(This summer, while there will be a few road trips on our family’s horizon, I’m taking a virtual trip down memory lane back to when my writing adventure began. Today’s flashback takes us to 2007.)

The year of 2007 was a year of growth and application. 

Determined to learn all I could about the publishing industry, I attended the Christian Writers’ Guild Conference again and continued working through the Apprentice Course to develop my writing skills. As the lessons wrapped up the extensive section on article writing, I continued to query magazine markets and had another four articles published by the end of the year. (One previous article was even translated and also published in the German version of the magazine!)

However, the lessons soon switched from articles toward non-fiction books instead and I found myself outlining a book for other parents of special needs children. Through the series of homework assignments and my mentor’s advice, I honed the outline and interview questions…then recruited other parents to take part in the book. Like a true reporter, I set up interviews, pushed the button on my tape recorder (yes, it had actual cassette tapes), and later transcribed the conversations. More research led me to additional resources and by the end of the year, I had finished the draft of Making Lemonade: Parents Transforming Special Needs.

Except before I’d finished that manuscript, my writing course lessons had shifted once again toward other writing opportunities including children’s books and screenplays with the promise of my dream novel still on the horizon. Believe it or not, I actually wrote a children’s picture book called Pouting Peter that might have been inspired by a certain three-year-old with the cutest shelf of a bottom lip you’d ever seen when he didn’t get his way. (A few years later, I read that manuscript aloud to his kindergarten class and seriously tried pitching it to agents and editors. Nothing ever came of it then, but who knows what the future might hold… Oh, and that screenplay homework snippet became a scene in a novel I wouldn’t write for several more years…)

While I was learning a lot through the Apprentice Course and doing a lot of writing on different things, I also had a massive hands-on learning opportunity through the launch of my very first book, Pigskin Parables, in April of 2007. As I look back, I’m not sure how I expected to spread the word without the help of today’s social media and email marketing, but I used what I had. Bookmarks and promotional postcards from my publisher combined with several scheduled signings at local bookstores and even an article in the local newspaper.

Around this time, I also dabbled in the world of websites and created my first free site. It was an ugly, clunking mess of technology goofs, but at least I tried to put the things I was learning into practice with a do-it-myself mindset.

By the end of 2007, I was on the homestretch of my writing course assignments, had a total of ten published articles to my credit, one published book, a website, a children’s book manuscript, and another full-length non-fiction manuscript.

What about you? Have you ever devoted yourself to learning new things and applying those lessons? What were the results? Are you proud of yourself for at least trying something new?

My Trip Down Memory Lane – 2007
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