."

The first time I heard that, I was sitting in Gambrell Hall at the University of South Carolina. My best friend and roommate Katie was taking a religious studies class, and as a course requirement she had to sit through some panel discussion. Like a sucker, I went with her (as she had often suffered with me through organ and trombone recitals). The Hindu representative was caught completely off-guard by a question, and after struggling with an answer that's the best he could deliver. I don't remember the question or anything else from that panel discussion, but I loved the image of little monkeys jumping around, creating total mayhem in the guy's head.

I've got me some monkeys right now.

I love to write, and I have always been working on something, even when it was just for my own eyes. I have a diary that dates back to fourth grade. I have poetry and song lyrics, most of them awful, from high school and college. The interest in the diary petered out in 2002 when I started my first blog, and I have been posting on and off ever since.

My other huge interest, aside from music, has always been travel. My old bachelorette blog, What's Brewin', chronicled lots of my trips like day-hikes near Asheville and a weeklong cruise to Alaska. I even did a separate blog for my Europe trip. I love to travel, I love to write about travel, and I love learning about other people's travels. The travel-writing community has increasingly become the place I want to call home.

The big question has been how do I go about this?! Am I even a good writer? No one reads this blog, so my knee-jerk answer is "No." But dang I love it. I have two college degrees, both in music education, and all my post-college work experience has been of the same breed. I know it will be a ton of work to learn the ropes, make contacts, and try to get good at this stuff. And yet it still keeps calling me. Usually when I get a risky idea, I begin to realize the consequences and suddenly it no longer sounds that appealing. (Veterinary tech school sounded awesome. Until I realized I had to perform a castration and anal excretion exam. Back to the violin I go!)

This time I can't talk myself out of it, and honestly I've tried. The low pay, the crazy schedules, the hassles that come with all just sounds exhilirating and challenging rather than frustrating and profit-less. I think I really want to do this. The only big mystery left is my ability.

So I've taken some baby steps. I enrolled in a travel writing course, I've read two books about the profession's ups and downs, and I started writing some "real" stuff on a couple of travel webpages. If I try and fail, I'll be very disappointed but I'll live. If I don't even attempt something new, I'm setting myself up for an adventure-less life.

So here goes a new adventure. Wish me luck...

1 comment:

Theresa said...

Good luck! I think the putting yourself out there is the hardest part, but it's worth it. I spent forever thinking about the perfect query, the perfect article. Then finally, I just made myself pitch something, and I got a bite. I don't have National Geographic banging at my door, but I get an article published every now and then and maybe one day I will get the big break. You don't know if you don't try.